Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) – workshop report 2016

The 2016 Warwickshire Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) Programme Workshop was held on the 23rd November.

A big thanks to those 81 people who joined the workshop and those who followed the event live @WarksCoPro on Twitter.

There was a wide range of people at the workshop including parents, professionals and young people. It was brilliant to have everyone together to share experiences and talk about how we can continue to work together.

1. Aims of the workshop

  • To bring together a range of people interested in the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Programme.
  • To look at the last 12 months of the SEND Programme.
  • To share good practice and developments in three key areas.
  • To look at how we can continue to work together in the next 12 months.

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2. Children and Young People’s Voices in the SEND Programme

We heard an update on working together (co-production) at the highest level of the SEND Programme. Children and young people were part of designing their hygiene facilities. The standard features IDS asks for include: good location, peninsular layout, level taps long hose to shower, and height adjustable changing bed. An overhead ceiling track hoist may be needed as well. Pupils have added other features, such as a full length mirror, posters on the wall to make it less clinical and a modesty curtain.

Here are some of the pupils’ words:

  • “One of the best things in school for me are the automatic doors – definitely – I can just press the button and go to the toilet or anywhere in school on my own. The door to my toilet just presses to open and close too, it does this slowly and even lights up to say vacant or engaged. This is so good, I would so miss it if it wasn’t there. It shows I don’t need anyone with me all the time”
  • “I feel confident to just ask if there was anything else I needed”
  • “I like that I could put my Star Wars pictures on the wall, it makes it more homely”
  • “My new toilet is great!”

How children aged 0 – 5 years take part in choices and decisions. IDS shared their work in involving very young children in making decisions, using different methods, including use of toys and non-verbal communication. By working in this way, very young children do not necessarily “need a voice to make a choice”.

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3. Preparing for Adulthood – new post 16 college developments and student experiences

We heard about some great work with young people with SEND aged 16 – 25 years. There were four talks in total. Two mainstream colleges were awarded funding from Warwickshire County Council to build new SEND learning spaces:

Warwickshire College Group shared a video of new development The White House at their Moreton Morell Campus. The activities at The White House help young people towards their journey to adulthood. They learn independent skills needed for working, living and being part of the community. The programmes also include supported internships, traineeships, apprenticeships or further study.

North Warwickshire and Hinckley College talked about building a multi-agency Hub. The Hub will provide many opportunities for young people, including enterprises aimed at providing real working environments. The Hub will also promote independent living using a training flat.

Here are some of their words:

  • “I did sport, I learned how to cook and I learned how to get through life. Things like how to get a job and how to meet friends. It was awesome.”
  • “I like being at college. I have met new friends and I’m more independent.”
  • “The day I started I was shy and didn’t talk to anyone, but now I have been here for two months, and made a better person out of myself.”

We also heard about some support available to young people in the world of work:

  • Hereward College presented their work in Supported Internships. A supported internship internship is a study programme where young people spend most of the year in the workplace. Hereward College found that students learn and develop more quickly during Supported Internships. Doing the programme meant that students were ten times more likely to find a job. Their students have a range of different roles across several companies. companies. We heard from student Prasant who shared what he had been working on during his internship.
  • Heart of England Mencap shared information about their two employment projects in South Warwickshire. Progress for 16 – 24 years olds, and Accelerate for people aged 25+. 25+. The projects are a starting point for people with learning difficulties who want to make make changes in their lives. Heart of England Mencap offer one to one support and small small group work opportunities. They help people to find information on employment, volunteering and training or education courses.

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4. Transforming Care Partnership – improving the local model of care for people with learning disability and/or autism

The Transforming Care Partnership was one of the most talked about parts of the event.

This was a joint presentation between Warwickshire County Council, NHS Arden and GEM Commissioning Support Unit, and the Learning Disability Partnership Board. The group shared distressing scenes from the 2011 Winterbourne View video footage that led to the national Transforming Care changes.

Winterbourne View was a private hospital in Gloucestershire which was shown in a BBC documentary to be mistreating its patients, who were adults with learning disabilities and/or autism. During the workshop, the Transforming Care Partnership group shared the conclusions of the enquiry into the abuse at Winterbourne View.

At first, Transforming Care focused on adults in residential homes for mental health, working to bring them back into community settings. The new work of Transforming Care follows on from that, making sure care is delivered closer to home for 14 – 25 year olds with learning disability and/or autism. The first task is to create a risk register of high risk patients ending up in hospital.

There was a period of discussion after the presentation, looking at two key questions:

  1. How do we work together to identify children and young people at risk of admission to hospital or 52 week placements?
  2. What needs to happen to ensure good links between the delivery of Transforming Care for children and young people and the SEND programme?

The key suggestions that came out of this discussion were:

  • Professionals such as local teams, police, social care and the safeguarding board to be able to identify children and young people at risk of admission to hospital or 52 week placements.
  • Having robust and clear pathways and processes to make sure families and professionals understand who should be referred, how and when.
  • Sharing data between organisations quickly and efficiently.
  • Training professionals on the Transforming Care Partnership, the pathways, processes, and how to act on them.

