Feedback and redesign of the local offer

Feedback on the Local Offer is received in a variety of ways:

  • from engagement work with children and young people with SEND
  • from our annual workshop with stakeholders
  • through our ‘SEND workstream’ meeting with representatives of the local parent-carer forum and SENDIAS service

The main focus of feedback this year has been:

  • updating and changing content/layout of the SEND Local Offer website
  • input into new contractual arrangements for SENDIAS, independent specialist provision and overnight short breaks
  • challenge, consideration and comment on key policies and guidance documents

Feedback on the Local Offer / SEND programme from Young People

SEND Local Offer website

We visited college students to test a draft design for the new Local Offer website.

What you said:
It was difficult to find key information independently when using the Warwickshire Directory.

What we did:
Your feedback and ideas have been shared with staff developing the new Warwickshire Directory.


What you said:
You were looking for more practical information on living independently – e.g. budgeting, where to get advice on moving out.

What we did:
We have added information about budgeting and advice to the Preparing for Adulthood page.


What you said:
Visual cues (such as pictures, icons, symbols) are needed for those with learning difficulties to find and understand information.

What we did:
Your feedback and ideas have been shared with the staff developing the Warwickshire County Council main website. This is so we can work on making all Warwickshire County Council websites accessible to a wider range of people with SEND.


Life after school – work with schools

We visited special school councils to find out what you hoped to do after school.

What you said:
Spending time with friends and with family were particularly important to you. The main reasons for this were enjoying each other’s company and fun activities together.

What we did:
We are working with local colleges to ensure that young people with SEND can access education locally, establishing and maintaining friendships with other young people in their community.


What you said:
Many of you knew what you’d like to do for work after school. Most jobs you told us about were creative, support, sports and public service roles. Reasons given for choosing these types of jobs included: wanting to help others and keep them safe, curiosity (“I’d like to know how they…”) and current enjoyment of that activity or similar activities. Other types of jobs included support, therapeutic, animal care and technical roles.

What we did:
Warwickshire has a stated ambition of offering 100 supported internships for young people with SEND by 2020/21. Supported internships are recognised as a key success factor in going on to secure employment.


What you said:
Many of you wanted to live with family members. Some wanted to live alone, with a friend, or with a partner and children. There were lots of different ideas about where to live. Many of you told us why you’d chosen those ideas. Reasons included:

  • being able to live by yourself,
  • that it would help you to get the job you wanted and that it was somewhere you had enjoyed visiting

What we did:
We want to build discussions about independent living and independent living skills earlier into the EHC plan process (ie. at annual reviews from Year 9 onwards).


What you said:
Many of you said that you’d definitely like to go on to study or training after school. The main reason for this was to help you get the job you wanted. Other reasons included family expectations and personal reasons (e.g. wanting to work with family).

What we did:
Warwickshire is supporting more young people with SEND over the age of 16. In 2018, 1,065 young people In Year 12 and above were supported with EHC plans. We are working to develop pathways from education to employment.


What you said:
Some of you would like to speak at events about your experiences and to represent your school.

What we did:
We have involved young people with SEND at previous Preparation for Adulthood events and will look to do so at future events.


Overnight short breaks

We visited some overnight short breaks groups. We found out about your short breaks experiences and your life outside of short breaks.

What you said:
You would like to live locally when you grow up – for example,

  • at your current home to be close to family,
  • at your short break place because you enjoyed your time there, or living with friends from school, as you had fun together

You had wanted to get a job in the future. For example, teaching activities, or working at a short breaks place. The main reasons for this were that you thought it would be fun, and you wanted to help others.
For some of you, group games and time with others your age was important during your short break.
For some of you, learning food skills such as helping to set the dinner table and making food was important, “it would help me later on”.
For some of you, spending time with pets was also important. This was because you could play with them and/or enjoy joint activities, such as walks out, with your pet and family.

What we did:
All the above points will be considered as part of the re-commissioning of these services when current contracts end.


SEND Information, Advice and Support (SENDIAS)

We wanted to find out what you thought and felt about SENDIAS. This included:

  • What works well
  • What could be done differently
  • What was important for the next four years.

What you said:
You wanted information about what support is available in an easy to read/listen to, jargon free format.

What we did:
Following this feedback, we have changed the following parts of the contract for SENDIAS:

  • Clear information, advice and support that’s easy to understand
  • Support to help you find and use information yourself
  • Telephone advice and face to face support
  • Promoting and encouraging the young person’s voice
  • Developing the marketing and promotion of SENDIAS Services
  • Service standards

What you said:
You preferred to get information from websites and Youtube. You talked about using how to guides and video clips to find things out for yourselves.

