Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Green Paper

In March the Government published the Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) green paper.   The Green Paper says how the Government plans to change the way that children and young people with autism get support with their education and from health and social care services.   The Green Paper is a consultation, and the decisions about exactly what changes will go ahead have not been taken yet.  

Some of the main proposals in the green paper are:
-       to have single assessment process covering health, social care and education support.  Instead of a statement of SEN, this will lead to a overall plan, called an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP).  The education part of EHCPs will be legally enforceable as with a statement.
-       These plans will cover young people from birth to 25
-       Pupils who have an EHCP may receive personal budgets so they know how much money is being spent on their support.
-       School Action and School Action plus (school based support) to be replaced by new single school based SEN category
-       Increased training for new and existing teachers, covering SEN
-       Outstanding special schools able to apply to become teaching (training) schools: allowing good specialist teachers to share their expertise
-       A ‘local offer’ which will say what services are available for children with SEND in a local authority area, and will also have more detailed information about the provision that schools make for this group
-       Mediation to be first port of call to resolve disputes before a case can go to tribunal.

Although, these plans look marginally better than the current provision, I remain extremely sceptical that the new proposals would make any difference to my children's experiences at school.

Brown Nail Experiment & Shinny Coins


· kitchen cleaner

· 10 dirty copper coins

· 50ml vinegar

· a glass

· a pinch of salt

· 3cm nail

· teaspoon

1. Put the coins into the empty glass then cover them with vinegar. Stir in the salt and leave for five minutes.

2. Meanwhile, clean the nail with kitchen cleaner and dry it carefully. It should now be very clean and bright.

3. Remove the coins from the vinegar, leaving the vinegar in the glass. What happened to the coins?

4. Drop the nail into the vinegar and leave it there for half an hour.

5. What has happened to the nail?

The science

· The vinegar contains acid which dissolved the brown copper-based chemicals from the coins, leaving them shiny.

· These copper-based chemicals then mixed with the vinegar to make a new chemical.

· This chemical settled on the nail and turned it brown.

The What on Earth? Wallbook

This book was recommended by our South London Home Education Group. It depicts millions of years of evolution, the rise and fall of civilisations, one hundred of the top battles and, on the reverse, the story of planet, life and people from the Big Bang to the present day.

The What on Earth? Wallbook is a comprehensive, visual voyage through the past that contains more than 1,000 hand-drawn illustrations, every major event in natural and human history, the rise and fall of civilizations, the top 100 battles and, on the reverse, the story of planet, life and people from the Big Bang to the present day.

The wallbook is A3 size with hardback covers for extra durability. It can either be read like a book or unfolded into a 2.3 metre long timeline for hanging on a wall.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Fruit Scones

Cooking is great fun and measuring and weighing provides the perfect maths lesson.


  • 75g butter or marg
  • 225g self raising flour
  • Pinch salt
  • 25g Raw Cane Sugar
  • 75g sultanas
  • 150 ml milk
  • Little milk


  • Heat the oven to 400F/205C/Gas 6
  • Grease and flour a baking sheet.
  • Put flour into a bowl then add the butter, baking powder and salt. Quickly rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the sugar and sultanas and stir.
  • Stir in enough milk to make a soft, pliable dough.
  • Turn the mixture on to a floured board then lightly roll out to 2cm / 3/4" thick.
  • Cut rounds with a 7.5cm /2" cutter or cut into triangles with a sharp knife.
  • Place on the baking tray and brush with the beaten egg and milk mixture. Bake near the top of the hot oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown and well risen.

Monday, 13 June 2011

Music At The Horniman - Autism Heaven

One of Owen's favourite places is the music room at the Horniman. The museum provides interactive music projections allowing the kids to select and listen to hundreds of instruments. The kids can listen to the instruments using headsets so the room is very quiet, tranquil and very suitable for kids who are sensitive to noise or have auditory processing difficulties. Surrounding the interactive screens are beautifully displayed instruments which are organised and neatly labelled. In addition, the lighting is very dim so is kind to kids with light sensitivities ... AUTISM HEAVEN

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Fizzing Candle


· bicarbonate of soda

· heatproof bowl

· short candle

· matches

· vinegar

· playdough or modelling clay

· dessert spoon

· an adult, to supervise lighting the candle with the match

1. Use the modelling clay to fix the candle firmly in the centre of the bowl.

2. Put five level dessertspoons of bicarbonate of soda around the candle.

3. Light the candle.

4. Spoon vinegar slowly down the inner side of the bowl, avoiding the flame. What happens when the liquid and powder mix?

5. Stop adding the vinegar when the froth is about halfway up the candle.

6. What happens to the candle? (Here’s a clue – what happens when you try to relight it?)

Fizzy candle – the science

· New substances are made when the bicarbonate of soda and vinegar are mixed together.

· One of these substances is a gas called carbon dioxide. This is the same gas that makes the bubbles in fizzy drinks. Here, it causes the mixture to froth.

· Carbon dioxide is heavier than air. It fills the bowl, even though you can’t see it.

· But the candle needs air to stay alight, so when the bowl is filled with carbon dioxide, the candle goes out.

Because of this, carbon dioxide is used in many kinds of fire extinguisher