Our Voice

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18-10-2023 What's On this October Half term?

Our latest 'What's on this October Half-term?' guide has information on a variety of SEND-specific and accessible events, activities and over-the-school half-term holidays. 

Don't forget to also have a look at our general 'What's on- Play and Leisure in and around Enfield' Guide here which is regularly updated with ongoing SEND-specific and inclusive events (please note that some of these are term-time only, so if you are planning to go along to anything, please check first). 

The information in the booklet is correct (to the best of our knowledge) at the time of writing, but please do check with the individual venues and schemes, and please bear in mind that many activities and events must be pre-booked. 

We are currently awaiting an updated version of the Local Authority's booklet on playschemes for the school holidays. You can see the most recent version hereThere is additional information about the playschemes on the Local Offer here.

You can see the original flyers for the following events here: 

SEND Cycling fun

Youth half-term activities 

ECYPS Teenscheme 

13-10-2023 Choosing a secondary school - for children with additional needs

Information for families of children due to move to Secondary School in September 2024 (date of birth between 1.9.12 and 31.8.13) or the following year.

Our Voice held 2 videoconference sessions in conjunction with SENDIASS and the Enfield SEN Team looking at the transfer to Secondary School for children with SEND on Tuesday 3rd October and Monday 9th October.

You can see the presentation from these sessions here, and a Q&A from the session here

  • For children with an EHCP the deadline for confirming your preference is 16th October  
  • For children without an ECHP applications must be submitted by 31st October. 
  • Open days are taking place during September and October
  • This booklet sets out the processes for children with an EHCP, and this booklet gives information about all special schools and other specialist provisions in Enfield. 
  • You can see the dates of open days here.

We would really like to know about your experiences when visiting and talking to secondary schools - please see information about our survey here, including how to enter our prize draw. 

You may also find it useful to look at these resources for preparing for the transfer to secondary school. 

Information on the Contact website here and you also can Listen to Contact's podcast episode about applying to a secondary school place. 

Additional guidance:  

12-10-2023 Let us know about your experiences choosing a secondary school

We would really like to hear about your experiences when looking at secondary schools this year, for your child with additional needs. 

We know that all schools are meant to be inclusive for children with Disabilities and Special Needs – but is that the reality? Did you feel that your child would be welcomed and supported at the schools you visited and spoke to, or were you discouraged (whether actively or more subtly) from sending your child to that school?

Please let us know about your experiences (both good and bad) by completing the short survey here 

It should only take around 5 minutes to do. To thank you for your time we will randomly select 3 survey entries to receive a £20 Amazon voucher (see survey page for details).

Thank you! 

24-08-2023 What's On over the Summer holidays?

Our latest 'What's on this Summer?' guide has information on a variety of accessible events, activities and over the school summer holidays in the Enfield area and nearby.

This version has been updated on 24th August 23 to include information about: 

Dawnosaurs relaxed opening at the Natural History Museum on 2nd September (see page 8)

Whipsnade Zoo's relaxed opening on Sunday 27th August (see page 9) 

Cineworld Enfield's relaxed screening of Barbie (certificate 12a) on Friday 1st September (see page 3)

The information in the booklet is correct (to the best of our knowledge) at the time of writing, but please do check with the individual venues and schemes, and please bear in mind that many activities and events must be pre-booked. 

The Local Authority's booklet on playschemes for the Summer school holidays has been updated with the latest information and you can see a copy here. There is additional information about the playschemes on the Local Offer here.

There is information on the HAF programme for children and young people in receipt of benefits related free school meals here. If your child qualifies for the scheme you should receive vouchers from your child's school - please contact them if you think you are eligible but have not had these. 

24-08-2023 Disability swimming - new sessions coming soon

Albany Leisure Centre will be offering new disability family-friendly swim sessions every Saturday from 16th September from 2.45 to 3.45 pm, in the main pool. 

