One year into the improvement plan for children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities.
In August last year, Worcestershire County Council and partners launched a Special Education Needs and Disabilities (SEND) Improvement Plan that was developed with parents, carers, education providers and health colleagues.
It followed the Local Area SEND inspection by Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission in March 2018 which looked at how effectively provision in Worcestershire improves outcomes for children with SEND.
The Inspection identified areas of strength and areas for improvement.
An action plan was produced following the Inspection and this has resulted in an emphasis on developing more inclusive practice and skills in mainstream schools, providing a more timely service for those 3,600 children and young people with EHC Plans and working more closely with parent representatives through the Parent Carer Forum – Families in Partnership.
Families in Partnership have a parent carer representative who sits on the SEND Improvement Board and alongside others play an active role in delivering the improvement plan.
Councillor Marcus Hart, Cabinet Member with responsibilty for Education and Skills said: “We are 12 months into the improvement plan and a lot of hard work is going on to help improve outcomes for families. I’m extremely grateful to all those from different areas of the County and with different jobs and interests, who have made that happen. It’s been really encouraging to see so much involvement from parent carer representatives and from our Health partners. There are still challenges ahead for us, but we will continue to work together with young people, parents, carers, partners and education providers. We are determined for Children and Young People with SEND to be happy, healthy and safe.”
Sally Keane, Chair of Families in Partnership, the Worcestershire Parent Carer Forum, said:
“We have been working specifically with professional services to develop their understanding of the various approaches that can be used to ensure parent carers, and children and young people, can participate in activities such as developing policy, preparing guidance for staff, and planning school approaches to SEND. When parent carer representatives work as part of a team with professionals to improve and develop services, it really works. We know that there are limits to what is possible, but we also know that those we are working with have a much better understanding of what makes a good service for our children, young people and families.”
Mari Gay, Chief Operating Officer, Worcestershire CCGs said: “The CCG would like to thank the council, partners and all other stakeholders working on the SEND Improvement Plan for the hard work, engagement and collaboration that has been achieved over the past 12 months. We will continue working together towards improving outcomes for children and young people with SEND, focussing on empowering clinicians to use the information now available.”
Since the plan was launched, twelve autism and Anxiety workshops for parents and carers have been organised, and these have proved extremely popular.
Funded by the CCG and provided by a trainer from Autism West Midlands, the training sessions were held to provide advice, help and support to those who live and care for those with autism.
A new initiative called ‘SEND Champions’ has also been set up and “championed and organised” by Worcestershire Health and Care Trust following the launch. Champions are professionals across health, social care and education who meet monthly.
They champion SEND in their workplaces and go the extra mile to ensure that children and young people with SEND are everybody’s business.