October 2020 Issue 26
Supporting staff and students to achieve their full potential
(Est. 1968)

Dear CENMAC Community,

This October it's AAC Awareness Month, World Mental Health Day, Dyslexia Week and The Big Draw,  just to name a few, so keep an eye on our blog for information and resources that can help you raise the profile and awareness. This month is also Black History Month and below we have included a number of resources to support learning in your schools, not only for this month but throughout the year. 

Graphic illustration of 100 great Black BritainsDr Pen Mendonça, who has been part of Person Centred Planning here at Charlton Park Academy and created many illustrations and a student friendly guide for CENMAC, has also illustrated the poster to accompany the recently published book 100 Great Black Britons by Dr Patrick Vernon and Angelina Osbourne. Read about the campaign on our website.

Please click here to find out more about the work that has lead up to this campaign and be in with a chance to win a free copy by guessing some of the people drawn by Pen Mendonça.


Yvonne Davis, a retired headteacher, who started the campaign and said:  

‘We want to send a copy of this vital book, with a poster, to all secondary schools in the UK. It is a big idea. There are 8,205 secondary schools on our list – including independent schools, special schools and pupil referral units. But we’re up for the challenge.’  

Claim a copy for your school:

GoFundMe campaign - to give every secondary school in the UK a copy of the book and poster. 

A big thank you to the very talent student Khamani who very kindly created the fantastic lockdown film for our nomination to The BETT COVID response award. Please do watch via the link below. Also, well done also to Francesca for receiving our second Teaching Assistant Award! 

Above illustration: 100 Great Black Britons 2020 developed with Patrick Vernon and Angelina Osbourne, copyright Pen Mendonça 2020

Home Learning

School closures ‘lockdown’ affected our students and staff as it did people across the country. After the initial rush to ensure that our students were well prepared for home learning with access to their CENMAC devices as required, we continued with our usual cycle of assessments and reviews.  

Illustration of screen with picturesTraditionally, we hold our meetings in students’ schools. However, like people all over the country, we’ve recently moved many more of our meetings via the Internet. Although this initially presented some teething problems, over time, the meetings have begun to feel more natural. Indeed, we noticed some advantages. Some of our students became more communicative when meeting us in the comfort and security of their own homes. We had the opportunity to meet many more parents than we have in the past, which allowed us to get a more rounded and complete picture of our students’ needs and interests. Indeed, we became aware that many of our students appeared to take to the format easier than us oldies!  [Read Benjamin's full article here...]

Illustration by

The BETT COVID Response Award

Boy at front door in school uniform

A still from Khamani's film in response to Lockdown and CENMAC

As a team we have been fortunate in being able to adapt quickly and respond to the changing ways of the world since the COVID-19 pandemic. 

We developed our ways of working to enable us to continue to provide the much-needed technology, as well as the support and advice, that so many of our students rely on. We feel that our response was efficient, helpful and provided a life-line to many who might otherwise have struggled to access their learning at home. The BETT show this year has created a new award ‘The COVID-Response Award’ which we are applying to with the submission of a film created by one of our very talented students.  

The film is available to view here and we would appreciate any comments to pass on to the star of the show, Khamani. 

Black History Month logo with yellow, green, red and black shapes
Take a look at our blog post which has a special guest feature written by Charlton Park Academy’s librarian Caroline Fielding, showcasing some fantastic books to support learning around Black History Month. 

There are also links to a wide variety of online resources, and we have more to share here... 

The BBC has a range of multimedia teaching resources for teachers of all ages on their website.  

  • If you work within a primary setting or with learners with learning difficulties, you may find the resources available on Twinkl useful. You’ll need to subscribe.  
  • If you’re a user of Clicker you may want to look at the bundled resources on Learning Grids for resources on Rosa Parks. DocsPlus users may want to have look at the resources around Black HistoryWindrush or the slave trade.. 
  • Into Film has lots of teacher resources to support learning connected to relevant movies such as The Princess and the Frog for young students to the seminal To Kill a Mockingbird and the harrowing 12 Years a Slave. See them all here


Skin tone support: 

Several suppliers have introduced an important community-requested feature to their vocabularies which enables users to select from several different skin tones to alter the appearance of symbols. 

Accessing skin tone support in Grid 3: 

The feature is also available in simPODD and Proloquo2Go: 



CENMAC Training

Blue graphic with text Clicker Writer Training

Online Clicker Writer for iPad Training

Date: Wednesday 18 November 2020
Time: 1-2pm
Trainer: Katie Fitch, Crick Software
Eventbrite Link: Online Clicker Writer for iPad Training

Teaching Assistant Award | October 2020

In our work supporting students with assistive technology we meet some amazing teaching assistants and we would like to acknowledge the extra effort and skills of those individuals. 

Graphic with text Teaching Assistant Award and face of a woman with red hat and brown hairCongratulations to Francesca at More House – October 2020 Teaching Assistant Award

Francesca supports a student with a Vision Impairment who uses an iPad Pro to access her learning. When the student’s iPad was upgraded at the start of this term to a newer model, Francesca’s help and liaison with CENMAC was invaluable in ensuring that all the apps and documents stored on the previous device were safely transferred across. 

Francesca remained calm and patient while working with the CENMAC team and we look forward to more collaboration this year to ensure that the student she supports continues to make outstanding progress. 

“I have been at More House from the start of this academic year. Previously I have worked as a personal tutor. What I particularly relish in my job at the moment is seeing first-hand how my student is keeping up with her classmates and most importantly achieving her own academic merits. I am happy to contribute to her process to reach learning independence. On a more general note, this job is making me much more aware about visual accessibility and how it is fundamental for everyone.” 

If you know a Teaching Assistant who goes above and beyond to help a student with their Assistive Technology, please email your nomination to your CENMAC link. 

Staff Recommendations

Amorel recommends the latest episode of ‘In Touch’ - the Radio 4 podcast with News and Information for people who are blind or partially sighted:
This episode is a university special, talking about the issues facing blind students as they start university during a pandemic. 

Tracey recommends the online Exhibition 'The Sounds of Croydon' - from Samuel Coleridge-Taylor to Stormzy. 

Curated by lifelong Croydon resident and Director of Past Futures, Micha Nestor wanted to bring a burst of energy to the heritage world, during a time when many organisations are closed or remain offering a limited service as lockdown continues.

A collage of a woman, man and child in space
PLUS: CBBC's Out of this world series with Space Scientist and Educator Dr.Maggie and her daughter. They delve into how space exploration has changed life on Earth:


Graphic for Black History Month
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