5 articles the Campaigns Team has been reading this week

Alex Chitty, Campaigns Assistant at NDCS - Stolen Futures

Alex Chitty, Campaigns Assistant

Every week, we’ll be compiling a short list of articles that we’ve noticed in the news and want to share with you. Some of them will be about campaigning and others will be about changes to policy, or relevant policy areas, that may be of interest.

1)    Thousands of adopted children miss out on education support, charity warns, Neil Puffett, Children and Young People Now
Adopted children as young as nine are missing out on additional support in school, due to an “arbitrary” government-imposed cut-off point, the charity AdoptionUK has said.

2)    Gene Therapy Makes Cochlear Implants Much More Effective, Rachel Barclay, Healthline
Scientists from the University of New South Wales, Australia, have found a way to use the electrodes in cochlear implants to apply targeted gene therapy and regrow damaged auditory nerves in the ear.

3)    Stephen Sutton makes ‘largest’ cancer charity donation, BBC
A cancer charity says it has received its largest ever individual donation after a teenager with terminal cancer raised more than £1.6m.

4)    A child’s eye view of adoption, Ian Burrell, The Independent
Three television programmes about the adoption process trigger an emotional response within British hearts and bring a new level of public understanding to an issue that has long been afraid to expose itself to public gaze.

5)    Why those working in charities need to adopt an activist mentality, Liam Barrington-Bush, The Guardian
Liam Barrington-Bush discusses the hope “constructive subversion” may offer charity workers when seeking to affect change.

Have you spotted any good articles around this week? Leave a comment below to share them with us!

5 articles the Campaigns Team has been reading this week

Danni Manzi, Danni Manzi, Deputy Director of Policy and Campaigns NDCS

Danni Manzi, Deputy Director of Policy and Campaigns

Every week we’ll be compiling a short list of articles that we’ve noticed in the news and want to share with you. Some of them will be about campaigning and others will be about changes to policy, or relevant policy areas, which may be of interest.

1)     Stem cell courier speeds around world in dramatic race against time – to help 87 transplants take place, Pamela Owen, The Mirror

Peter Hodes, an Anthony Nolan volunteer and “one of Britain’s busiest stem cell couriers”, has a 42 hour window to transport cells from Australia to a profoundly ill child at a Manchester hospital.

2)    ‘Crisis’ warning as up to four in ten refused first choice primary school, Graeme Paton, The Telegraph

Nearly 40 per cent of children rejected from first choice primary school in parts of England as experts warn that record numbers of parents are preparing to appeal

3)    How charities can empower their service users – a case study, Polly Mehta from Shift.ms, The Guardian Voluntary Sector Network

Linked to Jonathan’s blog on why sharing your story matters and a more recent one by Graham, one of NDCS’s volunteer campaigners, this article explains how charities can empower their service users. In order to break down barriers between health experts and people with multiple sclerosis, charity Shift.ms decided to help service users take their message into their own hands.

4)    Food bank charity ‘is misleading the public’: Claim that 1m need food parcels ‘just self promotion’, Tim Shipman, The Daily Mail

The Trussell Trust who runs more than 400 food banks has been accused of ‘misleading the public’ on the issue of food poverty.

5)    Deaf teenager wins prestigious award then donates £500 prize to deaf kids charity, Andy Palmer, Limping Chicken

Former NDCS Young People’s Advisory Board member Bethany Eason won the Rotary Club Young Citizen Award and donated her £500 prize to NDCS.

Have you spotted any good articles around this week? Leave a comment below to share them with us!

5 articles the Campaigns Team has been reading this week

NDCS, Sam Aldridge

Sam Aldridge, Campaigns Assistant

Every week we’ll be compiling a short list of articles that we’ve noticed in the news and want to share with you. Some of them will be about campaigning and others will be about changes to policy, or relevant policy areas, which may be of interest.

1)     Halifax bank apologises for asking deaf man to pay £25 for transaction that hearing people could do for free, Andy Palmer, Limping Chicken

 A deaf man from Slough was told by staff at his local branch of Halifax Bank that he would need to pay a £25 admin fee if he wanted staff to resolve a simple  banking problem that people who can hear would be able to do for free.

2)   Young people should be at the forefront of charity campaigns, Leon Ward, Guardian Voluntary Sector Network

Charities can learn a lot from the FGM campaign, which has been successfully fronted by a young person, says Leon Ward.

