All posts in “Policy”

Coronavirus and Additional Learning Needs – update

The Coronavirus Bill, has now been passed and is now Legislation under the Coronavirus Act 2020. You can find the whole act here

Currently all local authorities remain under obligation to comply with the law and regulations regarding Special Educational needs. There is no immediate change to the duties on local authorities

The Coronavirus Act 2020 does however provide for the possibility of a temporary relaxation of duties on local authorities.  The relevant part for our purposes is Schedule 17, part 1, “Notices temporarily removing or relaxing statutory provisions”.

Under the Coronavirus Act 2020, the Secretary of State/Welsh Minister has the power to modify this requirement so instead rather than an absolute duty, Local Authorities are able to use ‘reasonable endeavours’ to deliver the provision.

In order for any of these situations to come into force, Schedule 17 of the Act has created a power for the Secretary of State/Welsh Minister to issue a notice dis-applying or modifying the existing statutory provisions for up to one month at a time, but there can be repeated notices.

Hayley Mason, SEND Lawyer at SEN Legal says that

When issuing such notice, the Secretary of State/Welsh Minister must take reasonable steps to bring the notice to the attention of those likely to be affected. (The reasons must relate to the incidence or transmission of coronavirus.)

Even when a Notice is issued, this does not mean that local authorities can simply do nothing.  What it means is that the duties are to be treated as discharged if the LA has used ‘reasonable endeavours’ to discharge the duty.

Exactly what ‘reasonable endeavours’ will amount to in this context is as yet unclear as it has not been defined in the recent legislation and no guidance has been issued to local authorities.

In reality this will probably involve looking at creative options to provide for delivery. Several LA’s are using video conferencing for example

No notice has been issues currently so the duties on local authorities remain the same.

The modifications if announced will apply to the following:

  • Education Act 1996 Section 324 (statement of special educational needs)

Any duty imposed on a person by section 324(5)(a) or (b) is to be treated as discharged if the person has used reasonable endeavours to discharge the duty.

  • Learning and Skills Act 2000 (Statement of special educational needs)

Any duty imposed on a person by section 324(5)(a) or (b) is to be treated as   discharged if the person has used reasonable endeavours to discharge the duty.

  • Section 140 (duty on the Welsh Ministers to arrange an assessment of a person with SEN in particular circumstances)

Any duty imposed on a person by section 140 is to be treated as discharged if the person has used reasonable endeavours to discharge the duty.

  • Education Act 1996 Section 19 (exceptional provision of education in pupil referral units or elsewhere)

Any duty imposed on a person by or under section 19 is to be treated as discharged if the person has used reasonable endeavours to discharge the duty

  • Education Act 1996 Section 328 (review of educational needs)

Any duty imposed on a person by or under section 328 is to be treated as discharged if the person has used reasonable endeavours to discharge the duty.

Do the LA still need to carry out statutory assessments?

All current duties apply, the local authority are still required to comply and must still accept request for statutory assessments and continue those which are in process

Understandably everybody is in a difficult position at the moment. Many people are having to work from home for the first time, looking after children and trying to make it work and that includes LA officers who may not have access to their databases in the same way as us. 

The government may be seeking to amend regulations on the timescales for the statutory processes where this is appropriate because of COVID-19 as yet, no order has been passed to this effect. 

Several LAs who have indicated that they will not be carrying out any statutory assessments. Legally, this is not an option nor has the government indicated any intention to suspend the duty to consider requests for assessment or to carry out the same. Any LA’s suspending the process are not acting lawfully.

On a practical basis, a LA’s ability to comply with deadlines may be hampered by staff absence and the way assessments are conducted may be affected by the availability of staff and restrictions on face to face contact and working from home.  However, LAs have wide powers in the way they obtain information and advice.

Decisions about whether or not to assess will continue to be made solely on current legal tests.  If a LA refuses to assess, then it must continue to send out the statutory notification (along with notice of appeal rights and deadlines) to the parents or young person.

If a school is being named in a statement, that process may continue despite the school being currently closed.

Annual Reviews

Time limits have not been extended yet.  However annual review deadlines are likely to be one area which may be relaxed – in practice deadlines will slip slightly and we will all need to be pragmatic and sensitive to the prevailing situation.  If AR do not take place the existing provision will remain in place.

What is happening to SENTW Appeals?

Appeals in respect of refusals to assess, refusals to issue, and against the content of issued Statements can also still be lodged with the First-tier Tribunal SENTW.  The FTT is preparing to put measures in place to attempt business as usual. It is holding case management hearings and appeals by telephone and video link. 

What are children and young people with SEN’s entitlements when schools are closed?

All schools have been ordered to effectively close, retaining a skeleton staff to provide education for the children of ‘key workers, and ‘vulnerable children’.

Vulnerable children include those who have a social worker, who are ‘looked after,’ require safeguarding and those with a statements of special educational need. The children with SEN, who receive SEN Support at school but do not have a statement, would be expected to stay home unless they have a social worker or a parent or carer who is a key worker. In certain local authorities unless both parents are keyworkers the children would be expected to stay at home. Many areas are looking at having cluster hubs where children will be brought together- the advice on this is emerging.

The Government has released further guidance for schools, colleges and local authorities setting out their approach to maintaining educational provision. This includes a full list of key workers.