What we did:
We shared your views with the people who run SENDIAS so they could look at ways to help with this.


What you said:
You did not know that SENDIAS was a service for young people, as well as parents and carers.

What we did:
As part of the communications plan for the new service, we will be making people aware that SENDIAS also offers support to young people.


Independent Specialist Schools and Colleges

We wanted to find out what you thought about specialist school or colleges. This included:

  • What works well
  • What could be done differently

What you said:
The most popular answer to the survey was: “My school or college has helped me make progress with my education and learning”

What we did:
In our new contracts (subject to approval) with independent specialist providers we have made sure that your views are included, including:

  • Outcomes for specialist schools:
    • Feeling Safe and behaviour management
    • Support to be healthy
    • Voice of children
    • Focus on preparing for adulthood
  • Quality and performance reporting

What you said:
The least popular answer to the survey was “My school or college has encouraged me to think about independent living”

What we did:
We want to see independent specialist schools and colleges give you more help to get ready for work and independent living. This has been included in the new contract (subject to approval).


What you said:
Many of you said your school or college had helped you. Examples included help with your learning, help when you struggle in lessons or help to express your feelings.

What we did:
We will ask for your views every year, so we can measure progress. We will look at different ways we could do this, including a survey.


Feedback from the annual SEND workshop with parents, carers and professionals

The annual SEND workshop focussed on improving the Local Offer website. An exercise with over 60 delegates produced the basis for redesigning the Local Offer to a more tasked based approach.

The Local Offer has been re-designed following testing with parents and carers and groups of young people. It was re-launched in June 2018.

What you said:
‘Make the website easy to read’.

What we did:
We reviewed every page on the Local Offer by people not involved in SEND to ensure plain English and cut out the jargon.


What you said:
‘Improve the navigation’

What we did:
We have changed the layout, introducing an A-Z feature and new front page with most frequent links.


What you said:
‘Keep it up to date’

What we did:
When reviewing every page, we removed outdated documents and updated information. This is an ongoing task.


What you said:
‘Put all documents in one place’

What we did:
We have put all referral, policy and statutory documents in one place at www.warwickshire.gov.uk/sendocs with a link from the SEND Local Offer homepage.


Feedback from SEND workstreams (including parent and carer representation)

Local Offer

What you said:
Focus on the Local Offer at the autumn workshop.

What we did:
The annual SEND workshop focussed on the Local Offer (as per section 8).


What you said:
Carry out an audit of how well we are engaging parents and carers (using Council for Disabled Children audit tool).

What we did:
The audit was completed in the autumn highlighting strengths and areas for improvement.


What you said:
The group considered the SEND self-evaluation which informs priorities for the year. Parent representatives in particular raised concerns about support for those who do not meet the threshold for statutory services, ie. those supported at SEND Support and Early Help.

What we did:
The self-evaluation document has been updated and planning for improvement in these areas is in progress.


EHC Planning

What you said:
Change the Warwickshire EHC plans survey questions to include preparation for adulthood questions and promote it online.

What we did:
Updated the questions, moved the survey online and have promoted in on social media.


What you said:
Focus on person-centred planning.

What we did: Reviewed and redesigned our training on how to conduct an EHC plan review with a person-centred planning approach.


What you said:
Target personalisation and outcomes training to wider health care teams.

What we did:
New outcomes training is being rolled out to therapy teams and CAMHS from Summer 2018.


What you said:
Where possible and appropriate, link up EHC plan annual reviews with social care ‘Child in Need’ reviews.

What we did:
Where appropriate these have been joined up in certain special schools. This is being further developed.


What you said:
Publish information on personal budgets along with the national video on what personal budgets are on the Local Offer.

What we did:
Information has been updated at www.warwickshire.gov.uk/sendpersonalbudgets


What you said:
The group considered and approved a plan to improve the timeliness of EHC plans being issued within 20 weeks.

What we did:
Following investment in the SEND Assessment and Review team, the local authority is working to a plan to issue 90% of EHC plans within 20 weeks by March 2019.


Service redesign

What you said:
Put the guidance about admissions to specialist provision in a more prominent place on the Local Offer website.

What we did:
The admissions guidance was summarised and added.


