Consultation open from 4 January to 28 February 2022.
I am delighted to introduce this consultation document that is designed 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. The strategy, and this consultation document, have been produced by Achieving for Children (AfC) who are commissioned to deliver children’s services in Windsor and Maidenhead on behalf of the Council. The aim of the strategy is to improve our services for children and young people with SEND.
Within the strategy, we have set out our vision of what we want to achieve; our mission stating how we will do this; and our six priorities which outline the actions we will undertake to deliver for children and young people. A key element of this is a commitment to work in partnership to achieve the high-quality provision that RBWM’s children, young people and their families deserve.
You are invited to contribute to this consultation which will take place between January and February 2022 so we are able to gather the views of stakeholders, including parents, children and young people and a wide range of professionals and practitioners.
Any feedback received will shape the final strategy which will then be considered at SEND Strategy Board in April 2022. Should it be approved, we will also use the feedback to guide the implementation of the strategy.
Please take part in the consultation because we really want to hear your views.
Kevin McDaniel, Achieving for Children Director of Children’s Services in Windsor and Maidenhead
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:
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.
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.
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.
Details of how you can get involved are set out below:
Complete our consultation survey online
You can complete an online version of the questionnaire via this link: https://surveys.achievingforchildren.org.uk/s/RBWM_SEND_strategy_consultation/
The questionnaire is open from 4 January to 22 February 2022.
Request a paper copy of the survey or other accessible formats
If you require a paper copy, please use the contact details below: email@example.com
Attend a parent and carer meeting
Parents and carers are invited to attend one of the virtual meetings below, at which a senior manager from AfC Education and Inclusion services will explain the proposals.
Please book a place by using the appropriate link below.
Please let us know before the meeting if you have any special requirements, for example, an interpreter.
Thursday 13 January, 6-7.30pm - Virtual (via Google Meet) - Register your interest here
Monday 31 January, 10.00-11.30am - Virtual (via Google Meet) - Register your interest here
Attend our stakeholder event
We are holding a conference on 27 January 2022 at Moor Hall for a range of stakeholders, including local businesses.
Discuss with schools, settings and colleges
Talk to your child’s school, setting or college to find out how they are getting involved in the consultation as we are carrying out a range of events for children and young people across middle, secondary, upper and special schools to capture their views.
Take part in the Inclusion Participation Day
We are arranging for two representatives, aged 11 plus, from each secondary, upper and middle school in Windsor and Maidenhead to take part in our Inclusion Participation Day on Saturday 22 January 2022 from 10am until 2pm. Pupils can register their interest with their school SEN Coordinator.
How will the consultation findings be used?
Any feedback received will be considered alongside any existing information we have from children, young people and families about their experiences of SEND service. We will then use this information to shape our final SEND Strategy which will be considered by the SEND Steering Group in April 2022.
When the consultation has closed we will also publish a summary of comments received as part of this consultation in an anonymous format, removing any personal details. We will show where we have changed any proposals as a result of listening to people’s views. Where we have not made changes to our proposals we will explain why this was the case.