Monday, 15 May 2017

History - Learning resources.

This is the first of a series of Blog Posts based on traditional School Subjects. The goal is simply to help show those new to Home Education what a wonderful range of FREE learning resources are available for people to use. There is no intent whatsoever to suggest that you should be using these resources, or that you should follow the National Curriculum etc. The nicest part about Home Education is the freedom of choice it affords us to tailor our education provision to meet both the needs and interests of the child.

FREE - One Year out of the Box courses.
KS1/KS2 Primary History Project - a nice range of resources and lesson plans for KS2 ability level learners. Most people will probably find they want to dip in and out of this for the first few years of Home Education before moving on to one of the courses listed below as their child reaches Year 5/6 ability level.

Upper KS2/Lower KS3 Ability
Unit studies on History. Includes lesson plans, videos. upper KS2/lower KS3 Ability level. Six Units in total taking you from the Renaissance to Nationalism & Imperialism.  Would nicely cover an academic year if you chose to use it in that way if you allowed 6-8 weeks per unit.
Another choice for use as a one Year World History Course is here.  Contains unit guides, printable lesson notes, text book pages and suggested activities.

Pre-GCSE One year Course.

Upper KS3 Ability Level and wanting something that you could use to progress into an IGCSE course?  The Khan Academy World History Course is a wonderful foundation upon which to build upon.

The Big History Project. The vast range of resources available here can be tweaked to create your own one year course plan that is tailor made for your child.

General Resources for all Ages.

The History of the World in 2 hours. Wonderful Video Documentary for wet afternoons.

How far back in time could you go and still understand English? 3 minute video. Ideal for injecting some fun into a learning break.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art digitalized over 375 000 works of art from their collections, and made the images available for online viewing. You can filter when searching, which means if you are studying Ancient Greece, or Asian Art, you can filter to search for just that.…/digi…/2017/open-access-at-the-met

Time Maps - a really handy resource to supplement World history courses showing what was happening around the World and when

General Resources for KS3 -for those children with particular passions or interests. 

Literacy - writing Historical diary entries based on real journal entries.
UK Years 7-9  The Art of History Course from Scholastic. Covers fashion, music and art for creative types.
Black History Month - 45 activities for Home Educators here

The Electric Telegraph is one of the most important inventions in the history of science ! It directly led the way to the development of all digital communications including computers, fax, the internet, email, and text messaging. A project for tecnhical types to cover as they learn about the early 20th century. It's perhaps worth noting here for our keen techy kiddos that the RAF cadets does a BTEC in Radio Comms.

Author - Steph Shobiye. 

Monday, 13 February 2017

How to bake a cake - by Dawn Baxendale.

I've been home educating for over 10 years and 3 out of 4 of my children have never been to a school for one single day of their lives. Over the years one repeated theme crops up asked by many in the same way....How do I teach them everything - English maths, science, art, etc. They are flabbergasted and astonished when I simply reply "Bake a cake" - "What" and then I show them this picture. I explain that baking a cake is very pleasurable for most people and is a delightful activity to be shared with all the family....but when I explain, do it for the love of doing it then strip out the subjects that you can from the activity rather than trying to cram in many seemingly unrelated activities in to you day, your week or even your year. This is a philosophy through all activities as a home educator and perhaps where we differ most from the school model - we teach and support in harmony each element of living rather than teach them in isolation and hope we can join them up as adults.
Let your imagination run wild - this is just the starter for ten.
I even managed at cooking club to become on first name terms with the local fire brigade...a lesson in itself and the uses of a stone floor 😉

Dawn Baxendale.

#RAK2017 #CyrmuALN.

Monday, 9 January 2017


NEWLY updated Elective Home Education Guidelines published 9.01.2017

Direct link to the guidelines on the Welsh Government Website.

Common Terminology & the Law in Wales

SEN Special Educational Needs. With the advent of the Additional Learning Needs Bill the phrase Special  Educational Needs has been superseded for all but the still current SEN CoP.  Thus instead of SEN departments we now hear the term ALN department. In schools the job title SENCO is currently being replaced by ALNCO (Additional Learning Needs Coordinator).

ALN - Additional Learning Needs. You'll hear this phrase used more and more as local authorities begin to prepare for the anticipated rollout of new legislation in 2018. The two phrases should be considered interchangeable during this transition phase.

