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.

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

September News Round Up

Priorities for Children, Young People and Education Committee - consultation responses

EXAM CENTRES - we were pleased to publish a new list of Welsh exam centres this month. New centres have been added to the existing list, in new locations. This hopefully helps to reduce one key barrier to successful outcomes for our children. Several have been working hard to increase provision for candidates with additional learning needs. 
 For the list please click here

We now also have a private professional on board who is able to do the psychometric
 testing needed by some candidates. We have negotiated that this be done at a reasonable cost for those those who need it for their form 8, and have had no success with their LA EP service. 
Join and post in our Face Book group if you are a parent needing help with this. 

We are continuing to work on identifying new exam centres across Wales, and to ensure they offer equality of access whenever possible. We are also trying hard to ensure that these be competitively priced. Work in this area in ongoing, and we welcome all support in our endeavour to ensure that no child is left unable to obtain vital qualifications for reasons of cost or disability.  If you are able to help please get in touch with

Swansea leads the way in reducing the numbers of forced home educators with ALN by working to provide more specialist teaching facilities for children on the Autistic spectrum. News story here . This is a very welcome development, and one that we hope other councils across Wales will take note of. 

CALL FOR NEW TEACHERS TO LEARN ABOUT SLCN SEN is now going to be included as part of initial teacher training, and SLCN has been listed. There is a risk that it gets swallowed by ASD, so a petition has been started online. This petition is entitled ‘For every new teacher to learn about Speech, Language and Communication Needs’. The aim of the petition is to urge the Government to include Speech, Language and Communication Needs (SLCN) as part of any initial teacher training package. All trainee teachers should learn about SLCN so that they are able to adapt their teaching strategies and fully support their students to succeed and achieve, Call for new teachers to learn about Speech, Language and Communication Needs.

Our Special Assessment Clinic provides eye care for patients who cannot communicate in the usual way. Cardiff.
This includes infants and young children, children with special needs and adults with intellectual disability. We work closely with the educational services to provide guidance on visual abilities and needs for children with any form of visual impairment, and also with the Low Vision Clinic to advise on or supply magnification aids when appropriate.
We are highly experienced in providing eye care for children and adults with all levels of ability. You do not need to be able to read or to communicate well to have a full eye examination.
We also operate as a teaching clinic for student optometrists.
We carry out research to develop further ways of assessing vision in special needs patients, and to study the aetiology and effects of vision defects in people with disabilities.
Our emphasis is always on communication, by written and verbal reports, so that parents, careers and educators are made fully aware of the patient's visual abilities and difficulties, and the ways in which their particular problems can be addressed.

Mencap WISE
 is available to everyone in Wales, whether you are a person with a learning a learning disability, a family member or a friend. We can give you the information you need to understand the rights of people with a learning disability and to support them to access services or challenge decisions. Call 0808 8000 300  or complete our contact form to get in touch

Contact A Family Your stories Hearing from other parents can be a huge source of support for families caring for a disabled child. One of the best ways parents with disabled children learn is from each other. And we're always looking for more stories we can share to help raise awareness of the lives of families with disabled children. If you would like to know more please email or call the team on 020 7608 8741.

NAS Meeting the educational needs of pupils with PDA In this article Ruth Fidler, an Education Consultant and author specialising in pathological demand avoidance (PDA) and complex autism, explores some of the difficulties facing pupils with PDA, and how staff can best approach them.

Young Wales Annual Summer Questionnaire 2016 Welcome to the first Young Wales annual summer questionnaire. Each Year Young Wales will publish a questionnaire, developed by our Young Wales Project Board, drawing on the UN Committee on the Rights of the Concluding Observations published in 2016. The evidence we gather from the questionnaire will be used to inform the work of Young Wales and contribute to evidence submitted to future UNCRC calls for evidence. The closing date for responses is 14 October 2016. The questionnaire is available at
The ‘All Wales Standards for Accessible Communication and Information for People with Sensory Loss’  People with sensory loss should be asked to describe their communication needs when they register with a new GP or primary healthcare service.  Arrangements should also be made to gather this information for existing patients.  This should describe a patient’s individual communication needs in a practical way ...’
 ‘As part of the referral process from primary to secondary care the communication needs of people with sensory loss should be identified and there should be arrangements in place to ensure they experience effective communication when they visit the hospital’.
 The Welsh Government is committed to tackling the barriers faced by the sensory loss community when accessing healthcare and to this end, are working jointly with colleagues from all Health Boards and NHS Trusts, the NHS Wales Informatics Service (NWIS) and the NHS CEHR on a national project to deliver an ‘Information Standard’ for NHS Wales. We need the involvement and support of individuals from the sensory loss community to help us ensure that we achieve an Information Standard that works for everyone.  We would like to create a Reference Group who we can work with to inform and develop the Standard. Public Health Wales is looking for people to give advice on how GPs and other health services in Wales should collect information on patient communication needs and ensure these needs are met. Do you (or does someone you know) fancy joining this group to have your say and make a difference? You can find out more and fill in an application form here

