hosted 2 consultation events

 TUESDAY 8th September, 6.30 – 8.30 (evening)

THURSDAY 10TH September 2015, 10.45 - 12.30 (day)


The current contract for Carer Support Services is ending and we wanted to collate your ideas and views to influence how this service develops and is delivered in the future. 

Nadine Wyatt, from Sutton’s Commissioning Team, explained the Council’s Carers Strategy and draft service specification. This was an interactive session with lots of different views and this will be used to tailor the specification to ensure that prospective providers understand what we need to continue in our caring roles; this includes parent/carers.

Notes and Questions and Answers from the meeting 

19:58, 28 Oct 2015 by Jane Ann Knowles





A new project with Orchard Hill has been looking at communication tools in the form of apps and software which have been designed to help children and young people with disabilities.  These help them move from one activity to another and also help with sensory processing. 

Funding is available to purchase equipment to support this project and both David Hobday from Sutton Mencap and Simon Gale from Orchard Hill want to find out the different apps people use.

 E-Learning and Orchard Hill

 Simon Gale (SG), Head of E-Learning at Orchard Hill explained how E-learning is now being incorporated into their curriculum.  Assessments are used to determine levels which are fed back from schools and pools working towards the same outcome.  Resources are being developed for the college for books and magazines. There are five different centres throughout London and Sutton are trying to technology which is affordable and useable.

 Orchard Hill ensure all IPads have Apps which contains the College course and then find out what Apps suit them best.  Introduction seminars are run and home assessments are done using technology to promote independence.


 This is run on a weekly basis to encourage peer interaction and self-advocacy.


 Aurasma is a free App which brings symbols to life.  It is a QR reader like a bar code.  You can turn any symbol or object into an aura when used in conjunction with the app plus a related video.

 There was an interactive session with members of the SPF using the Aurasma app on the IPads to demonstrate how the App can be used to make new videos.  There is also a guide to show people how to use this.


 This app is designed to make a lesson interactive.  You can include quizzes, polls and open ended questions.  You can also create a Nearpod to control the pace of a lesson to suit the learning ability of the students.

 Interactive Textbooks

 Orchard Hill have also made interactive text books for specific courses.

 Guided Access

 Guided Access can be incorporated into the IPad focussing on specific Apps.  This also means that students can remove themselves from lessons by accessing other Apps.  Specific areas of an IPad screen can also be locked within an individual App and you can also disallow Apps and links that you do not wish students to access.

 Grid Player

 Grid Player is a communication aid for students who are non-verbal and have communication difficulties.  Staff can create individual grids for the students’ needs. They can choose the appropriate symbols and the grid Player will vocalise for them, increasing their independence in college, home and in the community.


 Evernote is an organisational tool and intervention diary.  You can set up your own journal as an intervention communication diary.  If this is not sent home you can link in to the website and see what has been done on that particular day.  It is a free download and a tutorial.


 Students can use this App to make their own films by dragging and dropping which is very interactive. The App costs £1.99 and is very easy to use.  Students can express themselves and then see what work they have done.

 They use different sensory Apps which can be found and most of them are free.  Guided Access can, again, be used to block out advisors.  The Gravitarian App is used a lot at Orchard Hill and costs 49p.

 David Hobday (DH) to send the App to Sutton Parents Forum.

 Digital Magazine

SG showed SPF the Digital Magazine used by Orchard Hill which students have contributed to.

Moving forward with Direct Payments and how you can use IT to facilitate this


DH explained that the project is a long-term idea and hopefully would allow parents and carers to share activities.  He asked whether other people would be interested in joining up.  DH focussed on paid carers for activities and how they could work.  There are also agencies who are very keen get involved. 


Sutton Mencap are a provider of services and have a contractor in place but this is not done through a social networking site.  It could be done by the SPF with a parent sharing information as appropriate.  It could also be led with people sharing and pooling direct payments as a group, however, he needed to get a feel on how this would work, obviously being open to anyone who wanted to join in.


JK asked for feedback on what people wanted to so that she could get someone from IT to help with this.


There could be a Closed Group on Facebook, however, there were people who were not on Facebook who didn’t want to have to go on.  DH was concerned about the security settings for Data Protection were very complicated and was concerned that Facebook could not be used for this purpose.


The Online Forum for the Local Offer could be used but this would need to be investigated further.  Alternatively, there could be a forum which links into Facebook or an account could be set up on Linked In.


JK and Margaret Ellis were going to a Cluster Group in London with all different Parent Forums and would hopefully come back with more ideas.



19:00, 28 Oct 2015 by Jane Ann Knowles

September's Cafe was a very busy event with 53 parent/carers joining us to hear Ceris Edwards (Principal Educational Psychologist) and Michael Mayes (Senior Educational Psychologist) describe the EPs role in writing Education, Health and Care Plans.  There were lots of questions and, as requested, we had notes taken of the meeting - we are lucky to have a parent/carer who is a whizz at short hand and happy to take notes which you can read by clicking on this link - Notes from meeting

18:56, 11 Nov 2014 by Jane Ann Knowles


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