What you said:
The group considered and commented on the ‘Toileting Guidance’ for schools.

What we did:
The guidance has been updated and published at www.warwickshire.gov.uk/sendocs


What you said:
Review the website in terms of advice for parental requests for a section 17 assessments for a child with a disability.

What we did:
We have updated the website content regarding social care and we are working to improve it further.


What you said:
Further develop options for overnight short breaks

What we did:
Following a workshop with parents and carers in summer 2017, we have been developing new service specifications for overnight short breaks, when the existing contracts expire.


Preparation for Adulthood

What you said:
Developing a ‘Transition Guide’ similar to the one used in Sheffield.

What we did:
A transitions guide for Warwickshire is in development.


What you said:
Arrange an event with National Development Team for Inclusion to gain more understanding about helping young people with SEND get jobs when they leave school.

What we did:
Following the workshop, Warwickshire set the ambition of 100 supported internships being offered for young people with SEND by 2020/21.


What you said:
The group considered, amended and approved the post-16 SEND matrix, the guiding document for decision-making on post 16 support.

What we did:
The guidance has been updated and published at www.warwickshire.gov.uk/sendocs


Transport

In January 2018, the County Council approved a new Home to School Transport Policy, following public consultation in the autumn term.

The Warwickshire Parent Carer Forum has commented on the proposals prior to approval, and the implementation of the policy following approval. Changes were made to the original proposed policy, and to the planned implementation of the policy following this discussion.

Freedom of Information Requests

The following 31 Freedom of Information requests related to SEND were made to Warwickshire County Council from April 2017-March 2018. The responses are published online

  1. Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHs), and all-age mental health spend. 2969828
  2. Children and young people with vision impairment. 2499430
  3. Children with Learning Disabilities. 2833928
  4. Children with special educational needs 3118428
  5. Commissioning of speech & language services. 2548928
  6. Community Transport 3104728
  7. Conversions of Statements of SEN to EHCPs. 2912228
  8. Detection of learning difficulties 3199729
  9. Eating disorder referrals 2777329
  10. Education for children with special educational needs (SEN). 2465428
  11. EHC plans 2892128
  12. Electively home educated pupils 2493531
  13. Employment support for disabled people 2910028
  14. Funding matrix used in special needs schools 3045728
  15. Independent Sector Placements. 2966030
  16. Private hospital schools 2495929
  17. Private independent alternative provision 2496029
  18. Provision of education for 19- to 25-year-olds. 2424429
  19. Pupil-referral units and CAMHS services 2798728
  20. SEN & Disability ‘ Top-Up & High Needs Banding Allocations. 2803828
  21. SEN children transitioning from primary to secondary school in September 2017. 2497031
  22. SEN funding. 2494528
  23. SEND staff details. 2498128
  24. SEND Tribunals and pupils with a statement of SEN / EHC plan not registered at any school. 2648229
  25. Services for children and young people with disabilities 2481428
  26. Social care assessments. 2687129
  27. Social care services for children/disabled children 2811528
  28. Special Education Needs & Disability, and, Adult Social Care transport contracts. 3188528
  29. Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) services 2680031
  30. Structure Chart for the Education and SEN. 2901828
  31. Training of transport professionals to transport children to/from school. 2856631

Complaints received by SEND Services

In 2017-18, five formal complaints regarding SEND (education and social care) were escalated to stage 2. Four were upheld and one partly upheld. 24 stage 1 complaints were recorded on the Contact Us system. In terms of SEN appeals, 42 cases were referred to mediation in the calendar year of 2017. 27 were resolved through mediation.

Compliments to SEND services

Please find below a selection of written comments received from parents regarding SEND services. Names have been anonymised.

Text from a parent about the Flex Learning Team and alternative provider, LAMP – September 2017

“Just amazingly pleased how the week has started and the changes at Lamp are quite outstanding. A really enjoyed the start of his music course. A isn’t too worried about science so let’s concentrate on the English, maths and music and music theory – if we accomplish this then we are doing brilliantly! Thanks so much – loving the new kitchen at LAMP for sure as well. Looking forward to this school year for the first time in many many years.”

Email from a parent thanking a teacher with the Flex Learning Team – September 2017

“…Can I thank you for supporting C to not only improve, but vastly improve, his attainment in English during a very difficult time. The combination of the medium of online learning and your inspirational and enthusiastic teaching has taken from B from being a reluctant writer to one who now writes in his spare time for fun!!! The quality and quantity of his written work across all subjects has improved vastly and this is due, in no small part, to your gentle but effective encouragement which gave B so much confidence.

