Our purpose and membership

We are a small group of parents and professionals who prioritise, plan and work together to support Barnet take a strategic lead to help our early years settings, schools, and colleges. We want to improve outcomes for our children, young people and their families. We discuss issues and review the action that we can practically take to support educational settings to understand and meet the needs of our children and young people.  We meet once a term for two hours. Please contact sarah.geiger@barnet.gov.uk if you would like more information about joining. We warmly welcome new members from the community, from early years, schools, college, education professionals, health, social care, and especially those with Down syndrome.


Guidance for schools

We have produced concise and practical quality standards to guide our colleagues in primary and secondary schools. These standards are called What Works? Supporting Children and Young People with Down syndrome in Primary and Secondary SchoolsThis provides a summary of what you need to do to deliver the best practice for children and young people with Down syndrome. Click on document titles in blue font and that will direct you to the documents. 


Health care 

Barnet’s Approach to Integrated Care for Children with Down Syndrome


Which type of school is best for children and young people with Down syndrome?

This document gives information about school placements for children and young people with Down syndrome. We have summarised the available research to help inform parents and professionals.

We believe every family has the right to decide what type of school is right for their child. It can be hard for parents to weigh up the challenges and opportunities experienced, and to decide between mainstream and special needs schools. Parents may, or may not, find our information about research useful. They need to think about their own child and what an educational setting may offer.

It is important that professionals in schools and the Local Authority are aware of research about school type so that they can provide advice and make informed choices. We want our families, and our schools of all types, to have information so that they can best support their children and young people with Down syndrome.

Combined care pathway for children and young people with Down syndrome

In Barnet there are approximately 6 live births each year of babies who are diagnosed with Down Syndrome. This Pathway was developed in partnership with parents, carers, education, social care and health professionals and those living with Down Syndrome (Spring 18 to Winter 2020). It is strategically managed via the SEND Development Group and Partnership Boards and reviewed annually and updated accordingly, through the Barnet Leading Edge Group (LEG) for Children and Young People with Down Syndrome, review date 9th December 2020.  If there are any changes that should be made please email Dr E. Rachamim: erachamim@nhs.net

Scope of the Combined Care Pathway

“You have absolutely no idea the difference having a team invested in your child makes.  This pathway brings expertise in Down syndrome along with an entire network of people working together.  Seriously, it’s amazing!  This is a huge amount of work and we know a lot of it was in people’s own time - it is an incredible achievement in such a short space of time.  Do not underestimate how important this piece of work is and most importantly the difference it will make to so many children and their families”.
Anna Petsas, parent of child with Down Syndrome.

This pathway will enable people to navigate their way through the relevant health, and integrated services to ensure no one who has Down Syndrome gets ‘left behind’. It is effectively putting all the health and therapies information pertinent for people with Down Syndrome in one place emphasising the need for combined care. It seeks to clarify additional services that may need to be involved in the care of a person with Down Syndrome because of some common health difficulties experienced by some people who have Down Syndrome and does not replace those services that all children and adults have access to; e.g., GP services, Midwifery, Health Visiting, School Nursing, Therapy Services, Community Health Services and Hospital Services. The pathway signposts education and social care services.

Our voice interview with Sarah 

What works to support children and young people with Down syndrome?

Sam and Zoe interviewed Sarah about her education research. Down’s Syndrome Association filmed the interview, you can watch it here:



Introducing RLI: effective reading and language instruction for children with Down syndrome

In this presentation, Professor Sue Buckley introduces the Reading and Language Intervention for Children with Down Syndrome (RLI). RLI is an evidence-based programme designed to teach reading and language skills to children with Down syndrome. The intervention incorporates best practice in structured activities delivered in fast-paced daily teaching sessions. It was evaluated in a randomised controlled trial and found to improve rates of progress compared to ordinary teaching. See the presentation here: 



Maths for life: a differentiated approach

The Maths For Life programme is designed for children and young people with additional learning needs who are working at early stages of maths and need a developmental approach. The programme is really practical and offers a differentiated approach to the maths curriculum that lays down solid foundations and is framed in practical understanding. It delivers a clear path, ability to review progress and measure attainment.  Each objective is broken down into incremental, micro steps is not necessarily something you will have done before.  We really welcome it for our children and young people with Down syndrome and other complex needs. The videos with Lance and Ella are great too and certainly worth a watch – they are freely available on the website.