CALL FOR NEW TEACHERS TO LEARN ABOUT SLCN SEN is now going to be included as part of initial teacher training, and SLCN has been listed. There is a risk that it gets swallowed by ASD, so a petition has been started online. This petition is entitled ‘For every new teacher to learn about Speech, Language and Communication Needs’. The aim of the petition is to urge the Government to include Speech, Language and Communication Needs (SLCN) as part of any initial teacher training package. All trainee teachers should learn about SLCN so that they are able to adapt their teaching strategies and fully support their students to succeed and achieve

Cerebra Two of our parent guides have been Highly Commended at the 2016 British Medical Association (BMA) Patient Information Awards. We were delighted to receive the awards for our Parent Guides on ‘Returning to School: A teacher’s guide for pupils with brain tumours, during and after treatment’ and ‘Anxiety: A Guide for Parents’ at a ceremony on 12th September.
Cerebra We are asking for young people to write about their experience of growing up with and living with a disability to help us challenge negative perceptions and promote a wider understanding of different conditions. In this article sixteen year old Sallie tells us her story of living with cerebral palsy (CP).
and also from Cerebra
Cerebra Cardiff University Family Fun Run Saturday 1st October Time: 1.25pm Distance: 2.4km
Route: 2 laps around the Cardiff Civic Centre, starting outside Cardiff City Hall. Perfectly suited to all ages, there’s no pressure to record fast times or even run all the way round. Instead, dig out your best fancy dress, drag along the rest of your family and friends and enjoy the experience. There are no age limits for the race, but children under eight must be accompanied by an adult, and unaccompanied children must be brought to the start and met at the fun run exit.
 Cardiff University Toddler Dash Saturday 1st October  Time: 12.15pm Distance: 100m 2015 saw the first ever Cardiff University/Cardiff Half Marathon Toddler Dash. It involved a 100m ‘dash’ on a fun course in front of Cardiff’s City Hall, aimed at children aged three and under. It’s back for 2016 so get involved!

A template Home Education card to print out and laminate at home for those whose children may be uncomfortable at being questioned by supermarket cashiers

Saturday, 17 September 2016

Roald Dahl Resources

Roald Dahl was born in Cardiff 100 years ago.
Our Capital is being  transformed 'by Roald Dahl' this weekend!


Links to useful learning resources 

Age Appropriate Book List (US grade 2 is UK grade 1) 

Lesson plans to help you teach the stories of his best known titles. 

The Enormous Crocodile  - teaching ideas

The BFG - lesson plans for ages 5-11. HUGE workbook

Guided reading and discussion resource for Charlie and the Chocolate factory 

The Witches - Activity booklet

The Witches - another resource pack here!

Revolting Rhyming Cartoons - I love these :)  Video resource.
Matilda - Penguin teachers notes , and another learning resource for you here

Little Red Riding Hood - Poetry and active listening exercise 

November 2016 - Into Film Festival. 

There are FREE cinema screenings across the UK for Home Educators. Please note that if you book and are a no show without following the correct cancellation procedures there WILL be a charge made! This is to stop abuse of a wonderful opportunity for Home Educators. Autsim friendly screenings are available, as are venues with disability access but it's a good idea to book in good time for these.

A wonderful FREE opportunity to go see a Roald Dahl Film on the big screen in order to help visual and multi-sensory learners bring his stories to life. Learning resources are provided on the website for you to download and use.

Link to take you to all Dahl Film Events and Resources 

 "Matilda" is our top pick. This film covers the topic of bullying, which is sadly why some children become home educated. What better way to help a child heal than a nice trip to the pictures together?

Link to downloadable learning resource from the IntoFilm team for Matilda so you can see for yourself if you think it may be helpful for your child in advance.

We've also spotted Dahl films on amazon prime, if you are an existing subscriber, and audio books on sale at the Book People this month. Both film and audio can be very help for encouraging literacy for our reluctant/struggling readers.

Do please add to the comments section of this blog if you stumble across any more Dahl resources you think other families may enjoy using!