Current SEN Code of practice - The SEN CoP This document should be considered every parent/carer and education professionals main reference as it clearly outlines what the Welsh Government considers to be best practice. 

EHE - Self-funded programmes are called EHE (Elective Home Education). No formal monitoring of provision, but an annual meeting outside the home is now expected. Parents are expected to show willingness to engage with their Local Authority on an annual basis.  Parents who are funding their child's education themselves already know how well their children are progressing. The parents assume full legal and fiscal responsibility for the education a child receives. Many parents who feel their children have been failed by the system, resent attempts to monitor them by that same system. Elective Home Education Government guidance here.  We keep a list of local EHE groups in our online support group for newcomers to enable newcomers to Home Education to be able to go and meet their local group/s.

- LA funded home programmes are commonly referred to as EOTAS (Education Other Than ASchool) in official documentation. The Local authority is responsible for the Education be provided. This group of pupils includes those in Hospital schools & PRU's as well as those receiving Home Tuition from LA tutors,  ABA or II programmes in the Home environment. Monitoring of the LA funded provision is right and proper to ensure taxpayers money is spent correctly. Welsh Government guidance here. In many areas these services are under threat due to funding cuts. 

It is incredibly important for ALL parents of children to be aware of the very clear difference in status between EHE & EOTAS, both in terms of funding expectations, and their own duties under the law.  

FORCED Home Educators - This is a grey area which covers children who are not currently in the school environment for a variety of reasons from bullying to illness and lack of support at school for special needs. Legally children in this group may fall into either of the two categories listed above. This group has become and increasing phenomenon in recent years as sadly cuts to NHS & Education services have begun to bite. The shortage of specialist teaching facilities is a contributory factor, as is the overload on child mental health services at present.  It is in everyone's interest to ensure that this growth is halted. This term is used a lot in Home Education support circles but we'd really rather not have to!

is a term often used to refer to illegal exclusion of ALN pupils and if this happens to your child we'll happily put you in touch with organisations that can help. 

FLEXI - schoolers. There are children who spend part of their week in school and part of it being educated at Home. Permission to do this is at the discretion of the individual Head Teacher so arrangements vary, and the child remains on the school roll.

Access to Education and Support for Children and Young People with Medical NeedsUseful for parents trying to avoid joining the ranks of forced home

Social Services and Wellbeing Act (Wales) 2014 which replaces part III of the existing Children's Act from April 2016.  This is a crucial change of approach from "welfare" to "well-being" & now covers whole of life from birth to old age. Many parents will first notice the implementation of this act via the new "person centred planning" approach being rolled out to many Local Authorities for transition etc.

Estyn - The Inspectorate for Education and Training in Wales. 

Common Acyronyms

ADHD: attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
ALN: additional learning needs
ASD/C: Autistic Spectrum Disorders/Conditions, includes Asperger’s Syndrome
ATR: additional teacher resource
BESD, ESBD or SEBD: Behaviour, Emotional and Social Difficulties
CoP: Code of Practice
DCD: developmental coordination disorder
HI: hearing impairment
MSI: multi-sensory impairment
MLD: profound and multiple learning difficulties
SpLD: specific learning difficulties, including dyslexia
VI: visual impairment 

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Article by Steph Shobiye


Thursday, 10 November 2016

November 2016 - News

Info from Welsh government
Sennedd Debate to include Home Ed - Tuesday 14th November

An opportunity to connect with the First Minister for Wales. 
Thursday 17th November. You must prebook your ticket here.
Deadline approaching for people to claim for their care People who believe their care should have been funded by the NHS, are being encouraged by the Welsh Government to register their intent to make a claim.
Together for Mental Health: Delivery plan: 2016-19 Promoting better mental wellbeing and preventing mental health problems. Together for Mental Health was published in 2012. It is our 10-year strategy for improving mental health and wellbeing and improving the care and treatment of people using mental health services their carers and their families.  The 2016-19 delivery plan is the second of three plans which sets out the actions to ensure  the strategy is implemented.
Some of the events our group members will be attending this month:-

“Protecting children, enforcing their rights” Free public lecture by Lord Kerr

17th Nov @ Swansea Uni, Richard Price Lecture Theatre, 6.30pm

All Wales Carers Assembly 2016
Old Debating Chamber, National Assembly for Wales, Ty Hywel
To mark this year’s Carers Rights Day
Friday 18 November 2016

Schools Exclusion Training with Snap Cymru 22/23rd November Swansea

Lots more events and training around Wales for members are listed as always in our facebook group  . If you are a parent/carer of a young person educated outside school in Wales do join us!

