Improvements to the SEND service - November 2021 update
We take your feedback seriously and are always looking for ways to improve our service.
Here is a summary of the improvements made between July and November 2021. For previous updates please visit our you said, we did page.
You said we need to listen more
In total, 2,466 participants (including parents) took part in 221 activities. These consultations and engagement activities included improving:
- the Specialist Teaching and Learning Service
- speech language and communication needs commissioning
- the neurodiverse pathway support
- key worker roles
- the dynamic support register.
Those who took part in the engagement activities told us:
"It is encouraging to be part of a group that wants to listen and make changes for the better"Parent of engagement group
"I really value being able to try to support improvements to the processes and systems used to support our children and their families"Parent of engagement group
Kent PACT have also observed that there is a greater need for co-production and collaboration between us and the families in Kent:
"There is a genuine undertaking to co-produce with parents and parents engaged in a range of activities have said that they felt that their views had been heard."Kent PACT
As part of our collaboration work with Kent PACT, we are working together to build a new training course. The training course for our staff will focus on supporting engagement with parents. It'll embed the agreed values and behaviours shown in our SEND co-production charter. The testing of the new training will start in 2022.
Kent PACT's meet the professionals sessions are going from strength to strength. These sessions allow parents to discuss a variety of topics. So far, parents have met:
- our transport teams
- the Specialist Teacher and Learning Service
- Provision Evaluation Officers.
Visit the Kent PACT website to find out more about the sessions.
You said mainstream schools must be better at supporting and including children and young people with SEND
Since summer 2021, we have been:
- providing support for schools through our Inclusion Leadership Programme
- engaging with over 100 schools through our information briefings
- moving forward with the whole school supported employment offer. Many secondary schools are signing up to the new training
- supporting 150 schools taking up the whole school nurture approach. Schools have been attending briefing sessions, with the first session in 2022 fully booked
- implementing the recommendations of the high needs finding review. The review will support schools to access the right resources at the right time. It will also support transitions and ensure provision can be met in mainstream schools.
Other areas of improvements are:
We are strengthening the use of the mainstream core standards. Alongside co-producing a parents and school interactive online training package. The training will provide practical tools and examples of support in mainstream school.
We have also worked with parents and schools to review the Specialist Teaching and Learning Service (STLS). We want to be able to deliver whole and targeted support to education settings. The review is out for consultation, and if approved will be in place from September 2022.
Two headteachers now work within our education team. They will work together with us to improve the support given in schools. This plan helps our ongoing improvement in schools. A part of the programme has a focus the SEND area of the Ofsted Inspection Framework.
We are working with the schools to collect the evidence of impact as a result of the improvement work we are doing.
You said that the systems, processes and quality of education health and care (EHC) plans needs to improve
EHC plans processes and delivery
To make the process easier and to clear the backlog of EHC needs requests, we have hired more staff. We are now seeing an improvement of the quality and number of plans issued within the 20 week timeline.
Due to the changes, more children and young people with EHC plans now have placements.
We are working closer with the NHS and Health Co-ordinators. This means we can gather relevant information during the needs assessment. The information can then be passed onto the right people in the NHS at the right time.
Staff training needed to be better
All of our SEN staff have completed IPSEA training, whilst a wider programme of training and development will be introduced in 2022. This includes training on statutory processes and webinars from the Head of SEND.
The Council for Disabled Children (CDC) have also trained our social care staff in the areas of:
- the legal framework for SEND and social care
- the role of social care in needs assessment and planning
- key duties in relation to social care advice and information including quality and timeliness
- information sharing key lines of enquiry tools.
Quality of EHC plans
We have introduced a new way of quality assuring EHCPs. This involves stakeholders including parents and carers assessing and evaluating EHCPS. Good practice is celebrated and shared, and weak practice is identified and improved.
The templates for the EHCPs have improved and are compliant with the SEND Code of Practice.
Transition and support for post 16
To improve our support for young people preparing for adulthood, we have worked with the National Development Team. This work has included:
- training for our teams to prepare good outcomes
- setting up provider collaborations
- making sure young people receive the right support to help them achieve their life goals.
We have also developed two key documents:
- Preparing for adulthood protocol (PDF, 2.1 MB) - helps young people to understand transition to adulthood. Support is also provided for families and professionals working with young people.
- Preparation for adulthood core standards (PDF, 2.4 MB) - showing the expected support is in education settings. Support is also provided for education settings and how to support young people moving into adulthood.
You said we need to improve waiting times, provide more funding for local health services, and to have better trained staff
To show how our partners will work together to improve the outcomes, a plan has been created. The plan outlines how through joint commissioning we can make quicker decisions.
Kent and Medway is now one Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG). The newly joined group sit on the newly created Kent and Medway Integrated Children's Delivery Board and Partnership Group. By bringing together all key organisations it helps to keep the focus on children with SEND. Also discussed at the board meetings are wider system priorities in ling with the NHS Long Term Plan.
Other areas of improvements in health are:
- all special schools now have access to a specialist nurse
- pharmacy technicians have been appointed to work with the schools
- health are supporting the speech, language and communications project
- extra resources are allocated to the neurodiverse pathway
- extra resources to relieve COVID-19 pressures on mental health services
- Kooth provides online counselling in now available across Kent and Medway for 10 to 25 year olds
- universal health checks for school age children in mainstream school continues.