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Forward Forward

August 2022

Hello and welcome to Warwickshire County Council's Warwickshire SEND newsletter.

This newsletter brings you news and information on special educational needs and disability (SEND) in Warwickshire. 

In this month's SEND newsletter read about a special event offering young people the opportunity to give direct feedback on the Local Offer, our upcoming SEND webinars for parents and carers, a new resource for Neurodivergent people and their families and an update on progress against our action plan to improve services for children and young people with SEND in Warwickshire. 
Do you know someone that would like to receive this newsletter? Sign up here.
Watch the video to find out more about Warwickshire's SEND Local Offer

Did you know about Warwickshire's SEND Local Offer?

It’s a great place to go to find information about the local services and support available across education, health and social care for families with children and young people aged 0 to 25, who have special educational needs and/or disabilities. 

Want to know more? Why not watch the short video above or follow the link below to take you straight to the webpages.

Visit the SEND Local Offer webpages
Illustration of a group of people of different ages and abilities with the wording 'SEND parent carer webinars' and the Warwickshire County Council and Parent Carer Voice logos.

SEND webinars to support parents and carers

To provide support to parents and carers in Warwickshire, the Council has been hosting monthly webinars focused on different topics in relation to SEND. The sessions are run in partnership with Warwickshire Parent Carer Voice, and they provide an excellent opportunity to find out more about the support available for you and your child.   

The most recent webinar, held on 19th July, was all about the support for children and young people with a speech, language and communication need. If you missed this you can watch the recording back on the Council's YouTube channel.

Over the next few months there will be a further series of webinars covering various topics:

  • Health Visiting Service - Wed 21 Sept, 12.30pm to 1.30pm - learn more about the support available for families with children aged 0 to 5 years from the Health Visiting Service. Register your place for the Health Visiting webinar here.
  • Preparation for Adulthood - October (Date and time TBC) 
  • Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Information Advice and Support Service (SENDIAS) - November (Date and time TBC)
You can keep up to date on the upcoming webinars by following the Local Offer Facebook page and by subscribing to receive the SEND newsletter.
 
Register now for the Health Visiting webinar

Young people invited to share their priorities at Local Offer event

Young people aged 12-25 years with a Special Educational Need and/or Disability, and their parents and carers, are invited to come along to this special event to find out more about the Local Offer and to share their views on what is important to them. 

Addressing the needs identified in the Written Statement of Action, the event will be an opportunity to inform young people about participation and engage them in the Local Offer. There will be a chance for young people to feedback directly to Council officers on what matters most to them and how they want to be supported to live a happy, healthy and independent life.  

The event has been organised by Warwickshire County Council and will be run by KIDS, the impartial information and advice service for children and young people up to 25 years with SEND, and their families. It has been funded by the Department for Education's Making Participation Work project.

Date and time: Tuesday 30 August 2022, 10am to 3pm
Venue: St Paul's Church, Leamington Spa, CV32 4TE


You can register using the link below or if you would like more information please contact samcraven@warwickshire.gov.uk.
Register to attend the Local Offer event here
Photo of a girl holding a pencil and writing into a school workbook

Written Statement of Action (WSoA) Update

Here’s the latest news on progress to deliver our action plan following the Ofsted and CQC SEND local area inspection last year.

Area 1: Autism waiting times and support for families:  

  • More assessments are being carried out and waiting times for assessments are reducing. A new model of assessment has started to improve the process of assessment and diagnosis, aimed at children in Years 5 and 6 initially.
  • A new e-booklet with advice for Neurodivergent people and their families has been produced.
  • An Autism Conference is planned for later in the year.
  • A review of Speech and Language Therapy and a skills audit of mental health staff supporting children and young people are due to be completed shortly.   


Area 2: Communication and engagement with parent carers:  

A wide programme of communications and events continues including parent carer webinars, Warwickshire SEND newsletter and updates on the Local Offer Facebook page. Feedback, both positive and negative, is being captured using the Live Feedback Form to help improve services.

The Young People’s forum meets monthly to capture the voice of children and young people with SEND. It is growing in members, but the group are always happy to welcome new members. You can register your interest in the forum here.