Other News from around WalesThe Into Film Festival is running this month. An opportunity to see a wide variety of free cinema screenings all over Wales. Don't forget to take a look at the free learning resources to accompany the films available on the Into Film website. To book click here.

Contact A Family Cymru
Nominate your unsung heroes in the first ever Contact a Family Awards
We want your nominations for our first ever Contact a Family Awards to help us shout about and celebrate the countless things UK families do when caring for a disabled child. You can help shine a well-deserved spotlight on families with disabled children by nominating friends, family members or yourself in one or more of the six Contact a Family Award categories by 31 October.
Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014. Are these new rights making life better for you?
When the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 came into force on 6 April 2016, it brought with it important new rights for carers in Wales. Are these new rights making life better for you? Carers UK want carers across Wales to help them Track the Act so they can see what’s making a difference to your life, and what more needs to be done. Follow the link to the short survey and tell us about your experiences:
Family events in Wales are moving on up (and out)
Contact a Family Cymru has a great history of providing social events for families in Wales with the aim to bringing families together to share experiences and the wealth of knowledge that they hold. We have been able to build successful partnerships with many of the cinemas in Wales and their independent umbrella organisation, Film Hub Cymru. We are now going to be working with Film Hub Cymru and some of the cinemas in Wales to advise and help them run a programme of disability family friendly film shows during 2016 and 2017. Watch out for further details.
In August this year we invited families to share their views on events and the majority were really interested in attending outdoor events – going on walks and rides, joining in nature activities and taking part in camp-craft games. We have listened to this interest and recently ran some successful pilot outdoor events. We have also applied to BBC Children in Need for funding to run a programme of these outdoor events from 2017 onwards. So keep your fingers crossed for that and get those wellies at the ready! For regular updates, like our Facebook page go to our website

National Autistic Society As part of our free autism education resources project, we asked autism professionals for tips on supporting young people as they move to a new school or start school for the first time.If you're not signed up to receive MyWorld already, which provides free fortnightly resources for education professionals, you can do so here.

Moving Forward: A flexible pathway to employment The Moving Forward project team give an insight into how their project supports young autistic people into employment, further education or volunteering opportunities.

The diagnosis of a child’s vision impairment can turn a family’s world upside down. Dealing with the emotions and many questions posed by what the future may hold can be a difficult time.
Check out Starting Point which signpost families to resources and professionals that can help with the first steps in accepting their child’s diagnosis.

Afasic Cymru parent support group in Swansea up and running!  We are hoping to hold a group every two months at the Swansea Carers Centre in Mansel St, Swansea, families are welcome from any area.  I’ve attached a poster about the next group on Thursday 3rd November, 10am – 12pm and would be very grateful if you could share it with anyone who might be interested.  The November group is to be a normal coffee morning drop in session but the one that is organised for Thursday 1st December is going to be a workshop for parents/carers run by Richard formerly from Contact a Family, topic to be decided.

Swansea Carers Centre Self-Advocacy for Carers 50+ Swansea Carers Centre will be delivering self-advocacy training in the next couple of months to help carers in Swansea to get their voices heard. They will be running during October and November and will be an opportunity for carers to learn about communicating effectively, making a complaint, influencing and negotiating, carers rights, learning about emotions, being assertive and stress control.

- Intro to Mindfulness [Wed, 19 October / Wed, 23 November]
- Community Policing & You [Mon.24 October]
Road to Resilience [Thu, 27 October]
Be Assertive! Be Confident! 4 Weeks [Starts Thu, 3 November]
Help Me to Be Heard! Dealing with Professionals 4 Weeks [Starts Mon, 7 November]
- Safeguarding [Tue, 8 November]
Stand & Deliver (with Confidence) [Thu, 29 November]
Priority will be given to carers who are aged 50 and over, but we will open it to other carers if spaces are still available on a  course. So if you are interested in our Self-advocacy training programme, just ring us on 01792 653344 or
And also from Swansea Carers centre
Swansea Young Adult Carers Project. Most young carers look after parents or care for siblings and do extra jobs around the house such as cooking, cleaning and help move around the home. Young carers also give the person who they are caring for emotional and physical support.
Young carers often don’t know they are carers as they start support from an early age. Others can become a carer overnight. Many young carers are happy with their caring role, other feel like they need extra support. How can we help? Swansea Young Adult Carers Project will provide one to one support with a young person. On the third Thursday of every month we hold a drop in youth club between 6:00 -8:30pm at EYST St Helens Road Swansea. Click here for details


