Ugly Sisters Draw Raffle

Cinderella panto cast

The cast of Cinderella help us draw our raffle winners

Cinderella and her Ugly Sisters helped us draw our winning Christmas Raffle tickets this year.

We recently held our  2014 Christmas Raffle draw at the Lyric Theatre in Carmarthen with the help of some special friends.

Charity mascot Sir E Bear joined some of the cast of Cinderella to draw the winning tickets, with the top prize winner receiving £5000.

Cerebra is a national charity for children with neurological conditions, helping them and their families through a combination of direct, ongoing support and funding vital research. The charity receives no government funding, relying entirely on the support of the public.

The raffle draw is an easy way to support the charity, with the chance of winning a great prize. If you would like tickets for the Summer 2015 Raffle contact us on 01267 242554 or

Our thanks go to the Mark Jermin Theatre Company for their help with the photo shoot.

Boxer Fights to Raise Money

Josh Heap

Josh Heap

The Box Rooms and members of the Strictfit Exercise group recently held a charity boxing match in Bury.

Representing Team Strictfit was Josh Heap, who used his participation in the event to raise money for Cerebra.

Our cause is very close to Josh’s heart. His partner’s son suffers with a severe brain injury, which was his motivation to use the event in order to raise funds for us.

Josh trained solidly for six weeks prior to the fight to make sure that he was in top condition and performed spectacularly on the day, having no problems winning the fight.

So far, Josh has raised £416 in sponsorship and Cerebra would like to say a huge thank you to him and everyone who was involved in organising the event.

Dorchester Halifax Branch Cycles to Raise Money

Charlie Lawson and the Halifax Dorchester team

Charlie Lawson and the Halifax Dorchester team

Charlie Lawson has completed a cyclathon to raise money for Cerebra.

On Friday 28th November Charlie Lawson from the Dorchester branch of the Halifax completed a sponsored cycle to raise funds for Cerebra. Although he be cycled from 9am to 5pm he didn’t cover a great distance as the ride took place on a stationary exercise cycle in the branch’s reception area.

Charlie raised funds for Cerebra in support of his colleague Chris Bennett, who is an Ambassador for us. Chris became involved with the charity after his son Elliott was born with Cerebral Palsy: “Myself and my wife Hannah are proud parents to Elliott. He was born 8 weeks prematurely and diagnosed with cerebral palsy at 8 months old. I found it very hard to come to terms with Elliott’s diagnosis but he is working so hard and making his own special journey in life. Cerebra have been very supportive to us and I am very proud to be a part of such an amazing charity.”

The local community got behind Charlie and he was visited by Cerebra Regional Officer Lilly Fahey and even the town crier!

So far, a fantastic £758.26 has been raised as a result of the event so Cerebra would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who helped.

Resources – December 2014

Our monthly roundup of links to resources of interest to our members.

Carers UK Discount
Carers UK have arranged a discount of 20% on a range of daily living aids from a high street pharmacy, until 31 December 2014.

Christmas themed activities
Ideas and resources for children and parents, including a prize draw (closing date:  17 December) to win a children’s book, (National Literacy Trust).

Help with fuel bills and keeping warm
A new factsheet, including information on benefits and grants, sources of advice, home improvements and how to avoid disconnection of energy supplies, (Contact a Family).

Early intervention for children with learning disabilities whose behaviours challenge
Recommendations and data from a project carried out by the Challenging Behaviour Foundation, describing what can be done for this group of children.

Babies and Wireless Radiation
Booklet about shielding unborn babies against possible effects from wireless radiation (e.g. from cellphones),  (Grassroots Environmental Education and Environmental Health Trust, New York).

How can new fathers get involved?
Tips for fathers wanting to help care for their babies, (Institute of Health Visiting).

“They still need to listen more”
A report about the rights and concerns of children with disabilities, with recommendations on addressing these concerns,  (Children’s Commissioner, England).

How three young people with disabilities deal with getting bullied (BBC).

Carer’s Rights Guides
Four guides to carers’ rights for 2014/15, one for each part of the UK (Carers UK).

The Puzzle Centre
Charity providing a nursery and outreach service for very young children on the autism spectrum.

“Wait and See” Advice
A recent article in SEN Magazine by the Principal of the Puzzle Centre highlights the prevalence of “wait and see” advice to parents of children who might have ASD, and what she believes this approach leads to (Autism:  rhetoric and reality, by Alexandra Stanyer.

Accessible Britain Challenge toolkits
for organisations and people in local communities to remove barriers to full participation by people with disabilities. (Office for Disability Issues et al.)

