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Ty Gwyn Special School

"Learning To Achieve"

Family Centre

Meet Our Team




We run a number of courses at the Family Centre, they are all free to attend and delivered in a fun and informal way. Refreshments are also provided! Dates for courses in the 2023-24 academic year are to be confirmed.  If you are interested in attending anything at the Family Centre or would like further information please ring the school on 02920 838560 or contact the Family Centre on Seesaw. 


Parent Connection Group 

This group runs for 12 weeks on Tuesday mornings. The 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 with support from Wenna Holman. A lot of parents want to access the course more than once as it proves to be so useful to them. Dates to be confirmed.  


‘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 the level 2 ‘get cooking’ programme that is run over 10 weeks on Tuesday afternoons. She is supported by Mel Cummings and Wenna Holman. The parents have theoretical and practical lessons and receive a certified qualification from Agored Cymru once the course is completed.  The course teaches cookery skills along with showing how to make healthy and balanced meals. It’s a great opportunity to try new foods for free, there is also enough food to take home for family members to try. Parents of all three schools in the federation have the 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. Dates to be confirmed. 



This 5 week course takes place on Monday mornings and covers: What is wellbeing? What are the barriers to achieving it and little steps we can take to help us achieve it. 

We also discuss different relaxation techniques and mindfulness. There is the opportunity to take part in relaxation sessions for those that want it and opportunities to connect with other parents in a welcoming and supportive atmosphere. Dates to be confirmed.


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. The Computer skills for beginners class gives the opportunity to learn and develop IT skills such as: 

  • Using the internet 
  • Sending and receiving emails 
  • Managing photos 
  • Internet security  
  • Using Microsoft Office programs such as Word and Excel. 


It is a flexible class so the tutor can cover any areas you would like to work on. This session runs on Tuesday mornings 10-12.


Craft Class

This is run by Mel Cummings every Wednesday afternoon from 1-2.30.  Parents have been making cards, home decorations, and ceramics.


Sewing Class 

These classes are run every Thursday, a beginners session in the afternoon and a experienced session in the morning. 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 as well as working on their own projects.


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 have trained 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.


Along with the courses on offer, the Family Centre also offer a range of other services and opportunities. These include:



Coffee Mornings 

This is run once a month on Wednesday mornings. It provides an opportunity for parents to meet in a friendly, informal setting and enjoy a cuppa and some biscuits.  There is sometimes a topic to start a conversation; however, parents often start their own.  This has proved successful with some parents really connecting with each other and continuing a friendship beyond the coffee morning.



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.



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!


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 and 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. 


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.


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.




Throughout the year the Family Centre also put on many free one-off courses and sessions for parents and carers to attend, 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  Child and Infant First Aid Awareness course in the Autumn term 2023. This will cover:

  • Assessing an incident
  • Recovery position
  • Choking
  • CPR


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. Information provided by the Occupational Therapists and nurses will be discussed. 


Epilepsy Training for Parents 

A large percentage of our parents have children with epilepsy. This workshop runs yearly and is run by an Epilepsy Specialist nurse. The workshop explains what epilepsy is, how to manage it and ways of controlling it, what to do when the child had a seizure, medications available and different diets that can help control it. Parents are able to learn more about the condition and ask questions about their own children. There is also the opportunity for parents to get together and discuss their own experiences of having a child with epilepsy and how they deal with the situation on a daily basis.

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


The Family Centre is very flexible and here to support parents, if there are any classes or activities you would like please let us know. We also offer an open door policy so you are able to drop in if you have any queries or would like a chat.  







Come on a Bear Hunt with Pauline and Melanie!

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