Foundation Phase - updated information for Flexi-schoolersThe statutory curriculum for all 3 to 7 year olds in Wales, in both maintained and non-maintained settings.It encourages children to be creative, imaginative and makes learning more enjoyable and more effective. Children will be given opportunities to explore the world around them and understand how things work by taking part in practical activities relevant to their developmental stage. They will be challenged through practical activities and develop their thinking with open-ended questions. Children will be encouraged to explore concepts and share ideas for solving problems. The Foundation Phase has 7 areas of learning which are delivered through practical activities and active learning experiences both indoors and outdoors. The areas of learning are:

·        personal and social development, well-being and cultural diversity
·        language, literacy and communication skills
·        mathematical development
·        Welsh language development
·        knowledge and understanding of the world
·        physical development
·        creative development.

Practitioner guidance Guidance and training materials (external link) to help deliver the Foundation Phase are available on Learning Wales.

Flying Start Flying Start is part of our early years programme for families with children under 4 years of age living in disadvantaged areas of Wales. Flying Start is one of our top priorities in our Tackling Poverty Agenda. We are committed to doubling the number of children and their families benefiting from the Flying Start Programme from 18,000 to 36,000 by the end of this Assembly’s term in 2016. In 2014-15, 37,260 children benefited from and  were in receipt of Flying Start services in Wales at any time, exceeding the expected numbers.  What Flying Start means in practice There are 4 key elements to Flying Start. Free quality, part-time childcare for 2-3 year olds Flying Start provides quality childcare which is offered to parents of all eligible 2-3 year olds for 2 and a half hours a day, 5 days a week for 39 weeks. In addition, there should be at least 15 sessions of provision for the family during the school holidays. This should be linked to foundation phase entry into schools to ensure a seamless transition between the two offers with no gaps in provision. An enhanced Health Visiting service; Access to Parenting Programmes; Speech, Language and Communication; Outreach
Scope is a charity that exists to make this country a place where disabled people have the same opportunities as everyone else. The site has information for parent/carers and resources such as childrens books Also online support for young carers

Contact a Family policy head supports launch of Premier League disability programme  an initiative that aims to inspire disabled people through sport.The three-year programme will see the organisations provide funding to Premier League clubs to create more opportunities for disabled people across England and Wales to get into sport. The initiative was launched at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in East London at an event hosted by the broadcaster Clare Balding. Our research into play and leisure found that disabled children often face significant barriers to leisure activities, including lack of provision, poor access and negative attitudes. Our report Fair play for disabled children: Bevan Foundation report, 2010 [PDF] calls for a rights-based approach and an increase in funding to improve accessibility for disabled children.If you're like more advice around your child's rights to play and leisure and where to get information about leisure activites, download our guideHolidays, play and leisure [PDF].

Contact a Family Updated Carer’s Allowance factsheet  Our Carer's Allowance summary factsheet [PDF] includes all the facts about who is entitled to this benefit and how you claim it.  You can also take a look at our podcast mini-series which answers some of the most frequently asked questions about Carers Allowance we hear from callers to our helpline. If you ever wondered who qualifies for Carers Allowance, whether you’d be better off financially by claiming it or how your earnings or savings will affect your claim, then this podcast is for you.
SNAP Cymru provides information, advice and support for parents, children and young people who have, or may have, special educational needs or disabilities.Our advice is impartial, confidential and free and is provided through our helpline and specialist casework service.

CBeebies has lots of help and resources for children with additional needs incuding Dyspraxia, Autism, visual impairment, learning disabilities, hearing impairment.

MindEd offers free, completely open access, online education in over 300 topics. Our e-learning is applicable to a wide range of learners across the health, social care, education, criminal justice and community settings.
Our aim is to provide simple, clear guidance on children and young people's mental health, wellbeing and development to any adult working with children, young people and families, to help them support the development of young healthy minds. We have created bite sized chunks of 'e-learning' that help adults to support wellbeing and identify, understand and support children and young people with mental health issues.

A serving police officer has written about what it's like to be autistic and working in the police force. Karl McDonald also talks about the National Police Autism Association, an independent body supporting UK police officers and staff who are living with autism spectrum conditions. As well as offering support, the association promotes better understanding of neurodiversity within the police service.

