Family Summer Camp Weekend 2013
We are planning to follow up last year’s successful and enjoyable Summer Camp with a weekend in Slapton in beautiful South Devon from Friday afternoon 2nd August to Sunday afternoon 4th August.
The venue will be the Start Bay Centre, a converted old school situated above the village of Slapton. Nearby is Slapton Ley and Start Bay (pictured below)
We will have exclusive use of the Centre, with an enclosed garden and a campfire circle in a secure and private location. Click here to view Centre
Free Accommodation and camping pitches will be available for families.
Free cueing activities will build language and cueing skills.
Free nature activities, such as pond dipping, will be delivered by staff from the Field Studies Council, who own the Centre.
Day visitors are welcome – if you book in advance.
The meal-deal (cooked breakfast, DIY salad lunch and cooked two-course evening meal) will be £20 per adult and £10 per child for the weekend. Campers can be self-sufficient or choose the meal-deal.
Are you a total beginner? We won’t be offering formal lessons during the family weekend – so please contact us for a lesson or two before the weekend so that you can join the cueing activities. We will make sure that there are activities to suit your level.
More about the venue
The Start Bay Centre has a large common room split into two sections, and an extensive outdoor area with space for five families to camp. All bedrooms (sized for families of between 3 and 12!!) have single beds, some which are bunk beds. The accommodation is clean, comfortable and student-style; it’s not luxurious!
We can accommodate 11 families altogether (camping and in the Centre)– don’t delay in booking.
The Centre is about half a mile from the village and although it is accessible on foot, use of a vehicle would be preferable. It is however within easy reach of woods where the Field Studies Council will be delivering free environmental activities, including pond dipping, for the children. Slightly further away (about a mile) is the beach at Slapton Sands and the beautiful Slapton Ley.
More about Slapton Ley
Places will be limited so don’t delay; contact us to book now.
Children’s and Families Bill by Anne Worsfold
In March 2011 the Government published a Green Paper which set out their plans to change to the support given to children and young people with special educational needs. Changes were to be set in a new legal framework. In some areas the Green Paper was confusingly unspecific, in others the proposed changes seemed to be potentially damaging and in some areas, an improvement. Because deaf children are a minority and Cued Speech-using children are an even smaller minority their interests can be overlooked. To prevent this the Association gave detailed feedback on the Green Paper to the Department for Education (DfE), and parent Sarah Collinson, through her MP, arranged a meeting with the Minister of State for Children and Families, Sarah Teather, at which Sarah C., myself and a number of others expressed our concerns.
The proposed changes are far-reaching and the Department for Education has requested feedback at intervals over the last two years. We have continued to respond on behalf of deaf children both directly and through organisations such as the Communication Trust, of which we are a member.
The Children and Families Bill (born out of the Green Paper) is now going through parliament but is still subject to change. Also, additional details are set out, not in the Bill but in a Special Educational Needs (SEN) Code of Practice, which is in draft. Together the Children and Families Bill and the Code of Practice will form a new statutory framework which will govern how children and young people will be supported through education and training.
The Bill requires Local Authorities (L.A.) to publish a ‘Local Offer’ which will set out what support is available in their area. This could be a force for good - if, for example, the Local Offer includes Cued Speech and/or BSL this would give the parents the information to make a truly informed choice. However, in times of shrinking budgets it will be tempting for the L.A. to ‘offer’ as little as they can get away with, and in any case, since deafness is a low-incidence disability, it may not be realistic to expect an L.A. to have every option available.
With both the Bill and the Code of Practice still subject to change and the ‘Local Offer’ still fluid, our campaigning work is nowhere near finished yet!
There is no doubt that the voluntary sector’s work has been a very effective force for change and some of the areas I was concerned about in the Green Paper have been addressed in the Bill – although, sadly, some good points have disappeared too.
Our Association is now prioritising our campaign in areas specific to deaf children including:
The aspirations of the Bill, which include closer and more efficient working between different bodies (e.g. education, health and social services), and an end to the ‘climate of low expectations’, are high. However, there are some very significant ‘danger areas’ and in a climate of change, which includes new funding arrangements for school and tightening budgets, the practical outcomes could be very damaging.
The issue of support for families with deaf babies and children (specifically those aged 0 – 3 who are largely overlooked in the current documents) to ensure that deaf babies and children can access, and learn to use, full language.
Requesting that the Code of Practice acknowledges the importance of ‘giving access’ to the language of education for deaf children (currently the details are around ‘modifying’ teaching).
Joining with the Communication Trust and others who are pressing for a ‘National Standard’ to inform the ‘Local Offer’.
We will continue to campaign as best we can for deaf children in general and Cued Speech-using deaf children in particular.
There are also many areas of concern which are common to all children with special needs and for one of the clearest summaries – and suggested action – take a look at the website of the charity IPSEA (Independent Parental Special Education Advice): http://www.ipsea.org.uk/news/changes-to-sen-law/children-families-bill-dangers.aspx
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