If my child has a statement, does the LA still have a legal duty to provide what’s in the statement?

From a legal perspective this is the case However, given the likely significant disruption and staff sickness , it may be very difficult for schools or LAs to deliver the exact provision,

 An alternative may be to question whether some of the provision can be delivered at home?  Certain therapists for example have provided support through video link.

If you are concerned about your child who may be vulnerable regarding safeguarding, mental health or because of concerns regarding their violent behaviour please contact your social worker if you have one or your local authority duty social work team. 

For further information please contact the SNAP Cymru Helpline or use the enquiry form on our website which both remain open

0808 801 0608    www.snapcymru.org/contact

SNAP Cymru Coronavirus Contingency Plan

Changes in our service provision

SNAP Cymru will continue to provide services during the Corona Virus outbreak and review this daily following advice and announcements from Public Health Wales

Most offices will be closed as we are following PHW and government advice regarding self-isolation and working from home in order to protect high risk staff and to contribute to the attempt to slow down the rate of transmission. 

We have secure referral system on our website and helpline will continue as normal, as will all SNAP Cymru services.

Our organisation is well resourced and has developed excellent IT systems to enable remote working for all staff and volunteers.

Our CMS is cloud based and secured to safe harbour standards and our staff have smart phones and laptops to continue to provide services. 

Our staff have all received Data protection training and are aware of our Lone working and Working from Home policies

We will be able to offer advice, support and casework over the phone, by electronic methods and if safe to do so, face to face. Throughout this crisis staff and volunteers will do their utmost to help vulnerable families alongside our statutory and third sector colleagues, sharing information, resources and expertise.

We have an internal intranet which hosts a library of information that can be shared with staff, professionals and families

Our IT department is initiating all means possible for video conferencing and file sharing including Microsoft Team etc

We will be keeping in close contact with our LA’s and with the SENTW and responding to their contingencies

Front line face to face services are now extremely limited however, there are many ways SNAP Cymru can continue to support people

  • We have a dedicated helpline which is staffed from 9.30 – 4.30 daily.  This is based on a rota system of our all Wales staff team and supported by a team of volunteers. 
  •  All staff have smart phones and laptops.  Our staff are having regular contact with their clients to reduce stress and anxiety
  • We are providing advice and self-help guides and templates to families and professionals as well as access to our website of resources and ongoing signposting to good practice and advice via our Facebook
  • Our key working staff are diarising phone calls on their outlook calendar’s as they would visits to ensure that all families receive contact.

Response in the event of serious concerns over people in our caseload.

All Staff to review their cases for any serious concerns and to update Line Managers with concerns in line with our usual safeguarding procedures.  Any families that our Officers feel are particularly vulnerable will be brought to the AD’s attention for additional help

Our contingency plans if staffing levels are significantly depleted

We have an all Wales team and local volunteers who can provide helpline advice and support.  A degree of cover for face to face/ essential meetings in line with public health guidlines.

Identified exit routes for those still needing support that we are unable to continue to work with

  • Staff are identifying self-help materials to share with families directly and social media. Hard copy will be made available for families without good access to a mobile and or printer
  • We are providing alternative caseworkers where necessary e.g.staff sickness.
  • We also want to ensure people are enabled to make informed choices so we will be sharing important announcements from Public Health Wales through social media and one to one discussions

Help SNAP Cymru could provide in the wider response to the crisis

  • SNAP Cymru will be flexible, forward thinking and responsive to the needs of families in each Local Authority. Senior staff will liaise with lead professionals to respond to coordinated efforts to meet local needs. 
  • We will seek funding for practical resources for families and to possibly fund  the  extension of the telephone services we offer. Listening, supporting, and giving appropriate advice.  
  • Now that school premises and settings are mostly closed we will be offering suggestions for families to help deal with the stress and anxiety that is happening right now and are particularly vigilant regarding safeguarding. A listening ear from a trusted source to calm some of the worry and stress.
  • Where projects are supporting families through Early Help Key working SNAP Cymru are offering tips with behaviour management and anxiety but also practical support with the completion of benefit requests and other paperwork.
  • A diarised rota is being kept for close contact with families
  • Staff and volunteers will do all they can throughout the crisis within public health guidance

Coronavirus Information and resources for families

Everyone at SNAP Cymru want to support children and young people during this emergency which could see families at home for long periods. We understand that this is a very worrying time for everyone.

We will be regularly updating social media so please follow us if you do not already https://www.facebook.com/SNAPCymru/

Whilst our offices will be closed to all visitors. Don’t worry – we’ll still be here supporting you!

The SNAP Cymru Team will be working from home, your calls will be diverted and we’ll have access to e-mails and database.

We will maintain contact with families via telephone or other electronic methods as usual. We will work with individual families and professionals to hold face to face meetings and support services if it is safe to do so, in accordance with Public Health Wales.

If you do need support please contact our normal help and support line.

0808 801 0608

or to make a referral www.snapcymru.org/contact

Thank you for your continued and valuable support and if we can do anything to help you during these challenging times, just let us know and look out for our regular briefings. Keep well

We’ve tried to gather some useful information and resources for you for what will undoubtedly be a difficult time. Thank you to all the charities and organisations that have put together some of these important resources.