Training on the Four Cornerstones of Coproduction is underway.
 

Area 3: Inclusion in schools:  

Inclusion Framework for Schools trial is going well in 17 schools in Rugby. SEND reviews have been carried out in each school to identify training needs, and feedback from parent carers and staff on current provision captured. Training and further support is now being delivered to each school to help them support children and young people with SEND. 

An Inclusion Charter is currently being coproduced with involvement from WCC, school leads, parent carers and children and young people.
 

Area 4: Workforce development:  

A multi-agency Working Group, including four headteachers, is reviewing training and developing a programme of support to improve the knowledge, skills and understanding of school staff, with the aim of increasing parental confidence and improving outcomes for children and young people. This includes the Dr Ross Greene Collaborative and Proactive Solutions pilot, which helps to support children and young people with challenging behaviours. This is going well in the first 13 schools, with around 30 schools due to be trained this year. 


Area 5: SEND Local Offer webpages:  

A Local Offer event organised in partnership with Warwickshire SENDIASS (Kids) is being held on 30 August to gather views on the Local Offer from young people aged 12-25 years (see below article for more information).

The improved local offer webpages provide information about local services and support available across education, health and social care for families with children and young people aged 0 to 25 with SEND. Briefing sessions are available to professionals and communities. For further information contact fis@warwickshire@gov.uk.  

For more information about any areas of the Written Statement of Action please email Rachel Barnes, Change Delivery Manager at WCC at sendchange@warwickshire.gov.uk.

Rainbow infinity symbol representing the neurodiverse community

New e-booklet to support Neurodivergent people and their families

A new e-booklet aiming to improve the information and support available for neurodivergent people and their families has been published. 

The booklet has been co-produced with input from professionals across Coventry and Warwickshire and neurodivergent people and their families. It provides a wealth of information all in one place about services and support available for those who are diagnosed or who self-identify as neurodivergent and those who care for and support them.

As well as a comprehensive list of services available to support children and young people and adults, there is a Frequently Asked Questions section covering everything from dealing with anxiety and managing impulses, to building positive friendships and family relationships and support for physical and mental health. 

Feedback is welcomed to enable improvements to this first version of the e-booklet. Please share any comments with disabilitiescommissioning@warwickshire.gov.uk.

Read the Neurodivergent e-booklet here
Warwickshire Parent Carer Voice logo - two bears walking, one purple which is the parent bear and one orange, the baby or child bear.

Spotlight on Warwickshire Parent Carer Voice

This month we asked Elaine Lambe, Chair of Warwickshire Parent Carer Voice, to provide an insight into the work of the forum, her role as Chair and how you can get involved as a fellow parent carer.

What is Warwickshire Parent Carer Voice? 
Warwickshire Parent Carer Voice (WPCV) is the recognised parent carer forum for Warwickshire. Parent carer forums exist to work in strategic partnership with local decision makers (within health, education and social care) for SEND. We work with Warwickshire County Council (WCC) through coproduction to ensure that services are developed and commissioned with families and that the voices of parent carers are heard.

Describe a typical day as Chair of WPCV
There isn't really a typical day - like all of our reps I'm a parent carer so that is my priority. Luckily, at the moment things are fairly stable so there aren't lots of appointments for my children but when there are, that goes in the diary first.

As Chair I currently deal with all our correspondence; I make sure we know who is going to represent us at which meetings and share all the information that comes in to the right members of the team. Some days I am proactively asking questions following feedback from parent carers, some days I'm having one-to-one meetings with staff and sometimes I'm attending meetings representing WPCV. I chair the fortnightly Coproduction and Engagement Hub meetings where a panel of parent carers meet with different staff to work out how best to utilise the voice of parent carers in their work. I link WPCV with regional and national parent carer forums and feed into national consultations on behalf of Warwickshire parents.

How does WPCV support parents, carers and young people?
WPCV is not a support organisation however we make a difference to the lives of families of children with SEND by making sure that decision makers know what it is like to be a parent carer. We help them to understand the challenges parent carers face. We also provide opportunities for parent carers to come together and to share their experiences so that we can use this information to influence change.