3)   Meet the extraordinary woman who became a health campaigner after being diagnosed with terminal breast cancer aged 23, Lizzie Edmonds, Mail Online 

After several rounds of chemotherapy, Kris, who will never be cancer-free and receives monthly treatment in hospital, is one of the most prolific cancer campaigners in the country thanks to her charity CoppaFeel!

4)   Lobbying is crucial to our sector so why no ‘Institute of Campaigning’?, Brian Lamb, Third Sector

A threat to charity campaigning is posed not only by the lobbying act, but also by our own inability to demonstrate that we can make a difference in the long term.

5)   Students could be paying loans into their 50s, Katherine Sellgren, BBC News

Most students will still be paying back loans from their university days in their 40s and 50s, and many will never clear the debt, research finds.

Have you spotted any good articles around this week? Leave a comment below to share them with us!

5 articles the Campaigns Team has been reading this week

Jonathan Barnes - NDCS, articles we’ve been reading this week

Jonathan Barnes, Campaigns Assistant

Every week we’ll be compiling a short list of articles that we’ve noticed in the news and want to share with you. Some of them will be about campaigning and others will be about changes to policy, or relevant policy areas, which may be of interest.

1)    GCSE analysis: Can the new exams be linked to the world’s ‘best’ education systems?, William Stewart, TES

“There is no international standard that we can benchmark to.” Yesterday’s frank admission from Cath Jadhav, Ofqual’s director of research, neatly sums up the fix the exams regulator finds itself in as it seeks to ensure England’s reformed GCSEs match the world’s most “rigorous” standards.

2)    State schools now competing with private schools for best students – Gove, Steven Swinford, The Telegraph

Parents in South London who can afford to send their children to private schools are choosing instead to send them to the state sector.

3)    Social care becomes ‘emergency service’ as cuts biteNeil Puffett, Children and Young People Now

Rising caseloads combined with spending cuts have left local authority children’s social care provision as little more than an “emergency service” the NSPCC has claimed.

4)    £10-a-month fee to use NHS: Outrage at call to end era of free healthcare, Ben Endley, Daily Express

Patients would pay £10 a month to use the NHS and higher fees for prescriptions under plans revealed today. People should also face extra costs for staying in hospital, a new report says.

5)    Five social media charity campaigns you need to know about, Zoe Amar, The Guardian

Five recent social media campaigns run, or used, by charities to improve outcomes. Some great ideas about what makes a good social media campaign.

Have you spotted any good articles around this week? Leave a comment below to share them with us!

5 articles the Campaigns Team has been reading this week

Alex Chitty, Campaigns Assistant at NDCS - Stolen Futures

Alex Chitty, Campaigns Assistant

Every week we’ll be compiling a short list of articles that we’ve noticed in the news and want to share with you. Some of them will be about campaigning and others will be about changes to policy, or relevant policy areas, which may be of interest.

1)    Neglected children must be better protected, Ofsted
A new Ofsted report says that more must be done to identify and respond effectively to neglect at the earliest stages so that the most vulnerable children in our society do not remain too long in families where they come to harm.

2)    Child mental health issues ‘missed, BBC
Experts warn that thousands of young people may be “slipping through the net” because adults do not spot the warning signs of mental health problems. MindEd, a new website, backed by groups including the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, is being launched to increase awareness of these issues.

3)    UK charitable giving increased by £1.1bn to £10.4bn in 2012/13, Annette Rawstrone, Third Sector
New figures from the Charities Aid Foundation show that the average amount donated rose to £29. Overall, UK charitable giving increased by £1.1bn in 2012/13 to £10.4bn.

4)    What You Think You Know About the Web Is Wrong, Tony Haile, TIMEBusiness
Seeking to engage online users? This post dispels common myths and provides some useful lessons for us all.

5)    SignHealth claim research shows thousands of deaf people are suffering from “unintentional neglect” by the NHS, The Limping Chicken
SignHealth’s five year study into the health of Deaf people also reveals that these undiagnosed, potentially life-threatening conditions are costing the health service £30 million a year.

Have you spotted any good articles around this week? Leave a comment below to share them with us!

5 articles the Campaigns Team has been reading this week

NDCS, Sam Aldridge

Sam Aldridge, Campaigns Assistant

Every week we’ll be compiling a short list of articles that we’ve noticed in the news and want to share with you. Some of them will be about campaigning and others will be about changes to policy, or relevant policy areas, that may be of interest.