Talking to children and families regarding COVOID 19

With so much out there about Covid-19 (coronavirus) and confusion about the virus and its impact on families here are some of the most useful

  • Contact, previously known as Contact a Family, is a national charity that supports families with disabled children, bringing them together and helping families take action for others. C Coronavirus Welfare benefits and Money
  • The Children’s Commissioner for Wales has an information hub for families and children to explain what is going on. If you or your children have any questions then you can tweet, email or Facebook message them.
  • Learning Disability Wales – Coronavirus: resources for people with a learning disability including some good easy read guides, for people with a learning disability in Wales. As the situation progresses they are adding new information and advice on a daily basis.
  • RNIB support PlansRNIB plans to publish regular online guidance in response to the crisis, with resources and ideas about supporting your child. This will be available at www.rnib.org.uk/children by Friday 27th March and will be updated regularly.  They are also planning online drop in /sign up sessions where we can support over specific topics or provide an opportunity for questions and answers to the CYPF Education team.

Easy read guides and advice

Easy read posters

All Photosymbols’ coronavirus posters can now be downloaded here

For children with ALN

Chatter –the best List of FREE Speech, Language, communication and SEND resources for schools and parent/carers – (free to download for individual use copyright restrictions apply)

Sensory Stuck at Home is a Facebook page where parents of autistic children share ideas of activities to do in the house.

BBC CBeebies for special needs
Resources and help for children with additional needs from the BBC, including Mr Tumble!

ITV Signed Stories
Signed Stories help improve the literacy of deaf children from infancy upwards. The website also provides useful advice and guidance for parents, carers and teachers of deaf children, and for the deaf parents of hearing children.

The Letterbox Library
Catalogue of disability-related books for disabled children and their siblings, and for use in school or other settings, that promote understanding and explain ‘difference’ for all ages from babies to eleven years old

Worksheets in Braille – BrailleWeek 

Resources to support those with – Visual impairment

A list of resources to support learners with Down Syndrome and their families – Down Syndrome 

Dyslexia friendly – free, fun resources – Crossbow Education 

CrickerSoft – Reading and writing software for all abilities – Free during this period

FREE downloadable inclusive resources – Inclusive teach 

Sight word practice

Advice, learning activities and recommended toys, books, and resources for children with SEND – SEN resources blog 

Free apps to support students who are blind, visually impaired, deaf, have reading difficulties – Accessibite 

Phonic reading games for all children, including those who cannot read or have dyslexia. Email: trugs@readsuccessfully.com for 20% off using cv2020  – Trugs

Sensory Project – List of online, sensory learning resources

Free access to Clicker at home during this period – CrickSoftware 

Life skills challenges – A programme for young people with SEND

SEN Teacher.org – Free SEND resources

Occupational Therapy resources

TTS – A curriculum-focused independent learning resource with over 40 home learning activities all planned and all prepared!

•    Free download so print and share it with your pupils or send it electronically

•    Created for teachers by teachers

•    Includes activities for all curriculum areas

•    It is also mobile friendly

Twinkle Home Education Resources

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, we’re offering everyone Twinkl Ultimate free for a month, to help keep children learning at home.

Visit www.twinkl.co.uk/offer and enter the code PARENTSTWINKLHELPS to set up your free month of Twinkl Ultimate.

Chatter pack  A list of free, online, boredom-busting resources!

For older children, here are 50 free revision resources for 11+, GCSE’s and A-Levels

Relaxation and well being

For help with coping and feeling anxious visit the NHS website’s tips on dealing with anxiety.

The Guardian newspaper has also written a piece specifically about managing anxiety around coronavirus.

And the NHS has top tips on maintaining wellbeing – vital for parent carers.

Childline has a ‘calm zone’, with videos, activities, games, and calming activities to help children who are worried about anything

https://www.parents.com/fun/activities/5-mindfulness-activities-you-can-do-as-a-family/

https://heartmindonline.org/resources/mindful-activities-for-families

https://www.parenttoolkit.com/social-and-emotional-development/news/general-parenting/eight-ways-to-bring-mindfulness-into-your-family

Cerebra – Emotional wellbeing for parents and carers of children with a learning disability

Apps 

  • Stop Breathe Think – Check in with how you’re feeling, and try short activities tuned to your emotions. 
  • Headspace – mindfulness tools for your everyday life  
  • Stay Alive App from Grassroots Suicide Prevention 
  • CalmHarm Self harm support app 

Survivors Network a master-post of online resources, from mental health self-care to ways you can feel like you’ve left the house. We hope they help. Online resources available during social distancing and self-isolation

Online learning resources

With most children out of school, there are lots of apps and websites to help to still support their learning and development.

This list has 15 suggestions for various age groups and this list is of apps that help and support children and young people with autism.

Maths
Conquermaths.
Khan Academy
Prodigy Maths
Mathseeds -Mathseeds teaches kids aged 3-9 the core maths and problem solving skills needed to be successful at school with fun, highly interactive and rewarding lessons.
IXL is here to support you during school closures. Get resources for at‑home learning no

Learn to code at home for free with Code Camp World. You can learn how to use JavaScript, find out about html and even create your own websites and games. 

There are more coding challenges on Barclays UK’s Youtube. Their Coding Playground Live series teaches basic coding skills using Scratch.

