11:10AM, Wednesday 12 January 2022
The Royal Borough has launched a consultation to improve the offering for special educational needs (SEND) students – following concerns by some families over waiting times and lack of options.
Achieving for Children (AfC), which delivers children’s services in the orough, wrote: “Despite improvements to SEND services [since the SEND inspection in 2017], some children and young people and their families remain disappointed with the support they receive.”
Families told the service they do not always feel listened to when they share a concern about their child.
Too often, they must retell their story and this has meant that a need has not been identified early enough.
“Subsequently, there have been missed opportunities to address this need which has then got more challenging,” wrote AfC.
In addition, some families complained that not all education settings involve them in discussions around their child’s education. They feel that the support being offered is not enough.
Some have felt frustrated that applications for assessments have not been successful. Often they have had to resort to appeals or complaints.
Others said there is not a consistent approach to inclusion across borough schools.
This has made it difficult to decide which is the right school for their child.
Waiting lists for children to be seen by specialist services – such as Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) – were lambasted as too long.
Families also noted a lack of choice in post-16 provision. They had to request out-of-borough placements to find a holistic therapy offer.
AfC’s priorities now are to involve young people with SEND and their families in decision-making and work with educational settings to ensure all staff are trained in identifying SEND.
It will also work toward making sure there are enough specialist placements in the Royal Borough for all ages (0-25).
AfC is currently building a five-year strategy of improvements, spanning 2022-2027.
A public consultation is open from now until February 28.
It will outline AfC’s priorities in-depth and ask for resident's comments on each.
Parents and carers are also invited to attend one of two upcoming virtual meetings via Google Meet, at which a senior manager from AfC will explain the proposals.
The first is tonight (Thursday) at 6-7.30pm. The second is on Monday, January 31, 10-11.30am.
Find the links to meetings and the consultation at https://tinyurl.com/3zupa7ud