The cost is £3 per person for both adults and children (offered at the concession card rate without the need to purchase a concession card). 

There are a limited number of spaces for each session, so you are recommended to pre-book your spaces to avoid disappointment. Spaces can be booked a week in advance. You can find the booking under 'Lane & General Swimming' on the Fusion Lifestyle app, which you can download at https://download.mobilepro.uk.com/a/55U2?p=6.

More information on these sessions is available here

These are in addition to the existing Disability Friendly Family Swimming sessions at Edmonton Leisure Centre every Sunday from 11 am to 12 pm.

The cost is £3.00 per session per person (adult or junior). This is a concessionary rate (no need to purchase the concession card itself).

Further details are available here.

Fusion Lifestyle advise pre-booking your spaces beforehand to avoid disappointment as there is limited capacity. You can find the booking under 'Lane & General Swimming' on the Fusion Lifestyle app, which you can download via https://download.mobilepro.uk.com/a/55U2?p=6.

Please note - these are NOT swimming LESSONS but are swimming sessions that the whole family can use to swim with the young person with disabilities.

20-08-2023 Meet the SEND Heads Parents Conference 22nd June 23

Thank you to everyone who came along to the Our Voice 'Meet the SEND Heads' Parents' Conference on 22nd June 23- the seventh annual conference we have held. 

We heard from the Heads of services supporting children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities in a Q&A session and ran a workshop on support for the mental health of children and young people with SEND, and there were opportunities for parents to book one to one appointments with professionals and to meet representatives of Our Voice, the Enfield Carers Centre, SENDIASS and ENAS (the Enfield Branch of the National Autistic Society) as well as other parents.

Feedback from the Conference

This report from the conference sets out a summary of:

  • The key issues identified within the conference which Our Voice is now discussing with the relevant teams within the LA and Health.
  • Feedback from participants at the event.

Resources and information

Ahead of the conference, we asked all the panellists involved in our 'Meet the SEND Heads' panel Q&A session, to provide us with a short update about recent developments in their areas. You can see their responses in our Parents' Conference Service Areas Update Pack.

Question and Answer Session: 

We have collated the questions asked before and during and after the session, and have asked the relevant services to give their responses. The Q&A from the session can be found here

Additional resources referenced in the Q&A:

If you'd like to look back at the Q&As and other information from our last 'Meet the SEND Heads' Parents Conference in March 22, you can see this information here

Mental Health Workshop 

Our afternoon workshop explored supporting the Mental Health of our Children and young people. You can see all the presentations from the workshop here:

Our Voice introduction

NCL Waiting Room (an NHS-backed website providing a range of resources)

Wellbeing Connect Services (a local mental health charity offering holistic support to families experiencing mental health issues) 

My Time Counselling Service (EPC) - counselling service for 5-18 year olds including those with additional needs

MIND Parent Support programme - for parents/carers of children and young people on the CAMHS waiting list

Mental Health Support teams in schools 

Additional information and resources are currently being finalised before being added to this page, including other resources on supporting your child's mental health.

20-08-2023 Online workshops for parents over the summer

‘My Young Mind Enfield’ are running a series of 2-hour online workshops (on Microsoft Teams) for parents over the summer, on how to support your child/young person: 

See the attached booklet for full details of all the sessions.

The remaining session is: 

For the parents/carers of children moving to secondary school this September

22nd August 11 am - 1 pm - Preparing your child for High School - book here

13-08-2023 Ofsted inspection results published

The SEND Area inspection was carried out by Ofsted and the CQC in March 23, and Our Voice was actively involved in gathering inputs from parents and carers and feeding them back to the inspection team.

The inspectors published their report on Wednesday 2nd August.

Enfield received the middle grade of the three possible grades.

This means that according to Ofsted, “the local area partnership’s arrangements lead to inconsistent experiences and outcomes for children and young people with SEND. The Local Area Partnership must work jointly to make improvements.”