If you want to find more ideas with Scratch then their website has loads more ideas to get you into coding. Create a game, learn to make a character fly and animate letters. After that it’s only your imagination that can stop you.

For help with maths for 4-11 year olds National Numeracy has you covered. Their activity pack is available to donload and contains 28 activities to try out. They also have loads of links to places to test your maths skills even further.

English

Emily Weston – 16 activities that children can use to aid their home reading, or their reading in school. It has a range of skills included such as prediction, summarising and inferenc

The reading lesson. Book- By Michael Levin and Charan Langton.
Reading Eggs.
Wild Literacy
Reading eggspress
Borrow Box. – libraries of Wales borrow box
Scholastic 100 lessons books.

Phonics Play

Science

Fitness

Over 200,000 people joined Joe Wicks online for his first live PE lesson on Youtube. Happening every week day at 9.00am, it’s a great way to get you moving and ready to start your day.

You can work out with a Team GB athlete every Wednesday with their Workout Wednesday. Previous athletes have included gymnasts Max Whitelock and Aimee Fuller, climber Shauna Coxsey and freestyle skier Rowan Cheshire.

Geography

  • Oddizzi.  Oddizzi is an online, subscription-based geography resource
    The Geogrpahy Book by Caroline Arnold
    Scholastic – 100 Geography lessons
  • National Geographic Kids: Activities and quizzes for younger kids. 

History

Horrible Histories! The books, the series. Super engaging!
Scholastic 100 History lessons
60 second Histories  

BBC Newsround has helpful information for children about the coronavirus, including explainer videos. They also have a ‘happy news’ section to brighten the day

While all of our museums, theatres and cultural venues are closed to the public, there are still lots of things you can do online.

Many major museums and organisations in the UK and abroad are running virtual tours, for example the British Museum.

Learn how to draw with official World Book Day illustrator Rob Biddolph. Lessons happen every Tuesday and Thursday at 10.00am. You can follow them live on his Twitter page or watch them back on his website.

Practice your drawing skills with the Natural History Museum’s Nature Drawing Club. They will post a new topic every Friday on their Twitter page and then it’s up to you to draw or paint.

To find out more about the Natural History Museum you can use their take part and education resources. Learn about their collections, the nature around you and the science that is carried out everyday at the museum.

Miscellaneous

Online Lego workshop, Gruffalo workshop, and lots more. Plus stories read by Tony Ross, author – 7 stories, Facebook 

If you are looking to learn more about money then the Royal Mint have new activities for kids based around money and the coins we use everyday. You can even design your own coin, though we don’t think you will be able to go shopping with it.

Learn to touch-type – Free access

Learning with MineCraft – Education MineCraft

Vroom – Helping learning during shared moments, such as bath time

Toy Theatre – Fun educational resources

The Scouts have launched a new initiative called The Great Indoors. All of the activities are designed to be done in your house so there is no excuse not to try it out. Activities are aimed at 6 to 14 year olds but anyone can have a go. Once you have had a go at these you can use their activity finder to find even more things to do


Living Paintings (UK)
Free postal library supporting blind and partially sighted adults, children and young people. They make tactile versions of pictures that come to life when fingers feel them.

Virtual toursThis website allows you to visit museums from the comfort of your home.

100 things to do indoorsYou can download this book free of cost and make staying indoors fun and use the time to help yourself and others.

Keep exercising – On this page you can find movement and mindfulness videos to keep you children active.

Best virtual museums

Virtual tour of museums family tours

Swansea Library has online e-books and magazines

A long list of educational resources

For those who like structure. Various celebrities are offering for free daily to help with their children education while schools are closed (from Skint dad)

9:00amPE with Joe Wicks

10:00am Maths with Carol Vorderman

11:00amEnglish with David Walliams

12:00pm Lunch (cooking with Jamie Oliver)

1:00pmMusic with Myleene Klass

1:30pm Dance with Darcey Bussel

2:00pmHistory with Dan Snow (free for 30 days)

4:00pmHome Economics with Theo Michaels (Mon/Wed/Fri)

Other YouTube Sites that may be of interest:Chris Packhams – Youtube – Bird Club

Oti Mabuse is doing dancing classes’ each day at 11:30 on facebook

Maddie Moate – youtube – Let’s go Live with Maddie and Greg

More to Keep Your Children Occupied & Learning

Cardboard Spaceships: A place to share free online teaching, education and entertainment ideas for children at home 

Homeschooling UK: Emergency group set up by teachers to help families 

Will Sliney gives daily drawing challenges for children using #wewilldraw and shares tutorials 

“Boogie Monsters” (a live rock and pop band for children under 7) are doing daily live keyboard request videos each day at 4.30pm for the whole family – access them through their Facebook group

Khan Academy: Especially good for maths and computing for all ages but other subjects at Secondary level. Note this uses the U.S. grade system but it’s mostly common material. 

BBC Bitesize. No TV licence required except for content on BBC iPlayer. 

BBC Learning: This site is old and no longer updated and yet there’s so much still available, from language learning to revision. No TV licence required except for content on BBC iPlayer. 

Seneca: For those revising at GCSE or A level. Tons of free revision content. Paid access to higher level material. 

Blockly: Learn computer programming skills – fun and free. 