1)    Children and Families Act: Budget cuts will undermine SEN reforms warn charities , Laura McCardle, Children and Young People Now

Special educational needs (SEN) charities fear cuts to council budgets and inadequate guidance for professionals will undermine reforms made under the Children and Families Act.

2)    Striving to be heard in a world without sound , Henry Hepburn, TES Scotland

Deaf students must contend with ignorance, bullying and poor provision, writes Henry Hepburn. Yet they are entering further education in large numbers – when will the sector catch up?

3)   Ofsted inspections: ‘you’d be better off flipping a coin’ Padraic Flanagan, The Telegraph

The schools watchdog is criticised over the quality of its inspectors in a report by a right-leaning think tank founded by Michael Gove, the Education Secretary.

4)    How does money influence health?, Michaela Benzaval et al, Joseph Rowntree Foundation

This study looks at hundreds of theories to consider how income influences health. There is a graded association between money and health – increased income equates to better health. But the reasons are debated.

5)    No make-up selfies: women on Facebook and Twitter post bare-faced photos to help raise breast cancer awareness , Kashmira Gander, The Independent

The no make-up selfie craze has divided users online, with some arguing the trend is not the best way to help to fight the disease.

Have you spotted any good articles around this week? Leave a comment below to share them with us!

Working to influence the Children’s and Families Act

NDCS - Ian Noon, Head of Policy and Research

Ian Noon, Head of Policy and Research

Last Thursday was a big day – Her Majesty decided to give her “royal assent” to the Children and Families Bill, thus turning it into the ‘Children’s and Families Act’.

This Act sets out a whole new range of laws on special educational needs (SEN). A National Deaf Children’s Society FAQ for parents has more information but it’s been described as the biggest shake up of the SEN system in 30 years and will have big implications for how deaf children are supported. So no pressure on us here at the National Deaf Children’s Society…

We’ve been working to influence these reforms right from the very start. It’s been a long hard slog. There have been many meetings, countless consultations and plenty of parliamentary debates – all to make sure that the needs of deaf children were considered.

Before all of that though, we needed to find out what parents of deaf children thought. We ran a series of focus groups and surveys and then wrote up what parents thought of the proposals. Politicians and civil servants were then reminded repeatedly about what our members want. It really helped bring our arguments to life.

So what’s been achieved along the way? Some key achievements include:

  1. A review is now taking place into whether Ofsted should have a greater role in inspecting local SEN provision.
  2. It will be harder for local authorities to end support to a young person just because they’ve turned 19. Now local authorities must consider if they’ve achieved the outcomes set for them and not just “have regard to age”.
  3. At one point, parents would be required to undergo mediation with the local authority if they wanted to take any issues to a Tribunal. Now they must consider mediation, but now have the option to say no.
  4. Not every disabled child has ‘SEN’ but many will still need support. This created a risk that some children would fall through the net. The Special Educational Consortium (SEC) and Every Disabled Child Matters (EDCM) pushed hard for more strategic support from local authorities for both disabled and SEN children.
  5. Recognition of the essential role of Teachers of the Deaf has been kept – for example, the Act requires that Teachers of the Deaf be involved in any statutory assessments of deaf children.

Key to our success has been the way the sector has worked together. The National Deaf Children’s Society has worked closely with our counterparts at RNIB and Sense to raise common issues in relation to children with sensory impairment, as well as with EDCM and SEC.

Not everything has gone our way. Some of the above changes have been hard fought right to the end. Other times, it’s felt like we’ve been banging our heads against brick walls…

And there’s still plenty of work to be done. Whilst the Act provides the overall framework, a lot of the practical requirements will be set out in guidance, called the SEN Code of Practice. We’re expecting this to be published this spring and Westminster will again get the chance to debate this. Also, it’s great that Ofsted are reviewing the SEN inspection framework but we will need to monitor it closely to make sure they take action after this review.

And, of course, all of these changes have to be implemented. Our biggest concern remains that these changes are going to be made in a context of massive spending cuts, as we know from the Stolen Futures campaign. There is the potential for massive upheaval for services for deaf children. The National Deaf Children’s Society’s team of Regional Directors will now be working to influence implementation in each of the 152 local authorities in England and to challenge any cuts where they arise.

Overall, the Bill becoming an Act is a big milestone. It feels like a good moment to pause and reflect on how far we’ve come… and then start to get ready for the next phase of this big SEN shake up.