Can you share any upcoming plans/events?
We are working with WCC on the monthly SEND webinars and will be at the Local Offer event on 30th August (see further details below). To help increase our reach, we are developing a SEND Community Forum to bring together community groups that support SEND families and we are hoping to attend school SEND coffee mornings. If you are an organisation that would like to be part of the Community Forum or if you have coffee morning dates please do get in touch (details below). We are also currently gathering ideas to put together a programme of events and activities in the autumn - if you'd like to find out more you can join us as a member.

Can you share something people wouldn't expect about your role?
WPCV operates independently and is not funded by WCC. We receive a grant for participation work each year from the Department for Education which we can use in whichever way we think will be most beneficial. We also get some funding from particular projects we are involved with that we use to support our work, for example the Autism in Schools project.

Where can I find more information about WPCV? 
Young boy wearing glasses and a red backpack with a smiley face walking towards a school entrance

Guidance to help you and your child prepare for September

We know that changes in school routines, whether a different timetable, change of class teacher or moving up a year can be an anxious time for all children and young people, but especially so for those with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND).  

In preparation for September why not take a look at the guidance and advice available to help your child or young person prepare for the new school year.

Connect for Health, Warwickshire's School Nursing Service has also produced a 12-step transition guide to help you and your child prepare for any changes in the new school year. 

Cartoon of a friendly male doctor with a reminder to Check In at your doctors, Check Up on your health and Check Out your Health Action Plan.

Annual Health Checks 

Did you know that young people aged 14 or over with a learning disability are entitled to a free NHS health check every year?

A health check is a chance for you and your child to talk to the GP or nurse about any health or wellbeing concerns you may have and for GPs to spot and treat any health problems early. 

There are many benefits of having an annual health check. Young people learn new ways to look after themselves, and will receive an individual Health Action Plan, therefore building their independence and supporting them to live a happier, healthier life.

It can also be an opportunity for GPs and practice staff to get to know the young person better and can be a good way for young people to familiarise themselves with their surgery too.

Read more about Annual Health Checks here
Warwickshire SENDIAS logo

Free resources from Warwickshire SENDIAS

Warwickshire SENDIAS (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Information Advice and Support Service) has a range of free resources available to support disabled children and young people, and those with a special educational need from birth up to 25 years, and their parents.

The resources include guides to help you when seeking support from your child's school as well as a section dedicated to Education, Health and Care Plan needs assessments which includes a template parental request letter and advice on completing the family conversation. The team are working to expand the range of documents so it's worth regularly checking back on the website for updates. All of the resources are available to download for free from the SENDIAS website.

SENDIAS also signpost to local and national organisations and welcome information from local providers. If you are a local provider or have a recommendation for a local provider as a parent carer, please provide details to warwickshire@kids.org.uk.
Check out the SENDIAS free resources
Tobias Lambe wearing his Commonwealth Games shirt
Samuel White wearing his Commonwealth Games shirt

Warwickshire youngsters make their mark as volunteers at Commonwealth Games

As the Commonwealth Games came to Warwickshire during August, we have been looking behind the scenes at the volunteers who played their part in making the games a real legacy.

With the role of volunteers at sporting events becoming more prevalent since the 2012 Olympics, there is now a new generation of young people getting involved in volunteering, determined to make their mark.   

Tobias and Samuel, both from Warwickshire, have been sharing their experiences of volunteering at the Games.

Tobias, who has autism, was over the moon to be invited to play a key role in the games, courtside as an assistant for beach volleyball. Samuel, who has cerebral palsy, was a volunteer for the lawn bowls event in Victoria Park in Leamington and was pleased to see that everyone was given an opportunity to play their part in the Games.

Read their stories in full by clicking the links below:

Read Tobias' story here
Read Samuel's story here
a hand holding a megaphone with a speech bubble coming from it with the words 'We want your feedback'
Share your experiences of SEND services in Warwickshire
using our Live Feedback Form.
Stay up to date with SEND information through our Local Offer webpages and Local Offer Facebook page.
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