Scratch: Creative computer programming 

Ted Ed: All sorts of engaging educational videos 

The Kids Should See This: Wide range of cool educational videos 

Crash Course: You Tube videos on many subjects  

Crash Course Kids: As above for a younger audience 

Paw Print Badges: Free challenge packs and other downloads. Many activities can be completed indoors. Badges cost but are optional. 

Tinkercad: All kinds of making. 

Prodigy Maths: Is in U.S. grades, but good for UK Primary age. 

Cbeebies Radio: Listening activities for the younger ones. 

Nature Detectives: A lot of these can be done in a garden, or if you can get to a remote forest location! 

British Council: Resources for English language learning 

Oxford Owl for Home: Lots of free resources for Primary age 

Big History Project: Aimed at Secondary age. Multi-disciplinary activities. 

Geography Games: Geography gaming! 

Blue Peter Badges: If you have a stamp and a nearby post box.  

The Artful Parent: Good, free art activities  

Red Ted Art: Easy arts and crafts for little ones 

The Imagination Tree: Creative art and craft activities for the very youngest. 

Toy Theater: Educational online games 

DK Find Out: Activities and quizzs A small collection of anti-oppressive, anti-racist homeschool curriculum ideas and resources. Very American focused, but a good list of non-online stuff to do with children towards the end!  

Cincinatti Zoo are holding livestreams at 7pm UK time every day that the US schools are closed:  

Live cameras at San Diego Zoo 

school when school is closed reception year 1 & year 2

Craft ideas to survive coronavirus lockdown

COVID-19 homeschool and isolation ideas

Don’t worry – we’ll still be here supporting you!

At the present time SNAP Cymru is operating as normal.

However, as of today, several of the SNAP Cymru offices will be closed to all visitors. This decision will be reviewed as advice changes. In order to maintain a healthy and robust workforce, the number of meetings will also be cut.

Don’t worry – we’ll still be here to supporting you!  

The SNAP Cymru Team will be working from home, your calls will be diverted and we’ll have access to e-mails and our database.

We will maintain contact with all our families via telephone or other electronic methods as usual.  We will work with individual families to hold face to face meetings and support services if it is safe to do so, in accordance with Public Health Wales.

Should you have any further questions please contact us via our helpline:

 0808 801 0608 or to make a referral on our website www.snapcymru/contact

We will endeavour to keep everyone updated via our Facebook site.

Thank you for your continued and valuable support and if we can do anything to help you during these challenging times, just let us know and look out for our regular briefings.  Keep well

 Best wishes

SNAP Cymru

SNAP develop new Early Help support service in Swansea


Following a competitive process, SNAP Cymru are delighted to be working with the City and County of Swansea to provide family support across Swansea. Having delivered the Parent Partnership Service in Swansea for more than 30 years, we look forward to delivering this exciting new service key- working with families across the county, helping children and young people to achieve the best possible in life.

How can we help?

Our Early Help Service provides children and families, with focused support when problems emerge.  The right support at the right time can reduce or prevent specific problems from getting worse, help identify risks and prevent escalation and the necessity of providing more intensive support later on.

We will help 

  • build on the strengths of families to help themselves
  • meet the needs of families to avoid problems becoming more serious
  • ensure the voice and involvement of the child and family is encouraged and valued.

We will work with parents, children, young people and families as a whole, addressing issues that affect the wellbeing of the family as well as the child or young person. We aim to help families find positive ways through those problems to improve coping and build resilience and wellbeing for all.  We offer support at:

Stage 2.  targeted intervention when the needs of the child or young person cannot be met within their setting – i.e. above universal services open to all families, and

Stage 3.  If a child or young person’s needs are more complex or they have multiple needs.

The Early Help service works with children, young people and families where there are indicators of emerging difficulties or additional needs. These needs can include anything that affects the health, development, wellbeing and safety of children and young people, for example:

  • Families where a parent/carer is experiencing mental health difficulties.
  • Children with Additional learning Needs
  • Children and young people experiencing stress and anxiety.
  • Children and young people living with conduct and behaviour disorders.
  • Children who have a caring role for another member of their family (young carers).
  • families who may want parenting support and advice including routine and boundary setting.
  • Support to ensure school attendance.
  • Support with communication and conflict resolution.
  • Support for children who are excluded, with managed moves or at transition.
  • Support for families to communicate and participate fully
  • Understanding their child’s condition and implementing supportive strategies.
  • Key working support for families with children with complex needs
    Support  to step-up or down to appropriate help

How we help

SNAP Cymru’s Early Help team typically offers a range of support services tailored to individual circumstances and needs. Some common services include:

  • Advice and advocacy.
  • Signposting to universal or specialist services.
  • One-to-one practical and emotional support for children, young people or parents.
  • Parenting support.
  • Support to understand rights and entitlements

The Early Help model encourages collaboration between those providing the service and the people using them. We support children, young people and their families to play a key role in prioritising positive change and in shaping their own plan with the aim of improving outcomes and avoiding crises.

How do I request Early Help for a child or family?

The service is available to Swansea families who have children 0 – 19 with emerging or additional learning needs or other barriers to their learning, development or inclusion.