Other suggestions included:

  • Linking the Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans with the Transforming Care Partnership and referral process.
  • Linking with CAMHS and looking at the mental health aspect.
  • Early involvement and link to the SEND Programme, not just through EHC plans. Working with families and universal services at first point of access.
  • Looking particularly at period of transition from children’s services to adult services, approximately between the ages of 16 – 20.

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5. SEND Programme 2016 – 2017

The SEND Board Development Manager also introduced the SEND Programme itself and talked about 2016 – 2017 plans. During the presentation, he shared:

  • Where the SEND Programme is up to
  • How it measures up against the inspection framework
  • And the new SEND Programme arrangements for the SEND Board and workstreams (working groups).

He also shared a list of achievements from the past two years, to show just how much has happened in that time. There was a period of discussion after the presentation, looking at two questions about areas of strength and improvement.

The key responses from this discussion were:

Do our areas of strength seem accurate? Have we missed anything?Do our areas for improvement seem accurate? Have we missed anything here?
  • Good multi-agency working arrangements in the SEND Programme.
  • Matrix of need is being used and is helpful. Education, Health and Care Plan quality – not just about completion rate.
  • Youth Justice Service is an asset, they buy in Educational Psychology consultancy. Policy of not excluding pupils is working well.
  • Support for the post-16 transitions process.
  • Professional attendance and reports being made available for review meetings so decisions can be made.

Other areas highlighted included:

  • Children and young people not in education, employment or training for long periods.
  • Child or young person’s voice in the Education, Health and Care plans.
  • Children and young person with significant levels of needs but don’t meet service thresholds.
  • More promotion of the Local Offer.
  • Parents’ understanding of the provision matrix and what to expect from a school.
  • Nursery school changes, including funding reduction, needs to be considered.

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6. Activities

Children and Young People’s Voices – Empathy Maps

This activity was designed to help us work together to better understand children and young people’s perspectives and experiences. Attendees were asked to think about the Children and Young People’s Voices talks they heard, and their own lived or working experience. Each table had a brief child or young person’s scenario, based on a real person, to focus on.

The task was to put ourselves into that child or young person’s shoes and fill out the empathy map with what they might think/feel/do etc.

Preparing for Adulthood – How might we support this work?

Attendees were asked to think about the Preparing for Adulthood SEND Post-16 talks they heard, and their own lived or working experience. We then used sticky notes to share ideas about how we could support this SEND Post-16 work as individuals and organisations.

The key suggestions that came out of this sticky note exercise were:

  • Organisations working together and sharing knowledge to provide a better experience for young people and their families
  • Organisations already involved in the SEND Programme, such as Warwickshire County Council and Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership Trust, offering Supported Internships
  • Information on Supported Internships being provided to employers, and information on health conditions being shared with them
  • More opportunities for young people to try shorter but more varied work experience placements over a longer period of time
  • Adult services to come on board before a young person’s 18th birthday
  • More information being available to young people and their families about the support available in finding or staying in employment.

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7. Feedback from attendees

From the feedback forms:

93% of respondents said they had learned something new.

The topic most people learned something new about was Preparing for Adulthood.

  • Yes and…’ useful to use at home (parent/carer)
  • Good to share discussions with multi-disciplinary agencies (SEND workstream member)
  • Very informative – great to hear from people about their individual journeys (service provider)

96% of respondents rated the value of the day as “good” or “very good”.

The most helpful aspects of the day were the discussions, networking opportunities, and the knowledge to take away.

  • I learned about the Range of activity under SEND agenda (WCC officer)
  • Was unaware of Transforming Care Partnership and its work – nice to know we can link into this (school staff)
  • Very informative, relaxed environment, helped by fun and engaging activities (health representative)

Key comments for consideration in planning next workshop:

  • Discussion time was the area for improvement with most comments – respondents enjoyed the activities and discussions and would have liked more time on this.
  • Several respondents would have liked to see a focus on young people who are not able to access work. For example, a look at independent living.

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8. What will we do with the information gathered at this workshop

  • Contact details have been shared with attendees to make sure that conversations can be continued and that new links can be made to work together in 2017.
  • The SEND Programme discussion feedback has been passed on to the SEND Board Development Manager. This will be used to look at the self-evaluation documents and update the SEND programme plan accordingly.
  • The Transforming Care discussion feedback has been passed on to the Transforming Care Partnership and SEND Board Development Manager.
  • Good practice examples of working with young people have been noted by the Co-production Officer and the SEND Board Development Manager. These examples have been recorded to prepare for the local area inspection. We will share good practice across the SEND Programme through training and advice to schools. We will also share with the wider SEND community through the @WarksCoPro social media accounts, and the SEND Voice newsletter.
  • General workshop feedback will be used to help plan the next SEND Programme Workshop.

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Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) – workshop report 2016 was last updated on March 30, 2017.