What an exciting week! On Monday we announced our brand new legal agony aunt, Jane McConnell of IPSEA. She's already got a bulging postbag - find the post link below.
On Tuesday, I spoke at a Westminster Briefing and gave a room full of SENCos, Headteachers and LA staff the parental perspective about why the reforms were necessary. It was a hard message to hear, but I hope it made a difference to the enthusiasm this room of professionals implement the reforms. Everyone was very nice afterwards.
On Thursday, I travelled up to Lancaster House in London, right by Clarence House, to attend a very nice reception for the SEND reforms, laid on by the Department for Education. It was very lovely to have been invited, along with a lively group of young people from the EPIC Advisory group and quite a few parents who had worked on the reforms. Also there were one or two LA SEND heads from pathfinder areas, lots of DfE staff and some SEND charity leaders too, as well as TV presenter and special needs parent, Carrie Grant.
Of particular note was a young lady named Emma, from the EPIC group, who has autism. She had no fear in introducing herself to our small group chatting, including Stephen Kingdom, the Deputy Director of SEND. Emma is exactly the kind of young person these reforms are about - she worked on advising the government about what young adults wanted from the reforms. Emma's dream job is to join the police, but said she had been told she wouldn't be able to because of her autism. I think perhaps the police should start rethinking their policy as someone with Emma's charm, confidence and passion could certainly help the force understand how to approach and help those with disabilities such as autism when they need to.
Anyway, here is our review of stories from the week, in case you missed any. Have a great weekend!