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Special educational needs updates

Special educational needs and disabilities updates Spring term 2018

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Feedback gathered by the Special Educational Needs team

The Special Educational Needs (SEN) team are gaining feedback on how parents, children, young people and professionals found the: 

  • Transfer review meetings 
  • Education, Health and Care (EHC) assessment meetings

Of the autumn 2017 terms feedback forms that were completed the main findings are as follows:   

  • 100% of parents felt prepared for their child’s transfer review meeting
  • 100% of parents felt prepared for their child’s EHC meeting
  • 100% of parents felt satisfied with the transfer review meetings with the majority feeling very satisfied (81%)
  • 100% of parents felt satisfied with the EHC meetings with the majority feeling very satisfied (52%)
  • The majority of parents felt able to contribute at the meetings
  • 100% young people who attended their meetings felt they were able to say what they wanted   
One parent wrote, “Was not sure what to expect but very happy with pace and general idea of meeting. I feel as his Mum I have been heard. Thank you”.

Feedback postcards are available at every meeting we would encourage you to complete them to help us ensure the process is working for families. You are welcome to take the postcards away with you and send it to us. 

Feedback was also gathered from a range of professionals including school staff, health professionals, Educational Psychologist, learning support services and ASSIST.     

93% of these professionals felt prepared and satisfied with the EHC meetings and transfer review meetings. Feedback from professionals included “Be more collaborative and specific with goals”.   

The special educational needs and disability information advice and support service (SENDIASS)  drop in service  

The Special Educational Needs and Disability Information Advice and Support Service (SENDIASS) will be offering monthly drop in sessions for parents to come and discuss anything special educational needs related.

Venue: Wokingham Youth Centre, 35 Reading Road, Wokingham, RG41 1EG 

Time: 10am until 12 noon

To find out dates the drop in sessions run please visit the SENDIASS drop in surgeries web page. 

Transferring to secondary school for children with EHCPs leaflets 

The Special Educational Needs and Disability Information Advice and Support Service (SENDIASS) have produced a new leaflet aimed at parents of children in years 5 and 6 who have an EHCP explaining the secondary transfer process, from considering different schools, through to updating EHC Plans and naming a school. 

Read the Transfer to secondary school for children with Education Health and Care Plans (PDF documents)  

Transferring Statements of SEN to Education, Health and Care Plans  

Education, Health and Care (EHC) Transfers for children who had Statements of Special Educational Needs (SEN) to EHC plans are due to be completed by 31 March 2018.  

Although it has taken longer to complete the transfers than we would have wished we have now completed 89% and are on target to meet this deadline.  

Many thanks to the children, young people and their parents and schools for working collaboratively to achieve this.

The Early Years Inclusion Service now offers enhanced support to childminders

The Early Years Inclusion Service now extends their full service to childminders who are in receipt of the Early Years Free Entitlement.

This means that with parental permission, a childminder caring for a child with whom there are developmental concerns is now able to access similar services as a nurseries or pre schools, this including observation by the Early Years Inclusion Advisor (EYIA).  For children with childminders not in receipt of the free entitlement funding, a telephone consultation service is available.

Childminders can request access to these services by completing the request for EYIA involvement document on the Early Years Hub.  

Consultation on SEND Services in Wokingham and REACH Wokingham AGM

Steve Nyakatawa, our SEN Transformation Consultant, attended the consultation to talk about the SEND Local Area Inspection and share the headlines from our SEND self-evaluation. 

REACH Wokingham collected the views of parents who attended the SEND consultation to feed back to the council and into the local areas OFSTED Inspection when it happens. REACH Wokingham also held their AGM to update parent carers on the work they did last year and their plans for next year. More details are available on the REACH website.

0 to 25 Special Education Needs and Disabilities (SEND) Strategy 2017 to 2019

Wokingham Borough Council have been working on a new  0 to 25 Special Education Needs and Disabilities (SEND) Strategy 2017 to 2019 (PDF document) and would like comments from parent carers on this strategy document. 

Please send any comments to: Sharon.Scott@wokingham.gov.ukand copy in  reachwokingham@hotmail.co.uk 

Closing dates for comments is:  Friday 16 March 2018

Young people contributed to an article in the winter edition of Borough News

Two Reading College students who were involved in making three videos for the Local Offerabout starting Reading College and the type of support that is available to students, helped to promote these videos by giving an interview for an article in Borough News.

If you did not get a chance to see the article please go to the our News website and view the winter edition of Borough News, the article appears on page 19.

Information, advice and support for children and young people  

The  Special Educational Needs and Disability Information Advice and Support Service (SENDIASS) have made a short video that informs young people up to the age of 25 about how their service can provide support. 