Whilst most referrals are made from professionals families with complex needs can self-refer. A referral form can be downloaded from www.snapcymru.org/contact   

This referral form should be sent to early.help@snapcymru.org 

Alternatively you can also submit an electronic referral from the SNAP Cymru website www.snapcymru.org/contact    

PLEASE ensure you mark this as a referral for Early Help.

We will acknowledge receipt of your referral and the family will be contacted within 5 working.

Welsh Bac Students from Crickhowel High School hold a SNAP Cymru exhibit in London and visit Parliament

Four Year 10 students from Crickhowell High School had an eventful and exciting start to this week!  Poppy Park, Cerys Williams, Milly Evans and Megan Thomas were First Give winners last term, when Education Minister Kirsty Williams AM, visited to judge the First Give Competition.  As a result, the students were invited to showcase the excellent work they did for their chosen charity, SNAP Cymru.

The celebration event took place in the Mulberry Academy in London, which provided a superb arena for all the exhibitors from Wales and across the UK, to showcase their support for their charities.

After an overnight stay in Pax Lodge, World Guide Association accommodation, the students enjoyed a fantastic trip across London to visit The Houses of Parliament and meet with their local MP, Jane Dodds and share their experiences and information on SNAP Cymru.  Jane very kindly gave them an ‘out of bounds’ tour around the beautiful and impressive, Parliament buildings. It was wonderful for them to meet with Jane and discuss important political issues; the students had plenty of questions for her!  The school are now looking forward to welcoming Jane to Crickhowell High School in the near future.

A huge thanks to all involved in choosing SNAP Cymru as their charity – we were delighted that they rose awareness of our work and that the students had such a wonderful experience.  Thanks also to Carron Goold and other staff at Crickhowell High School for their support.  Well done girls – Diolch yn fawr iawn

GWENT Parent Carer Forums

Are you the parent of a child or young person with Additional learning Needs (ALN)?  Do you want to influence changes in your local area?

Do you want to join a Parent Carer Forum to share your ideas and experiences to work towards better services for children and young people with ALN? 

The local authorities in Blaenau Gwent, Newport, Torfaen, Caerphilly and Monmouthshire are committed to working in partnership with parents to provide the best support for children and young people with additional learning needs and have asked SNAP Cymru to support parents to develop parent carer forums in each area.

The aim of a parent carer forum

Our Parent carer Forum will aim to be a ‘parental voice’ to inform service providers of the needs of children with ALN and their families and to help improve services for children and young people

We will work together in partnership with education departments, health providers, social service departments, recognising each others skills experience and knowledge to highlight where services are working well and challenge when changes and improvements need to be made.  Forums will provide two way communication between parents carers and services in the area.  The forum will provide feedback on services, offer constructive challenge to current services and input into decision making and planning for future services.   

Co-production is an important principle in parent carer participation and can help ensure families play an integral and equal part in the decision-making process and are fully involved in shaping, developing, implementing and evaluating services and systems.

Who can join?

Any parent or carer of a child or young person with additional learning needs living in the area.  As a parent or carers you’ll bring your real-life perspective and experience to the planning and development of the services that families use.   

The forums will be informal. You can dip in and out as time permits at your own pace or become a regular active member and representative of the forum.

Please come and join us for coffee at one of our initial meetings.   We’d love to see you and:

  • >Listen and Share ideas with other parent carers.
  • >Make sure the LA hears what most concerns families like yours
  • >Help shape the Forum and its aims and objectives
  • >For Parent and Carers to submit ideas for agenda items
  • >To act as a consultative and advisory group

We are holding the first meetings over the next two months. If you can come, please email us at:

Teresa.bradley@snapcymru.org or call/text on:  07508 968670 

Date Time LA Venue
26.10.19
(Sat)
10am-12pm Torfaen
Pontypool Active
Living Centre
Trosnant Street
Pontypool
NP4 8AT
20/11/19
(Wed)
10am-12pm Newport TBC
14.11.19
(Thurs)
6.30-8.30pm Blaenau Gwent General Offices
Steel Works Road
Ebbw Vale
NP23 8UW
30.11.19
(SAT)
10am-12pm Caerphilly Brewers Lodge
Gordon Rd
Blackwood
NP12 1DS
10.12.19
(Tuesday)
6.30- 8.30pm Monmouthshire Leisure Centre
Welsh St
Chepstow
NP16 5LR

Young people at Crickhowell High School make a difference through the Welsh Baccalaureate and First Give Programs and donate generously to SNAP Cymru

Students from Crickhowell High School have been very busy in their Welsh Bac lessons, tackling social issues by supporting local charities. This is part of a program provided by educational charity, First Give.  The students learnt about social issues in their communities and choose those which are important to them.  They researched the charities working in their communities and chose one to represent.

The Students then planed and delivered fundraising, awareness raising and volunteer activities in support of their charities.  

The Year 9 students have engaged in direct social action in support of their chosen charities and competed in Crickhowell High School’s Final, which was held on 14th June.

The School were thrilled to welcome Kirsty Williams AM and Minister of Education for Wales, to sit on the judging panel. Kirsty was so impressed with the students’ hard work, that she greed to match their fundraising donations, for all of the charities.