CEREBRA The Difficult Box for those of you who attend the recent Swansea Carers event when Luke Clements spoke he mentioned a website under construction which looked at current issues in education health and social care for families of disabled children and young people

Carers Wales We're here to make life better for carers. Working as part of Carers UK:

  • we give expert advice, information and support
  • we connect carers so no-one has to care alone
  • we campaign together for lasting change
  • we innovate to find new ways to reach and support carers.

Assessments: A guide to getting an assessment in Wales from April 2016 Many carers find it easier to continue in their caring role if they can get some help. The Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 came into force on 6 April 2016. The Act repeals the majority of previous community care legislation and intends to transform the way that social services are delivered in Wales.  For the first time, carers will have the same rights as those they care for. The Act introduces a new broader definition of a carer, a duty on local authorities to offer carers their own needs assessment as well as a legal duty to meet the eligible needs of carers following assessment.

Thursday, 29 September 2016

All systems GO! Wrexham Austim Conference count down.

Home Educators will be out in force at the First North Wales Annual Autism Conference. Organised by one of our group members, and with an ex- Home Educated Young Adult as a key speaker. We are also really pleased to see Sensory Issues, and The Additional Learning Needs code listed as workshop topics.

Mark Isherwood AM, chair of the cross party autism group, will be chairing the event; NAS Cymru will be attending to give an update on the cross party autism group and autism development in the National Assembly for Wales and MP David Hanson will be attending to give an update from Westminster.The North Wales Annual Autism Conference will be held at the Catrin Finch Centre, Wrexham Glyndwr University on Friday, October 7 from 8.30am-5pm.

To obtain your ticket (they are selling fast!) Please click here

Press Release for the event is here

It's all systems GO elsewhere too ! 

We've been having face to face conversations/meetings ( play provision/ scrutiny meetings/ Gower College/3rd Sector Steering groups/Health groups/coffee mornings to name a few)emails etc, challenging and raising positive awareness around HE and additional learning needs. Various members have been putting a lot of work in on this front right, across Wales, and it's time to give them a MASSIVE round of praise: )
THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!
Next week we'll be in Swansea, Cardiff and Wrexham flying the flag for HE. If you have a child with Autism, we hope to see you for a chat at the Wrexham Autism conference 
2016/17 Focus
We are actively be working to obtain funding and co-production opportunities with other organisations to improve the life chances of our children and Young people in these priority areas over the coming year.
1. - Exam & Qualifications Access & funding.
There are numerous barriers to obtaining recognised qualifications for our young people. These range from organising exam access arrangements, cost to private candidates and geographical distance to exam centres.
Increase the number of available exam access centres in Wales for iGCSE/A LEVEL candidates that will accept candidates with additional Learning Needs.
Explore and make available to Young people a range of alternative qualifications such as Arts Award, ECDL & ASDAN.
2. Learning Resources.
3. Access to work and training opportunities for Home Educated Young people.
4. The Additional Learning Needs Bill!
If you can help us with any of the above right across Wales shout out!!!!!!

Useful Info from across Wales 

Carers Wales We're here to make life better for carers. Working as part of Carers UK:

  • we give expert advice, information and support
  • we connect carers so no-one has to care alone
  • we campaign together for lasting change
  • we innovate to find new ways to reach and support carers.

Assessments: A guide to getting an assessment in Wales from April 2016 Many carers find it easier to continue in their caring role if they can get some help. The Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 came into force on 6 April 2016. The Act repeals the majority of previous community care legislation and intends to transform the way that social services are delivered in Wales.  For the first time, carers will have the same rights as those they care for. The Act introduces a new broader definition of a carer, a duty on local authorities to offer carers their own needs assessment as well as a legal duty to meet the eligible needs of carers following assessment.

Dimensions screenings ODEON’s next autism friendly film screening is
Trolls on Sunday 30th October at 11:30am. ODEON are changing their autism friendly screenings start time
It is expected, from November, that ODEON will change their screening time from 11:30am to 10:15am. We will send another enewsletter out once the change has been confirmed, please check our website for updates.
Vue's October autism friendly film screening is Ice Age: Collision Course on Sunday 30th October at 10:15am.
Vue host an autism friendly cinema screening on the last Sunday of every month at 10:15am, from £1.99. Vue have changed their autism friendly screenings start time From now on Vue's screenings will start at 10:15am.