University Technology Colleges
List of open or nearly open UTCs (University Technology Colleges), with their locations and the subjects they will specialise in (Dept for Education).

GCSE, AS and A Levels
Timeline of changes to subjects that can be taken by children in England at GCSE, AS and A level between now and 2018.

Minimising the effects of additional learning needs: Part 4

The last in a four part series discussing parents’ common worries about education with special or additional needs.

Much is written about systems for identifying and meeting the educational needs of children with the most severe disabilities and learning difficulties, particularly at the moment information about the new system in England.  However, many more children have additional / special educational needs without being at the greatest / most complex level calling for a Statement, Education Health and Care Plan (new, in England) or Co-ordinated Support plan (in Scotland).  This is the final part in a series of four articles about the support for this larger group of children. Each article deals with a common worry parents have about their child’s education when they have special or additional needs.

You can read the other parts here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.

Q.  “Child X has Y condition, therefore we cannot expect much.”

A.  It is not logical to assume that a child cannot do things because of a defined disability or condition although there is no doubt that some conditions, particularly neurological ones, do make specific kinds of learning difficult and some can make it harder to prosper in typical school environments.  To presuppose that a child cannot reach a particular level of learning or qualification because of a diagnosis or difficulty is a more subtle form of labelling.

What the codes emphasise here is individualisation – “reasonable adjustments” might help a child with a disability to access learning and testing more easily, individualised attention or a more specialised environment might help them to overcome or find ways around barriers they face.  Only when all that is put into the equation, is it truly realistic to define what a child may or may not be able to achieve.  The codes contain many statements about this, for example in Wales, LEAs (Local Education Authorities) have a duty to publish their arrangements for “auditing, planning, monitoring and reviewing provision for children with SEN (generally and in relation to individual pupils)” (Welsh Assembly Government, 2004), and among the many references to individualisation is this about early years provision: “Monitoring of individual children’s progress throughout the early years is essential. Where a child appears not to be making progress either generally or in a specific aspect of learning, then it may be necessary to present different opportunities or use alternative approaches to learning. Ongoing difficulties may indicate the need for a level of help above that which is normally available for children in the particular early years setting.” (Section 4:9).

A potential pitfall, where there is a defined diagnosis or learning difficulty, is to look only at that and not at other factors that might be considered if there was no such definition.  For example, a child’s reaction to their experience of school, and their possible view of having to be there as an inconvenience, might come into the mix with a defined diagnosis etc. as well as without one.  Shakespeare’s “As you like it” describes the “whining schoolboy with his satchel and shining morning face, creeping like snail unwillingly to school”.  This could have something to do with the time he had to get up in the morning, but also some children still find school to be a pleasanter experience than others.  Looking at how this can be influenced may also unlock some enthusiasm and ability.

In the United States the term “accommodations” encompasses reasonable adjustments, differentiation of the curriculum, assistive technology, multisensory techniques, individualised learning measures etc.  An Internet search on “accommodations” with “education” will yield additional suggestions for supporting children with different learning issues.  For example, “A critical part of teaching and assessing students with disabilities, then, is providing them with accommodations that support learning and that support their ability to show what they know and can do.”  (Luke SD and Schwartz A, 2007-2010).


Luke S.D. and Schwartz A., Assessment and Accommodations (Evidence for Education, Volume 2, Issue 1, 2007, Resources updated October 2010, currently, moving at the end of September to

See also; Ideas that work: toolkit on teaching and assessing students with disabilities,  (US Office of Special Education Programs).  Some of the recommendations on teaching techniques for children with dyslexia, in Rose, J. 2009, Identifying and teaching children and young people with dyslexia and literacy difficulties, (DCSF Publications) could be useful for other SEN / AN issues as well.  One more out of the many resources containing practical ideas

Special educational needs code of practice for Wales (2004), (Welsh Assembly Government).

News – December 2014

Stack of newspapers

Stack of newspapers

Our monthly roundup of news, legislation and cautions.

Universal Credit and Your Family
A summary of the implications of Universal Credit for those with children as the benefit is fully rolled out. There is further information here: Information about how this can affect other benefits can also be found here:

Carers Allowance
You can now claim for carer’s allowance online. Further information here:

Transfer of 0 to 5 Children’s Public Health to Commissioning Local Authorities
Guidance for local authorities in England as they prepare to take on responsibility for this from September 2015.

