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Suffolk’s SEND Strategy 2017-2020 - Parent Carer Update

Issue 2, June 2019

A regular update for parents and carers to keep you informed about what we’re doing to implement Suffolk’s SEND Strategy. Issued on behalf of Suffolk County Council, the NHS Ipswich and East Suffolk, NHS West Suffolk and NHS Great Yarmouth and Waveney clinical commissioning groups, and Suffolk Parent Carer Network.

Multi-agency assessment programme launched

A new programme has been set up across Suffolk to primarily support children in reception to the end of Key Stage 4 who are not thriving in mainstream education and have not progressed as hoped after receiving advice from specialist outreach services.

The programme brings multi-agency professionals together to work with each child and their family to assess, plan and review an early health, education and care strategy that suits the child’s individual needs. The professionals involved include educational psychologists, speech and language therapists, health specialists, education specialists, social care and early help colleagues. Together, they listen and respond to the views of the family and identify the child’s strengths and interests.

Based on the outcomes of each assessment, joint recommendations are made to support the child’s progress. On occasions, a formal EHC Needs Assessment or an alternative education setting may be recommended.

Referrals are made through specialist outreach services, schools and elective home education consultants for those children wishing to go back into mainstream education.  Currently, this is a bespoke programme based in homes and schools to suit the individual needs of the child. In the near future, three centres across Suffolk will be opened as additional support to this service.

Improving the Suffolk Local Offer website and social media

To help children, young people and their families source support for their needs, Suffolk County Council is working in collaboration with parents, carers, and providers of education and health services to make improvements to the Suffolk Local Offer website.

Reviewing and updating the website information

To make sure that the information on the website is as complete and user friendly as possible, we are reviewing and updating the landing pages on many topics. We are also creating new factsheets that can be downloaded and printed out.

The first two new factsheets are published on the landing page for Education:

  • The ASD Factsheet is a simple two-sided guide covering what ASD can look like, what to do if you think your child needs to be assessed, strategies schools can use to support children with ASD and strategies that might be useful in the home. It will also guide you to Suffolk-specific information and services.
  • The SEND Support Factsheet clarifies some of the information in the SEND Code of Practice on what support can be expected from a child’s school, and what to do when they can’t meet a child’s needs.

The SEND Support Wheel

A new tool called the SEND Support Wheel has been developed to make it easier to find information and advice for children and young people with special educational needs or disabilities on the website.

To make sure the wheel is working well, we are asking families to test it and to let us know what you think so we can make any necessary changes before it is officially launched on Monday, 1st July.

It is easy to use (with help available should you need it) and offers a choice of four information areas. Simply click on the area of interest, select one or more of the topics displayed and add them to your list to create a personalised map of information and services that can be downloaded when you’ve found what you’re looking for. We recommend signing in as a guest rather than creating an account to complete the test, which takes approximately 20 minutes.

When you are ready to let us know what you think of the SEND Support Wheel, including its ease of use and the quality of the information available, please click on the Feedback tab on the right-hand side of the of the website to complete a simple form to share your views.

Visit our guidance page for support using the SEND Support Wheel.

Easier access to the latest SEND news

We have added a new Latest Information tab to the front page of the website to provide easy access  to the latest SEND news from Suffolk County Council and partners.

New Facebook page

In addition to the Suffolk Local Offer Twitter page, we have created a new Facebook page.

Follow us for news and regular updates regarding special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) for children and young people aged 0-25.

If you have any queries about the Suffolk Local Offer, please email localoffer@suffolk.gov.uk or contact the Local Offer Advisor on 0345 606 1490.

SEND 16+ Transitions Guide

A new easy-to-understand guide has recently been launched to help young people who receive SEND support or who have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) prepare for adulthood. It is packed with helpful information covering a range of subjects including education options, travel support, social care, money management and funding, leisure and health.

The guide was created in partnership with parents, carers, service providers and young people with SEND in response to a demand for clearer information and advice. In addition to supporting parents, carers and young people, it also provides consistent and accurate information about transition for professionals working in SEND services.

Visit the SEND 16+ Transitions Guide page for more information.

Annual health checks for young people with learning disabilities

Parents and carers of young people aged from 14 to 25 with learning disabilities are being encouraged to make sure they undergo a free, yearly health check at their local GP surgery.

Annual health checks offer a thorough assessment of wellbeing including checking weight, heart and blood pressure and may also involve taking blood and urine samples. They help encourage young people to stay fit and enjoy good mental wellbeing, as well as identifying any problems early so they can be treated more quickly.

They also offer an opportunity to check on any ongoing health issues, such as asthma and constipation, as well as talk over any physical or mental wellbeing concerns so children and young people can be referred to other organisations for help and support.

Contact your local GP surgery to make an appointment.

SEND Oversight Committee

The first meeting of the recently created SEND Oversight Committee took place on April 26.

The committee’s role is to hold to account senior officers from Suffolk County Council (SCC) and the NHS Ipswich & East Suffolk, NHS West Suffolk and NHS Great Yarmouth & Waveney clinical commissioning groups (CCGs). It comprises councillors, officers, clinical commissioning group staff and voluntary organisations such as Suffolk Parent Carer Network.

SCC’s Cabinet Member for Education, Gordon Jones, and his deputy Chris Chambers represent the Conservatives while Labour's Jack Abbott represents the opposition. The group’s next meeting is due to take place in September.


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