Reflections and looking beyond 2020 - a blog by Dame Christine Lenehan









As we tie up our work and complete our ‘to do’ lists before the festive season starts, I hope you are looking forward to some peace and relaxation over Christmas. We know it won’t be the same as our usual festivities, but I do hope you will find joy where you can. 

It’s also that time of year when we reflect and look forward. How do we process 2020? It has been a year none of us will want to repeat. Through our work at CDC we know it has been particularly difficult for children with SEND and their families and the people that support them. The sudden disruptions in routine, the withdrawal of support, the anxiety about safety have had such an immense impact. For many there has been financial insecurities and worry about other family members.  Let’s hope the roll out of the vaccine will help lead us out into a better year. 

At CDC the pandemic has meant we’ve had to adapt and look at how we work. I am proud of how quickly we have been able to switch CDC training and support to digital in such a short time. We are now looking beyond 2020 and evaluating these changes - what will we keep doing and where do we want to change?

Having to move our delivery and training online has meant we have reached more people than we usually do and in every part of the country. We have had massive responses to all our events with national events regularly attracting over 200 delegates. We have developed a range of eLearning which people are finding helpful and supportive and our work with young people has developed even further.  

But I do miss the actual contact with people, the little conversations we might have in the breaks at events, hearing individual stories, the dynamic of a group coming together physically.  

At CDC we’ll be looking at ways we can take on the challenges and capture the good of both virtual and real life meets and develop our offers even more using all the brilliant suggestions we get from you in our evaluations.

So, what are we looking forward to in 2021? A dream of a Covid-free, or at least a Covid-managed world would be great for all. For the sector, we look to a move forward on the SEND review. It’s been blown off course a bit by the pandemic, but we know officials have been working hard on it and beginning to talk to many of you about key areas for consultation. We will want to make sure everyone can have a contribution and we know we have the same goals: better outcomes for children and young people, children fully included in their communities with their rights and aspirations respected. 

It’s my New Year’s wish. I hope yours also come true.