SENDIASS can help children and young people:

  • To complete their annual reviews or EHC assessments
  • Understand reports
  • To express their views, discuss their concerns about their learning and support them at meetings
  • Understand the help they can reasonably expect
  • Find other sources of support and advice

SENDIASS can support young people alongside their parents or separately. Visit the Local Offer to view the video.  

The Local Offer guide for young people

After receiving feedback from young people on the Local Offer a new young people’s entry section has been created which includes videos and easy read guides that the young people said they liked.

Please visit our Local Offer guide for young people and share the contents with young people. 

The Local Offer Leaflet

Local Offer leaflet (PDF document) has been development with REACH Wokingham the parent forum to inform parents, carers and young people how to access the Local Offer and how it can help. A digital version of the leaflet can be found on the Local Offer section of our website.

Copies are currently in the process of being distributed to parents, carers and local services.

Changes to Short Breaks

The council continue to work together with REACH Wokingham and parents to develop the Short Breaks statement which is now available on the Local Offer. 

Read the Short Breaks for Children with Disabilities Statement (PDF document).

When we launched the Statement in October 2017, we promised that we would continue to review the statement, taking into account feedback from parents and carers as well as addressing concerns raised by REACH. A revised version of the statement will be available shortly. 

Before Christmas, parents and carers received a letter from Wokingham Borough Council explaining how the changes would affect families. As we previously communicated, there has been no reduction in the Short Breaks budget.

Self Assessment Form 

We're also in the process of developing the self-assessment form which families can use to request Short Break funding if they are not known to a Children’s Services team and feel that they would be eligible. We had said the form would be available by the end of January but we want to make sure we get it right, and are hoping to publish the form very soon. 

We will promote the self-assessment form through a local campaign to reach all families with SEND. It will also be available on the Local Offer. The campaign will let families know how they can access other services and support if they are not eligible for Short Break funding.

Short Break Providers

Work with our current providers continues to progress. We have received applications from current Short Break providers in the voluntary sector to be on our Preferred Provider List. We have also launched a campaign to encourage providers of Short Breaks not previously commissioned by Wokingham Borough Council to apply to the Preferred Provider List to give families more choice.  

Providers have asked for an extension to the application process therefore we will be publishing the Preferred Provider List and booking system in July. This means that over the Easter holidays the Short Break offer will remain unchanged and you won’t be asked to utilise your Wokingham Card until July 2018. Families who receive their Wokingham Card from April onwards will be able to use the card elsewhere. 

We would like to develop the booking system with parents, and have asked REACH to liaise with parent who would be interested in working with us to develop the system. We look forward to hearing from you. 

Please contact REACH Wokingham by email:  info@reachwokingham.com.

Next Steps

  • In March we launch our campaign to identify families who may be eligible for a Short Break
  • In April families will start to receive their Wokingham Card

If you have a question about the Short Breaks statement, or any of the above information please contact the CAN network:

SENDIASS are looking for volunteers to enable us to help more parents

Do you have some time to spare? Have you benefited from the Special Educational Needs and Disability Information Advice and Support Service (SENDIASS) and would like to help parents or young people in a similar situation? 

We have been busy devising a training package and are now recruiting volunteers to enable us to help even more parents and young people. 

Tasks may include:

  • Supporting a parent or young person at a meeting with professionals
  • Helping a parent to fill in their annual review paperwork
  • Attending parent group meetings and explain how SENDIASS can help

If you are interested please ring us on 0118 908 8233 to arrange an informal chat about what is involved.   

Steering Group 

SENDIASS, in co-production with REACH Wokingham, are forming a steering group comprising parent carers, education, health and care professionals to develop the service we offer to ensure it best meets the needs of the parents, carers, children and young people of Wokingham Borough. We held our first meeting this month and were able to gain some very useful information about how others view our service and some suggestions for improvements. 

In the future we hope the steering group will guide the development of Wokingham SENDIASS, make us even more responsive to the needs of parents, carers and young people.

We are still looking for parent carers to join this group. We will meet once a term at Wokingham Youth Centre, alternating between mornings (9.30am) and evenings (7.30pm). 

Please contact us if you are interested by 

Optalis Supported Employment Service Manager wins 'highly commended' award

Donna Morgans, Optalis Supported Employment Service Manager received the ‘highly commended’ award in the Workplace Mental Health Awards category at the Thames Valley Business Awards. 

Visit the latest news section of the Optalis website for more information including a few words from Donna on how she felt about receiving the award.

Feedback and comments 

We're always keen to hear feedback from you about our Local Offer. This can be provided via our online Local Offer survey or by emailing the Family Information Service at info.families@wokingham.gov.uk

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