Saturday, 10 September 2016

Exam Centres

South Wales

  • Monmouth - Home Ed Partners
GCSEs, with controlled assessments, and IGCSEs. Cost of sitting an IGCSE is approx. £100 per subject (exam fee plus invigilation of £20 per hour).Edexcel and WJEC. Waiting to hear if they can use AQA (as of May 2016 they are not using AQA as AQA
require a fee of £900 to register and this cannot be recouped from the small number of students that use this center) Rosemary, who runs it, is very pro-HE and will look at all sorts of ideas to see if they can
be accommodated. The plan is to add things like ECDL and BETECs if it can be done.Courses to lead up to exams are run for regular attenders and distance learners.Candidates can be entered as internal rather than external but would mean
they would need to attend some study sessions and not be registered at another centre.
This does, however, open up the chance of GCSEs which are not normally available to
private candidates e.g. Food Tech and Child Development Pembrokeshire College – Haverfordwest Private Candidates for GCSE iGCSE A-level exams including the new Science Practical Endorsement Workshops (5 days) including Access Arrangements + Examination SupportExam fees of £60 per paper for iGCSEs, GCSEs, A-levels. Cover all examination boards AQA, Edexcel, OCR, WJEC, Cambridge International. Online “self-paced study” courses for iGCSE and A-levels in most subjects with support
of a dedicated course tutor, examination preparation and UCAS application support if required. Online “Live School” courses for iGCSE and A-level available in most subjects including
A-level Computer Science with support of a dedicated course tutor, examination
preparation and UCAS application support if required.Our experience has been of
homework marked and returned within 3-4 hours for A-Level Physics and Maths. Another very Pro-HE centre and good at helping with access arrangements. Contact: Matthew Norman – 01437 753 191 * Swansea sixth form - £150 per GCSE * St Claire's, Porthcawl - various prices - one off annual admin fee of £50 and
invigilator cost per hour andexam cost of approx £50. * 3A Tutors Bristol £150 per GCSE - can be useful for MFL and computer science IGCSE. * Bridgend College - Approx about £75 per GCSE - best to check with exam officer. AQA, IGCSE EDEXCEL, WJEC.
  • West Monmouth School - Pontypool
External candidates can sit WJEC, AQA and Edexcel. They have previously used OCR
and City and Guilds and still are able to offer exams through these boards.The price of
exams vary with different board and level of exam. They range from £7.60 up to £28.70.Contact person is Soosie Watson at 01495 762080.

Central Wales

Interhigh - this was approved as an independent exam centre earlier this year, so this
years entrants will be the pioneers for the Home Education Community at this centre.
It’ll be interesting to see how responsive they are to our needs. IGSE and A Level mostly EdExcel Board. School Office InterHigh Education Lewis Parry House Elvicta Estate Crickhowell NP8 1DFTel. 44 (0)1873 813900 Fax. 44 (0)8709 127314 Email.
  • Newtown - Coleg Powys
Do IGCSEs at least. Very accommodating.

North Wales

  • Moreton School, The Howells in Denbigh and Ellesmere College don't take external candidates.

  • Ruthin School, Ruthin. Take a small number of IGCSE candidates yearly and happy to accommodate various papers. Check A levels. Apply early.
  • The Marches does not accept external candidates.
  • Coleg Cambria, Wrexham, accept external students as long as exams are self contained and do not require a controlled assessment or coursework etc. Although I was only enquiring about the Wrexham college, I see no reason as to why they wouldn't offer it at their other colleges.
  • Oswestry - Oswestry School
Doesn't accept external candidates as a rule.
  • Conway - Conway Education Centre
Do at least IGCSE Eng Lang spec A

General Information about Exams.

Please note sourcing and updating exam centres that accept private candidates is an ongoing exercise for the Home Education Community across the UK. If you can’t find a centre for the subject and board you would like please take a look here:-

The exams wiki is maintained by home educators from all over the UK and is very useful. You'll find information on IGCSE's, A levels and alternative qualifications such as BTECs.
Users have commented on the various Specs available, and you'll find updates on the timetable for the new English IGCSE and GCSE implementations.
If you find a new exam centre please email us at so we can update the file.

An explanation of access arrangements for the most commonly used exam boards can be found here:-
Please ensure you make any access arrangements well ahead of time. Article written by Steph Shobiye #CymruALN

Thursday, 1 September 2016

Starting Home Ed in KS3? Structured Approach Quick Start Guide.

Please don't go spending a fortune at first, it takes a while to suss your child's preferred learning style. We think the real burning need for expensive text books only comes when you hit the exam syllabus stage; and that until then most stuff can actually be gleaned for free or very low cost. Start with the free stuff and only make purchases when you are sure you actually need them. This will mean that hopefully you will have the funds available for any really critical things you may find your child needs further down the line such as private therapies. As an Elective Home Educator you will also need to budget for the exam fees later on to enter your child as a private candidate for iGCSE's etc.

