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SEND Strategy 2022-27 consultation

SEND Strategy 2022-27 consultation

Consultation response

In January we published the consultation below to gather views on the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead (RBWM)’s proposed five year Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) Strategy for 2022 to 2027. 

Here is our response to the consultation: SEND Strategy 2022-2027 Consultation Response (PDF) (published March 2022)

Consultation

Introduction

Why are we doing this consultation? 

RBWM has made significant improvements since the SEND inspection in 2017. This has been acknowledged by the Department for Education (DfE) who continue to make monitoring visits focusing on what evidence we have that changes are having an impact on the experience of children and young people with SEND. We have seen our schools actively engaging in applying for the RBWM Inclusion Mark which focuses on schools demonstrating inclusive teaching. Two new Resource Bases have opened for primary aged pupils with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and the Social, Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH) outreach service has been developed following consultation with head teachers. 

However, despite these improvements to its SEND services, some children and young people with SEND and their families remain disappointed with the support they receive. This is reflected in some of the comments we have received as part of our obligations under Section 30 of the Children and Families Act 2014 to keep our Local Offer under review. Families have told us: 

  • They do not always feel listened to when they share a concern about their child and so too often, they must retell their story. 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.
  • Not all education settings involve them in discussions around their child’s education and that they feel that the support being offered is not enough. 
  • They have felt frustrated that the application for an assessment has not been successful and so too often they have had to resort to appeals or complaints.
  • There is not a consistent approach to inclusion across RBWM schools and that this has made it difficult to decide which is the right school for their child.
  • The waiting lists are too long for their child to be seen by specialist services such as Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), Occupational Health and the Neurodiversity service. 
  • There is a lack of choice when it comes to post-16 provision and that they have had to request an out of borough placement in an independent setting as it is only there that there is the holistic wrap-around care and therapy offer. 

The aim of the strategy then is to improve outcomes for families and help raise the achievement of children and young people with SEND so that they can fulfil their potential. We want to strengthen the support we offer at a time when the amount of funding available is not keeping pace with the growing levels of need, such as autism and also those with a Social Emotional and Mental Health need.

What are we proposing in the strategy? 

The proposed strategy seeks to shift resources more towards early identification of children's and young people’s needs and supporting schools to have a wider universal offer. This is encapsulated in our vision, mission and priorities. We aim to provide more early support closer to home and wherever possible in mainstream schools and settings. With the right services in place locally, more children and young people will not have to travel further distances or go to high-cost placements.

It aligns with the commitment of RBWM Council to ‘build a borough of opportunity and innovation’ so that everyone benefits from ‘better life chances’. Our vision, mission and principles reflect the Council’s approach to achieve this which is to: 

  • Empower individuals, communities, and businesses to maximise their potential. 
  • Be evidence-led and invest in prevention. 
  • Shape our service delivery around our communities’ diverse needs and “get things right first time”.

The strategy proposes the following vision, mission and priorities: 

Vision

Every child and young person aged 0-25 with a special educational need and/or disability (SEND) in RBWM will be happy, healthy and achieve their fullest potential. All children and young people are entitled to an education that enables them to make progress so that they: achieve their best, become confident individuals living fulfilling lives, and make a successful transition into adulthood.

Mission

To implement an efficient and inclusive system where practitioners work with families, children and young people aged 0-25, to develop trust and confidence in order to build genuine and good quality partnerships. This will be achieved by practitioners from all sectors working together collaboratively to deliver the most appropriate local provision and support.

Priorities

1. Systems are in place so that the voices of our children, young people and families are heard and acted upon, so they can shape and inform how we work together to get the best results.

This means we will talk to children, young people with SEND and their families and involve them in planning and decision making.

2. Children and young people with special educational needs are identified earlier and supported in a timely and effective way in order to improve their outcomes and wellbeing.

This means that we will work with our educational settings to ensure that all staff are trained in the identification of a SEND.

3. It is our aim that all RBWM mainstream provision will be welcoming, accessible and inclusive, adhering to the SEND Code of Practice, so that they can meet the needs of most children and young people aged 0-25 who have special educational needs and/or disabilities.

This means you can expect your mainstream local school or setting to make every reasonable adjustment to meet the needs of children or young people with SEND.

4. There is an increased focus on earlier targeted intervention and multi-agency prevention to offer help and meet needs at the earliest opportunity, reducing the demand on high cost, high need interventions.

This means you can expect teachers and multi-agency professionals to plan and effectively meet your child’s special educational needs, including accessing targeted support. Waiting times for specialist services will be reduced. 

5. Development of the right range of specialist provision within the RBWM to ensure that as many children and young people as possible can be educated in a local educational setting.

This means that we will work towards ensuring that there are enough specialist placements available in RBWM for children and young people of all ages 0-25 to meet all levels of need.

6. Young people with SEND are helped to become resilient and confident so that they can lead independent and fulfilling lives in their own communities.

This means that we will work across education, health and social care to ensure that young people with SEND experience a successful transition into adulthood. 

How will we consult with people? 

We will be asking for views on our proposals from children, young people and families who use SEND services. We will work with our key stakeholders in schools, settings, providers and other professional bodies to identify the best way to consult with families of children and young people.

We will be consulting with a wide group of stakeholders from education, health, social care and we will make use of professional forums arranged during the consultation period as part of this.