This also means that Enfield will be reinspected in 3 years' time to look at what improvements have been made (areas receiving the top grade are not reinspected for 5 years). You can see the full report at https://files.ofsted.gov.uk/v1/file/50225063

The key points identified in the report were:

o    Children and young people still have varied experiences and although leaders have stepped up the pace in recent years there are mixed views on how much impact this has had.

o    Children young people and families are involved in the redesign and improvement of services

o    EHCPs are completed within the 20-week timescale and the quality is improving. However, there are out-of-date EHCPs and annual review amendments are not updated quickly enough especially in transitions, so that plans don’t always accurately reflect current needs.

o    Sometimes information sharing between professionals isn’t as good as it should be and parents have to step in to ensure professionals have the right information.

o    Some, but not all, children and young people are well prepared for transfer to adult services and not all are aware of the support available.

o    Numbers of exclusions have reduced significantly and services work closely with alternative provision so (where appropriate) pupils return to mainstream schools as soon as possible. However, some children and young people with SEND experience late identification of their needs with this taking place only after they are placed in alternative provision.

o    There is a broad range of activities for young people to try but more needs to be done to ensure families are aware of available activities. There are plans to improve access to schemes like the Summer Uni. As young people get older it is harder for them to access a good range of activities.

Special Needs Jungle has produced a useful explanation of how SEND area inspections work and what the different ratings are, which you can see here.

Thank you again to all of you, and all your young people, who contributed your views either to us, or by completing the surveys for parent carers and children and young people, or directly to the inspectors. It is clear that the inspectors listened to the issues that families face and reflected many of these concerns in their report.

We will (of course) be working with the LA and Health to ensure that parents' views are listened to as they look at what changes will be made in response to the inspection results. 

24-07-2023 Independent Travel Training

The First Route Travel Training scheme supports access to public transport for young adults and adults with learning disabilities.

The scheme was set up by Enfield Council in partnership with the Metropolitan Police, Transport for London and Arriva buses, to help support individuals who were not confident with using public transport, including young adults before they transition to adult services, and adults with a learning disability.

Their sessions take place on the first Thursday of each month and give an opportunity for individuals to gain confidence to travel independently and safely, including looking at the kinds of scenarios that they could encounter on public transport.

The next sessions will be on 7th Sept, 5th Oct, 2nd Nov and 7th Dec for those who travel independently or those who use or could use, public transport with support. There are morning sessions from 10.30 am to 12 noon and afternoon sessions 12.30 pm to 2 pm (please note that the afternoon session times have been changed from the timings previously announced). 

More details are on: 

Poster for First Route Independent Travel training 

Bus Day factsheet

More detail about the development and aims of the scheme here

For further information or to book please contact Claire Fenwick on 0208 132 1476 or claire.fenwick@enfield.gov.uk

01-07-2023 Healthy Parent Carer Programme

We're pleased to announce that we are now signing people up for our next Healthy Parent Carer course which will be running online for 6 weeks, every Friday morning from 15th September until 20th October. 

This is not a parenting course, or about how you can get support for your child/young person - it is about your own well-being and will be run for small groups by trained facilitators who are also parent carers and understand the challenges. 

Please see the flyer here for full details of the course, what it is about and who it is for. 

If you are interested in attending the course from 15th September, please click on the link here to complete the short form,  so that we can get back to you before the School holidays. 

Places will be allocated on a first come first served basis (including those who registered when we were recruiting for our previous courses), once we have had an initial discussion with you to make sure that the course will work for you and you are happy to commit. 

There will be additional courses in each half-a-term which we will offer to those unsuccessful in obtaining a place on this course. These will include some courses with a translator available (Turkish, Somalian or Bengali) and options to attend face-to-face or online.

If you would prefer to attend the programme at a later date please click the same link and indicate what your preferred timing is,  and we will come back to you in due course. 

There are only a limited number of places on each course so don't delay!