“You may be interested to know he has become a contributor on a news site for one of his favourite Japanese toy stores, for which he has to write two lengthy articles a week. For a young man who once found writing so difficult, this is quite a step forward!!”

Email from a head teacher about a teacher in the Specialist Teaching Service – September 2017

“It is clear that your enthusiasm, energy and understanding make you the perfect person for your role. I appreciate how incredibly difficult it must be to try and magic people out of nowhere to support an ever-growing number of children with complex needs…Many thanks for your hard work in arranging this provision.”

Feedback from parents about a specialist teaching assistant in the Specialist Teaching Service – October 2017

“I just wanted to let you know that I’ve received really lovely feedback today from C’s parents saying that they were really impressed with your work with her and how they are really grateful for all of your hard work. I just wanted to pass their comments on to you and reiterate how impressed that I’ve been with your management of this complex case. Really well done.”

Email from a head teacher of a nursery about IDS 0-5 team – September 2017

“I just wanted to pass on my thanks for the support we’ve had from both D and E in managing a situation with a child recently. Their professionalism and mediation with parents have been exemplary and I am truly grateful for all they have done to support both the Nursery and also the family to make informed choices for their child.

“E works closely with us for the many children she supports here and is a credit to your service – her relationship with children, parents and staff has a huge impact on the Nursery experience we provide.

“I’m very proud of our Nursery and how we support SEND both in the Nursery and across the Early Years Centre, but I recognise that we could not do this without the knowledge and skills your service provides.”

Feedback from SENDIAS to IDS 0-5 team – November 2017

“Just in a Council for Disabled Children training session for West Midlands SENDIAS staff on early years. Very proud to be able to mention WIncKS and the co-production with parents etc and how many providers signed up. Thank you and well done again!”

Feedback from school governor following SEN Governor Training – February 2018

“Thank you for sending the Website Health check so promptly. I’m meeting with our specialist teacher tomorrow so it’s timely info/advice. Thank you too for the very purposeful and focussed session on Thursday evening. As I indicated the day after Ofsted I was exhausted and very tempted to drop out … I’m glad I stuck to this. Thank you.”

Feedback from a parent (and teacher) to SEND Plan Co-ordinator – May 2018

“I am really pleased with her EHCP. One of the best I have read!!”

Email from a parent to SEND Plan Co-ordinator – October 2017:

“I am emailing with regard to our daughter… Both M and I want to let you know that we really appreciate your help and constant support since we moved to Warwickshire in June 2016. We have had a difficult time with O’s school and education since we moved as she still attends a Leicestershire school that, for us, was not providing the education we felt O deserved. We were put in touch with you very soon after we moved and you have gone above and beyond to help us with our difficulties and spent what seems an enormous amount of time and effort fighting for, and putting into place all that is required to ensure things are right for O.

Your wonderful efforts have not been in vain and we are now very happy with the support in place. Your efforts to secure funding and qualified staff who can deliver M.S.I provision have been absolutely amazing and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. You have always been there for me when I needed to discuss things with a cheery disposition a willingness to help and you have always kept us in the loop for which we are eternally grateful. M and I are absolutely certain that without your brilliant support we would not be where we are today.

You have helped us settle problems with her school and things are looking bright for her future now. We are much much happier now that the school is able to put into place the provision that was missing and this is in no small part down to you. Although we have never met, You are a wonderful kind and very special lady and I believe Warwickshire SEND is lucky to have you as a member of their staff. I hope they appreciate, as we do, that it is rare to find people like yourself who have pride in their work and will go above and beyond to help others. Your efforts have made a huge difference to O, this we could not have achieved without you.”

From SENCO to Educational Psychology Service – November 2017

“Thank you for organising our whole day attachment training today. G and H delivered an excellent, well presented and very informative day. It was really inspiring for staff and generated lots of discussion around support for pupils and ways in which our quality first teaching might be improved. Please pass my thanks onto both G and H. Their expertise and thoughtful delivery were super. Many thanks

Email from parent to Educational Psychology Service – April 2018

Dr J has recently done a report on my son K. He was amazing with my son and really understood him and his needs. The report we received was very hard-hitting to read as a parent but it was spot on and outlines everything about K. In fact, one of the family footings support teachers at my daughter's special needs school said it's one of the best reports she has seen. Dr J is a credit to the Warwickshire Education Services.”