At the School Final, judges and representatives from some of the charities, watched the final presentations from students, about their chosen charities: Teenage Cancer Trust, Barnardo’s, Crisis, Snap Cymru and Mind. The judges found it very difficult to decide on the best presentation, but eventually decided to award the £1,000 grant to the students representing Snap Cymru. The Young People also raised a further £50 which was matched by the Kirsty Williams


Mrs Jackie Parker, the Head Teacher of Crickhowell High has commented, “We are delighted to be involved in the First Give Program again this year. Our students very much enjoy this engaging program. They learn about the importance of taking care of our communities and looking after vulnerable people. I thoroughly enjoyed the Final and I am delighted that Kirsty Williams AM joined us as one of the judges. I am extremely proud of these wonderful young people and hardworking staff, in our School”.

Mrs Goold, Head of Welsh Bac in Crickhowell High quotes, “First Give is a brilliant and engaging program and I recommend all schools in Wales to participate. It links in perfectly with Welsh Bac and the New Curriculum. Our students have really enjoyed engaging with our local charities and have developed so many important, transferable skills, which will help them in the future. We look forward to running the program again next year!”

Ms Denise Inger Chief Executive Director SNAP Cymru quotes, “Approximately 23% of children and young people in Wales have some form of additional learning need or disability.  SNAP Cymru was set up in response to families’ desperately needing support to navigate the maze of assessment and provision for their child’s additional needs. 

Many children are well-supported and making good progress with excellent support from their school teachers.  Others struggle and need the advice and support that SNAP Cymru can offer.

We are very grateful for this generous donation which will help to keep our vital advice and support services running for the families of children and young people with additional learning needs and disabilities.

This donation is hugely appreciated, and it’s particularly special that the young people have also developed so many excellent transferable skills whilst participating in this social enterprise.”   

If you’re inspired to fundraise for us?  Here’s some tips to help you get started:

  • Read our top tips on fundraising in our 50 ways to raise a fiver!   Get to grips with the basics of fundraising, and really make the most of what you have to work with.
  • Don’t do it all by yourself, or think about how you could involve classmates, work colleagues, friends and family. And if you’d like to have a chat with us about what you’ve got planned or you’re after some more inspiration just give us a call.
  • Set up an online Justgiving page. It’s absolutely the easiest possible way for you to get sponsored by friends, family, and colleagues. It only takes 5 minutes to set up a page and then you can add the links to emails, as well as your Facebook and Twitter pages. It’s a straight forward process to make a donation to SNAP Cymru – simply follow the link to our account at https://www.justgiving.com/snapcymru/donate/
  • Let us help you out! We’ve got lots of collection tins and other fundraising materials for you to use, just give us a call on 0920348990 or 07587187430.

If you have any questions or would just like to have a chat about your fundraising, contact us by emailing enquiries@snapcymru.org or call Amanda on 07587 187430 amanda.daniels@snapcymru.org

Draft Additional Learning Needs (ALN) Code Consultation – Summary reports published today

The Minister for Education has today published the summary of response report which presents the Welsh Government’s analysis of the 644 responses we received as well as the feedback from the regional stakeholder events and the engagement events with children, young people and parents.

You can read that report, the Minister’s statement as well as separate reports on the regional stakeholder events and engagement events with children, young people and parents here. The full individual consultation responses with anonymous responses marked as appropriate can also be viewed.

 The Welsh Government is now considering what changes may need to be made to the Code, proposed related regulations and proposed revisions to the Part 6 Code that have been suggested by respondents.

 Once approved, any changes and the reasons for them will be explained in the explanatory memoranda that will accompany the final ALN Code and regulations which we intend to lay for Assembly approval before the end of this year.

The responses were interesting, more so that the yes/no/maybe numbers suggested, many questions were raised , particularly those relating to Question 12 – Is this explanation of ALN given in paragraphs 7.4 – 7.32 of the draft ALN Code clear?  And  question 13 – Does Chapter 7 of the draft ALN Code provide a clear and comprehensive explanation of the evidence that should inform decisions about ALN and ALN, from which sources this evidence might be collated, and how?

Of particular note were the responses to question 42Are the requirements set out in Chapter 25 of the draft ALN Code on local authorities in relation to arrangements to avoid and resolve disputes appropriate?

In general, those who answered this question stated that they were welcome any provision to avoid and resolve disagreements that may arise.

However, concerns were raised as to whether a local authority would be in the position best to provide these services, and it was questioned whether there would be a local authority able to operate completely independently or impartially, and concerns were expressed specific to this in the context of financial pressures. This reflects similar comments made by many in the consultation events workshops Welsh Government regional advice and information, resolution independent disagreement and advocacy

It was made clear by most respondents that arrangements for avoiding and resolving disagreements should be provided by the independent parties to ensure that decisions are made on the basis of the needs of the learner rather than cost-based.

Respondents’ comments shared many of the beliefs of parents and professionals, that those supporting families and local authorities to resolve disagreements should be independent of the LA.

Next steps

The responses to the consultation have raised a huge number of issues that now require detailed consideration to determine what changes to make to the Code and regulations. Once this consideration is complete, it is intended that the Welsh Government will lay a revised draft of the ALN Code before the National Assembly for its approval later in 2019. At the same time, it is intended that various regulations (some in draft form) to be made under the Act will be laid, including those consulted on as part of this consultation. The laying of the ALN Code and regulations will be accompanied by the publication of the relevant explanatory memoranda and impact assessments.