Health and Work Service Launch
This December sees the planned launch of the “Health & Work Service” throughout Britain.  It is for employed people who have been absent from work due to long-term sickness, to provide a state-funded assessment, advice, signposting and case management.  New legislation is in the process of being put in place for it.  Possibly an item to add to a portfolio of transition-related information, also it may affect some parents.

New Standards for Care Providers
New fundamental standards for all care providers in England will come into force in April 2015. However, two regulations for NHS bodies that form part of these came into force on 27 November 2014:  Regulation 5, Fit and proper persons: directors; and Regulation 20, Duty of candour for NHS trusts, NHS foundation trusts and special health authorities.


All UK legislation may be seen at:  In each case, there are Explanatory Notes which provide a quick summary of the legislation concerned.

A series of regulations are being set in place, some in force from 1 December 2014 and some coming into force later, relating to parents and adoptive parents sharing parental leave and pay; 2014 No. 3050, The Shared Parental Leave Regulations 2014, and at the time of writing, other regulations include SI 2014/3051, /3052, /3053, /3054, /3091, /3092, /3093, /3095, /3096 and /3097.  The Dept for Business, Innovation and Skills have published information explaining how these new regulations will work,  In addition, the conditions for taking maternity and parental leave and returning to work afterwards are extended in 2014 No. 3221, The Maternity and Parental Leave etc. (Amendment) Regulations 2014.  2014 No. 3206, The Paternity and Adoption Leave (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2014 alter the conditions for taking adoption leave, in this case not until 5 April 2015.

2014 No. 3117, The Jobseeker’s Allowance (18-21 Work Skills Pilot Scheme) Regulations 2014.  From 26 November 2014, a pilot scheme to assist selected 18-21 year olds to gain workplace skills.

2014 No. 3197, The Childcare (Provision of Information About Young Children) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2014.  Details of the information that childminder agencies may be required to provide to authorities, from 1 January 2015.

2014 No. 3216, The Education (Provision of Full-Time Education for Excluded Pupils) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2014.  From 5 January 2015, a change to previous regulations so as to count consecutive periods of exclusion from school as one continuous period, which must trigger a suitable full-time education for the child from the sixth day of exclusion.

News – July 2014

Stack of newspapers

Stack of newspapers

A round up of recent news, guidance and legislation.

Teenagers with complex health needs lack support as they approach adulthood
The Care Quality Commission have reviewed the way teenagers with complex health needs are supported in their transition to adult health services, and aim to improve the process. They invite service users to share their experiences.

Delivering better oral health: an evidence-based toolkit for prevention
Delivering Better Oral Health is an evidence based toolkit to support dental teams in improving their patient’s oral and general health. (Public Health England).

Update to charging arrangements for adult social care services
Updated guidance for local authorities on charging for adult social care services, (Department of Health, England).

Learner Travel (Wales) Measure 2008
New guidance on school travel for Wales, (Welsh Government).

New NICE guidance: MTG18
The MAGEC system for spinal lengthening in children with scoliosis.

Standards for school food in England
Departmental advice on the standards for planning and providing food in schools.

National plans or strategies for rare diseases
The EU (European Union) publish updates on member countries’ national plans or strategies for rare diseases. The most recent one was launched in Dublin, Ireland on 3 July.

New legislation

2014 No. 192, The Registration of Social Workers and Social Service Workers in Care Services (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2014, from 30 June 2014. Extends registration requirements to certain supervisors in care at home services and housing support services.

2014 No. 1661 (C. 69), The Welfare Reform Act 2012 (Commencement No. 9, 11, 13, 14, 16 and 17 and Transitional and Transitory Provisions (Amendment)) Order 2014, from 30 June onwards. Brings into force more of the provisions for Universal Credit and other benefits. Also amends a number of conditions relating to claiming benefits such as ESA and JSA.


A note about the Welfare Reform Act
Regulations and statutory arrangements related to this Act are gradually coming into place, some of them at different speeds around the country. If you need to check what the benefits situation is in your own region and under your circumstances, it is complex to trace where things are up to.

Rather than updating the information here with every piece of supplementary legislation relating to this Act in every location (since the Act was passed in 2012, over 200 further pieces of legislation have affected it), local welfare rights services can provide useful information on the practical outcome of the legislation. An example is Newcastle’s website, which keeps track of changes that may affect entitlements.

It is also possible to check what currently applies to you using the Turn2Us website, or finding information about benefits at, and/or if necessary, phoning a charity with a specialist welfare helpline (e.g. the Contact a Family personalised benefits service) or attending a Citizens Advice or similar office locally.