Improvements to the SEND service - June 2021 update

We take your feedback seriously and always look at ways we can improve our services and the information about them. We're pleased to show you all the improvements and changes we're making based on your feedback and conversations we've had with you.

Here is a summary of the improvements made between April and June 2021. For the most recent updates, please go to our you said, we did page.

You said we need to listen more

Parental satisfaction

Kent PACT recognise that overall parental satisfaction in our SEND service is improving. There are still some areas where parents are raising the same concerns from the 2019 survey (PDF, 1.7 MB).

We are working with them to build an 'engaging with parents' training course for our staff. With our end goal to embed the agreed values and behaviours shown on the SEND co-production charter. Together are also developing a new quality assurance framework. This is now in place, and we are working together to moderate the quality of education health and care (EHC) plans.

Our commissioners and specialist teaching and learning service (STLS) are also working with Kent PACT. By working together this will help us to deliver a high-quality service through a new commissioning framework.

To do this, they are investigating:

  • what is working well
  • what is not working well
  • where there are gaps.

To help with engagement, we have set up 'meet the professional' sessions. They are parent led, with topics including, health, education and our SEND service. For more information visit the Kent PACT website or if email

Disabled Children's and Young People's Service

The Disabled Children’s and Young People’s Service have been working on renaming their service.

Alongside the renaming of their service, they have asked young people to design a new logo.

Families who have had autism diagnosis are working with the Integrated Children's Services. Some of the families support has been transferred over to the Disabled Children and Young Persons Social Care teams. This is due to the level of the child or young person's autism having a significant effect on all aspects of their functioning. This in turn means they need ongoing specialist support and/or provision.

We are working with these families to understand what works, what doesn't work and what we can improve.

You said mainstream schools must be better at supporting and including children and young people with SEND

Working with schools

We have continued to work with and support schools in improving their inclusive practices. Throughout the past few months, we have made available online our:

We have been working with schools, Kent PACT and our teams to improve inclusion in schools. To understand people’s experiences of our education system a survey has been sent out to parents.

Transition working groups

Previously, the transition working group has co-produced a draft transition charter. The charter outlines all stakeholder common aims, values, and aspirations for transition. This will allow clearer agreed processes and structures, for example shared induction days.

From September onwards, we will be acting on the following:

Inclusion Leadership Programme

The programme will support schools in developing their inclusive practice by:

  • providing training to Headteachers and other senior school leaders on inclusive practices. It will also inform them how to develop good inclusion in their schools.
  • setting up clusters of 6 schools to help them in a process of peer-to-peer support and development. Evaluating the current provision and outlining potential improvements.

A whole school supported employment offer

The programme will support mainstream secondary schools over a 3-year period. This will include training in:

  • whole school approaches to supported employment
  • vocational profiling
  • job coaching
  • training in systematic instruction
  • travel training
  • employer engagement training.

Whole school approaches to nurture

The programme will provide training and support to mainstream primary and secondary schools. This will help them to put in place an evidence-based whole school programme of nurture.

As well as the commissioning work, task and finish groups will investigate prominent issues.

High need funding (HNF) review and locality resources

We are currently reviewing the high needs funding. We want to have a system which supports inclusive practice in mainstream schools. This should provide successful outcomes for children with SEND. We are considering a HNF system that has a greater flexibility for:

  • schools to meet needs
  • greater accountability
  • transparency
  • accessibility
  • allocated fairly.

As part of the review, we want to develop the locality resources and mechanisms. This allows for greater flexibility, stakeholder control and deployment to meet the needs of education settings.

You said that the systems, processes and quality of EHCPs needs to improve

The SEN service now uses a quality audit tool to improve the quality of the education health and care (EHC) plans.

The tool is used by other local authorities and is designed to ensure a cycle of improvement in the quality of plans. Audits are carried out monthly by a range of partners including Kent PACT.

The SEN service are expecting a month-on-month improvement in the quality of the plans. Feedback is tracked and will show a real picture of progression. The results of these are reported monthly back to the SEND Improvement Board.

You said we need to improve waiting times, provide more funding for local health services, and to have better trained staff

Throughout the past year there has been extra pressure on our service due to COVID-19.

CAMHs have seen their waiting times remain, including their 18-week referral treatment target. Unfortunately, this has not been met in west Kent.

Alongside the waiting times and referral targets, throughout the COVID-19 period, services have:

  • issued over 8,000 handbooks for families. The handbook helps families waiting for assessments and those who've been newly referred for autism or ADHD.
  • seen that most diagnostic assessments for autism were not possible to the needs around safety.
  • embedded a new BOSA virtual assessment tool with health services. Unfortunately waiting lists for neurodevelopmental pathways are still significantly affected.  However, extra funding is available to support health services to address this matter.
  • released the pressure on the new adult pathway. To do this they have assessed an additional 200, 16 to 17 year olds through extra funding. By September 2021, a further 300 assessments will be completed. This will assist those who have waited the longest and are priority cases in NELFT.
  • employed new children's care navigator roles across the 11 primary care networks. They will focus mostly on the neurodevelopmental diversity. As well as helping families with advice, social prescribing, and system navigations. They will also help with the new pilot for innovative diagnostic and support pathways. This is being co-produced with families and young people.
  • delivered support from Mental Health Support Teams across 71 schools, including 8 special schools. This will increase by 25 in January 2022.
  • developed a regional training offer, making SEND everyone's business. Basic awareness modules for health professionals with the Council for Disabled Children, the pilot will start in September 2021, which will check the impact for you and your child.