The Home Education community often negotiates group discounts on things like specialist dyslexia software etc. We also swap, share and sell on learning resources to one another. So do ask in our Face Book group, before splurging out. For some specialist therapies and disability equipment etc we've worked hard to find sources of grant support wherever possible. For most things someone, somewhere will have found a way of accessing it more cheaply. - link to our group where you can ask! 

This is a core curriculum that you can add to, adapt and tailor to exactly meet your child's needs over time. It is intended to help you hit the ground running and avoid the common HE newbie mistake of spending a large amount on text books that just sit gathering dust on a shelf, only to disparately wish you could claw back those funds to spend on something your child really needs to aid their learning further down the line. With that in mind most of the resources listed below are totally free, and any resource that isn't has had to really justify being included.
Almost all home educators benefit hugely from a broadband connection and a basic PC/lap top + printer. Click here for advice on how to keep the costs for this down. 


At 11 I would stick with this course for maths as its free, until you need a specific exam board textbook later on. That keeps the costs down for one core subject.


This range of text books is really good for  KS3. very visual, fun and comes with an accompanying DVD for your PC. Check out the 2nd hand section of amazon before making your purchase as it's often available in excellent condition at a much lower price than brand new.
FREE practical experiments for this level - HE gives the opportunity to do much more hands on science than is often possible in classes of 30. Which is a huge benefit to many of our children who prefer a hands on learning approach.

Do check out

A couple of great courses coming up in the next term or so we'd recommend

- basic science experiments

- the science of nutrition

Khan Academy is great for Science and maths.

English - Free again!
This is a fab structured resource. Most of the literary texts are available totally free through the site too. Gives a really solid grounding in English language and literacy. Incorporates History in a lovely way too - wonderful to read about how people really lived as its all interconnected so nicely. 
Amazon often do second hand textbooks for as little as a penny. You just pay £2.80 postage and 9 times out of ten the books are in near perfect condition. We've often had great success finding CGP textbooks this way.
Abesbooks is another place to find standard textbooks much cheaper than the RRP.

Need a FREE KS3 Poetry Course? We love this one from NI. Huge poetry teaching PDF for ages 12yrs plus. (Key stage 3 in Northern Ireland). This is a brilliant resource for older children and uses computer skills, research, poetry and reading comprehension. Really good.

English - reading comprehension and analysis!
Very good resource!
Book review reports, reading comprehension templates, critical analysis templates.

Modern Foreign Language
Duolingo is hard to beat. It's available for PC,and tablet and there is now a Welsh option


This is a 42 part course on World History. Enough to see you through your first year of Home Education. Of course it's free and should be enough for your child to decide whether this subject interests them enough to continue their studies in this area.


This is a great site to begin your KS3 Geography. Field trips are so easy for us as home educators. Wales is a particularly good place for this subject given our natural environment and several HE groups take advantage of that. It's quite common to also study environmental management as well as geography to iGCSE and for children to take the Jean Muir award later on.

This also seems like a good place to point out that most curriculum topics have a dedicated Face Book group chock full of learning resources and usually run by subject matter experts. This is the link to the Geography group, which is a particularly useful one. Again rather than rushing to Waterstones and spending a fortune, it's always worth asking in our own online group  if your ASD kid's current obsession with Astonomy can't be nurtured all the way to an iGCSE pass via cheap online resources. 

Internet Safety. 

Cyber Safety isn't yet part of the Welsh National Curriculum, so please don't assume your child is cyber savvy re their personal safety, because of what they've been taught at school. Most Home Educated Children quickly discover the amazing learning resource that is the internet and make best use of it. In order to keep them safe as they do so we believe quite strongly that it's worth taking the time right at the start of your HE journey to spend some real time on this subject.Parents! Do take a look at these cyber safety sites. Being clued up yourself is the best way to ensure our children and young people stay safe online. Our young digital natives are depending on us!

Learning with minecraft - if yours is a gamer then make their time productive in terms of learning. There is a home education server we can give details about in our group (moderated). This site is used by teachers globally in lessons across the curriculum so is worth making a note of too

Legal Stuff - here's a link to our quick reference guide for Home Educators in Wales. It's handy to save to your favourites in case of queries when dealing with officialdom. The vast majority of our members are Elective Home Educators.


It's worth noting our Face Book Group contains members at the extremes of the academic ability range in both directions, with early Uni entrants and those aiming to do foundation skills alike.  Not all our kids will take exams and we recognise that. Alternative opportunities to prepare for independent adult life are discussed in our Face Book group on a regular basis, as and when we come across them or develop new initiatives. We are currently in the process of compiling a list of Exam Centres across Wales that accept private candidates. Where possible we are enquiring about the possibility of access arrangements for candidates with disabilities. Welsh Exam Centres will be the subject of a blog post in the near future. 

Author - Steph Shobiye.