Subject to the National Assembly’s approval of the ALN Code, it is expected to be issued before the end of 2019 with the new ALN system implemented over a period of three years beginning in September 2020.

last day to respond! – Have your voice heard and respond to the Welsh ALN Code

‘As many of you will know, half of the battle of getting support for your child’s Additional Needs is getting people to listen to you and by getting good reliable advice.   By people, I mean schools, professionals and your local authority.’  So says solicitor Hayley Mason Senior Solicitor at SEN Legal

What happens is the people who are there to help end up giving parents confused and sometimes incorrect information.  “They’re often working from incorrect information themselves, or working from policies driven by budget cuts rather than applying the law.”

The law in the form of the current legislation and the new ALNET Act 2018 is very clear in this area, but the interpretation of this is not as clear or as widespread as it should be.   The new ALN Draft Code and what children and young people and their parents can expect is far from clear in its current form.  

With a huge change in the law about to be implemented in Wales in September 2020 –getting the ALN Code right is essential.   As the name suggests, this code is about– about delivering for the children and young people with additional learning needs in the real world.  

The Code will when finalised provide a legal framework to ensure that learners’ additional learning needs are identified early and includes  guidance for relevant people such as schools and local authority , further education , NHS Trust etc…..; The Code imposes requirements on a local authority to provide:

· advice and information;

· disagreements resolution;

 · decisions on whether a child or young person has additional learning needs;

·  the preparation, content, form, review and revision of individual development plans (IDPs); and

· ceasing to maintain IDPs.

Where requirements are imposed by the Code, the Act or regulations, the relevant body must comply with the requirement.  Where it says that certain things are not allowed, the school, or local authority or college must not do it.

Schools, Local authorities, FE’s and others must comply with the law and requirements included in the Code and not doing so could result in a decision being overturned by the Tribunal, a successful complaint to the Welsh Ministers, local authority or Welsh Ministers’ intervening, a complaint to the Public Services Ombudsman or to a successful judicial review claim.

So why worry?  

  • Well the Code, is, we are told not for parents.   (Guidance for parents will be issued later….) – But at least the draft should be clear and accessible for all those SENCO’s, teachers and local authority officers out there who have to implement it.
  • The draft code is 316 pages long and from all the feedback we’ve had from schools, LAs and professionals, it’s open to huge interpretation and a really difficult read.
  • The structure and language isn’t always clear and rather than just dipping in to ‘relevant sections’, you really do have to cross reference back and forth to try and find the full picture.
  • The new draft code seems to be far more complicated and less easy to read than the old 2002 version which it replaces.
  • There is less than a month to respond and people all over Wales haven’t read the whole draft yet

In the midst of severe austerity where our schools and local authorities are having budget cuts, (which does shape institutional behaviour) having a code which is not clear can create conflict.

Let’s hope that out Tribunal rates will not soar as they did in England or that Schools and their local Authorities will not be in conflict regarding decisions and reconsiderations vice versa.

So is all lost? 

Certainly not, the ACT is a welcome and vital extension of opportunity for children and young people with ALN.  Those drafting the code are open to changes.   Everyone will have to adapt and learn, money will have to be spent, and a raft of new skills will have to develop.  But Rome never was built in a day

However there is a specific issue of concern which SNAP Cymru feels should be clarified and not left to interpretation:

   The provision of disagreement resolution services

SNAP Cymru feel that disagreement resolution should be provided by individuals and services, who are independent of the local authority.    We feel disagreement resolution support that is delivered by the Local Authority internally, in an attempt to comply with its duties would clearly not comply with section 68(3) of the Act .

If a Local Authority were to dedicate a ‘separate department’ to this service, we feel it would still fail in its duties to provide an independent service as set out in the new legislation.   It is not only vital that this service, is independent in appearance, but also independent in fact to promote the confidence and trust of families – both vital ingredients for any successful disagreement resolution process

The English Code of Practice which accompanies the 2014 legislation makes it quite clear:

  ‘no-one who is directly employed by a local authority can provide disagreement resolution services.

Those responsible for the Code in Wales believe it’s appropriate to deliver this service ‘in house.’   Many teachers and local authority officers have told us that they feel this would be a conflict of interest and have no intention of going down this route.   But some may.  

Parent Partnership Services have already been removed from this Code; the battle to ensure that information and advice was independent, was also lost during the writing of the legislation.

If information and dispute resolution for parents is to be clear, reliable and widespread and not determined and delivered solely by the local authority then people need to tell the WG that disagreement resolution provided by the local authority ‘in house’ is NOT acceptable

So please do respond to the following questions in the consultation:

Question 8 – Involving and supporting children, their parents and young people

Question 11 – Advice and information

 And 42 and 43 – Dispute resolution

https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/21TLX/

What are the next steps in terms of development of the Code?

The ‘code’ is out for consultation now – please respond and tell the Welsh Government how you feel.   You don’t have to answer every question.   Respond to specific points, to small section that you find particularly important.    You can respond on the online form by doing sections at a time and saving the doc before submitting.   Get together with other parents and respond together! If you’re a professional and concerned do respond.

The Code will be will need approval by the National Assembly for Wales, before it can be issued. We anticipate this will be at the end of 2019

https://beta.gov.wales/draft-additional-learning-needs-code