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Ty Gwyn Special School

"Learning To Achieve"

Family Centre

Meet Our Team



Blended Learning

If your child is currently not attending school and you would like some support please contact Mel and Wenna in the Family Centre, who will be happy to liaise with your child's class team to send you a pack of resources for you to access learning from home or support you to access teaching virtually via our Blended Learning page, YouTube channel, Virtual Assemblies and Class pages. Just let us know!




Parent Connection Group 

This group runs for 12 weeks, its main aim is to help parents talk through their worries, issues and concerns regarding their child’s behaviour.  Since it has been running what has been the most prominent development is the way the parents connect with each other, the help, advice and support they give to one another.  This has helped empower parents, build their confidence and help them feel they are not alone even when feeling isolated.  The parents also learn new ideas from the course content which is taken from the Incredible Years Programme, this programme is devised to prevent and treat children's behaviour problems and promote their social, emotional, and academic competence.  The group is run by Debbie Tingley, Wenna Holman and Mel Cummings, held every Tuesday morning.  A lot of parents want to access the course more than once as it proves to be so useful to them. 


‘Get Cooking’ healthy eating (NHS) 

At the family centre we are involved in the Healthy Eating Programme alongside the NHS Dietitians.  Debbie Tingley is qualified to teach level 2 ‘get cooking’ programme that is run over 10 weeks, she is supported by Mel Cummings. The parents have theoretical and practical lessons and receive a certified qualification from Agored Cymru once the course is completed.  This takes place every Tuesday afternoon and gives the opportunity for the parents of all three schools an opportunity to learn new skills, gain a qualification and meet new friends.  Due to the positive input of parents, this course has run successfully for a number of years.



As part of our Family Services provision we offer open ended counselling which is free of charge.  The counsellor is Debbie Tingley, she has a BSc Hons in Counselling, and a Post Graduate Diploma in Counselling Children and Young People.  You can access counselling for a number of reasons, to help with bereavement, relationship breakdown, anxiety, stress, exploring issues, depression, dealing with feelings of sadness, negative thoughts, understand yourself and your problems better etc.



Coffee Morning 

This is run once a month, it provides an opportunity for parents to meet, enjoy a cuppa and some cake.  There is usually a topic to start a conversation; however, sometimes parents start their own.  This has proved successful with some parents really connecting with each other and continuing a friendship beyond the coffee morning.



Home Visits 

The Family Centre visit the homes of pupils that are too sick to attend the schooling environment or are on long term sickness.  Activities of a sensory nature are taken to provide the child with some stimulus input and to ensure that the curriculum is still being accessed to a certain extent.  It is also a way of supporting the parent at what can be a very lonely difficult time for both them and the child.

We are also in close contact with the Special Needs Health Visitors for Cardiff and the Vale.  They make referrals to us of children they think may have developmental delays or additional needs.  We call to the home to introduce ourselves to the parents and offer our services and emotional support and to give information as and when the parent may need it. 



Craft Class

This is run by Melanie Cummings every Wednesday afternoon from 1:00 to 2.30pm.  Parents have been making cards, home decorations, and ceramics.



Sewing Class 

These classes are run every Thursday, a beginners session in the morning and a experienced session in the afternoon. It has been running for a number of years. We source an outside sewing teacher who has helped the parents start sewing from the basics, they are now making garments such as clothing, aprons, bibs, bags and laptop covers.  The class makes items for the Christmas Fayre.



English as a second language (EAL) 

This is a ladies only class that is run on a Friday morning.  Pauline Thomas is the teacher, and has built a fantastic relationship with all the ladies that attend. Two of our ladies have progressed with their English language so well that they are now currently training in the school to become Teaching Assistants and two others have left and gone on to a more advanced class within a college setting.

We also take the ladies on educational excursions in order for them to learn more about our culture and heritage.  These places included, Cardiff Castle, St. Fagans, The Natural Museum and Barry Island.



Basic ICT For Parents 

A community link with The Adult Learning Centre has been set up for parents to access basic ICT skills and training.  Parents were asked what courses they would be interested to enrol in, if any.  The response led Mel and Pauline to research who we could approach to fulfil the parent’s wants and needs. ICT came top of the list as many of our parents were worried that children were able to access sites on the computer that were inappropriate and parents felt that they had no parental control over this.  They also wanted help with sending and receiving emails and researching their child’s diagnosis to enable them to gain better understanding of their needs..  We devised a schedule of topics that would benefit each individual parent and delivered this along the representative from The Adult Learning Centre.

The course was such a success that we run it ongoing through the year.  All the parents passed the course and gained an Agored Cymru recognised qualification in ICT.



Family Learning Library                     

A library of resources specifically for children with complex needs. 


Parents are able to view the equipment within the library and hire it out for a fixed period of time. Toys are also trialled with parents, and if successful, parents will then have the confidence to go out and buy the equipment for their child to have in their home.


The Family Learning Library provides parents with the opportunity to trial equipment and toys for interest and motivation value. Please contact ATC for these.




The family centre has put on many courses and sessions for parents and carers to attend for free, these include:


First Aid for Parents 

We successfully organised two First Aid workshops for parents.  One was for ‘chocking hazards’ and the other for ‘resuscitation’.  Both workshops proved to be popular and very successful. This has shown to be very useful to the parents at home in the event of an emergency.  The parents received a certificate to certify that they took part and fully understood procedures and practice in the event of an emergency.

St. Johns Ambulance are booked to deliver a Paediatric First Aid course in March 2023. Further information to follow. 


Sleep Therapy Workshop 

Many of our parents have expressed concern over time of their children’s sleeping habits, or rather lack of sleep in general.  This is a major problem with our children as it triggers other negative behaviours due to over tiredness and irritability.


Epilepsy Training for Parents 

A large percentage of our parents have children that suffer with epilepsy, either from birth or recently.  We contacted Epilepsy Cymru to arrange a workshop for the parents to attend.  The workshop was consisted of explaining what epilepsy was, how to manage it and ways of controlling it, what to do when the child had a seizure, medications available along with different diets that have helped control it.  This was very helpful to the parents as they learned more about the condition and reasons as to why their child was suffering with it.  They also sat and discussed between themselves what they have experienced with their own child and how they deal with the situation on a daily basis.

A further Epilsepy training session will be held in the new year, more information to follow.



Mother and Toddler Group

The children who attend this group benefit from sensory play activities. The sessions that we deliver are Touch Therapy, Tac Pac, Sensory stories and messy play.  This is also a great experience for the parents to network together, build relationships and share ideas and information to help each other in what is a very emotional and difficult time for the families.






Come on a Bear Hunt with Pauline and Melanie!

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