You said, we did - improvements to the SEND service

We take your feedback seriously and always look at ways we can improve our services and the information about them.

October 2020 update

Below is a summary of the changes we’ve made between July and October 2020 following feedback and conversations we’ve had with parents, professionals and young people.

You can also read a summary of the changes we made between January 2020 and June 2020.

You said we need to listen more

  • Our Interim Head of SEN took part in a Facebook live interview organised by Kent PACT in the summer. Participants submitted questions beforehand and these were answered and discussed during the interview. The session was welcomed by many Kent PACT members and we are working with them to organise further ‘meet the professional’ sessions later this year with our leaders from transport, school transport, education psychology and parent engagement. Find out more about Kent PACT or follow them on Facebook.

  • We have appointed a SEND Family and Engagement Manager to lead all the engagement activities planned with parents, children and young people, while also managing partnerships with Kent PACT and other organisations. The role is one of 3 new roles that are also dedicated to lead on the continuous improvements to the Local Offer, alongside colleagues.

  • Parents’ views have helped to shape the development of the mainstream core standards and accompanying parent guide (due to be published this autumn). More than 50 parents were contacted to review the documents and their feedback, along with that of schools, is shaping the documents. Parents’ views have also informed the Early Years Threads of Success document and the schools’ ‘Parent Engagement Award’.

  • After listening to children and young people, who told us they wanted to be able to speak up for themselves, we have developed a specific survey focused on them, which is now available online (they told us they want to be ‘greener’).

  • We have created a volunteer plan and roles to allow volunteers to support the SEND service delivery and the improvement programme.

You said we need to treat you as equal partners

  • We have co-produced our Vision Statement with parents, children and young people.

  • Following a ‘Shaping co-production in Kent’ event in February this year led by Genuine Partnerships, and attended by parents, young people and staff from KCC and local NHS, we co-produced a definition of what co-production looks like in Kent.

  • We are now working with Kent PACT to develop a co-production charter which we will publish later this year. We have worked with Kent PACT to test that our communications plan meets parents’ needs.

You said we need to communicate better with you

  • Our Provision Evaluation Officers (PEOs) play a critical role in improving communications between parents, children and schools. They are available for parents to contact when they need support.

  • We have started to implement our communications plan, which will see the Local Offer website promoted more to parents as well as to professionals supporting families. We’ve already started using social media to promote different parts of the Local Offer website, such as the Explore your options feature, designed to help parents new to SEN.

You said we must be more child and young people-focused

  • Following the national lockdown due to Covid-19, we provided all primary schools with a suite of recovery resources to help them support SEN children in coming back to school. These included catch-up toolkits for English and maths and toolkits to help schools develop recovery action plans to support children. We also provided all schools with NASEN Whole School SEND Resources to help them support children and young people returning to school in September.

  • The local NHS has set up a new school nursing network to make sure children with complex health needs can access their education safely. The service started working with 3 schools in east and north Kent (St. Nicholas in Canterbury, Milestone Academy in New Ash Green and Ifield in Gravesend) in September and will soon extend to other special schools across the county. The school nurses work with children with complex health needs, and their families, to secure the right support from both within the school and with other organisations. This will help to relieve some of the pressures the family have or may experience. The school nurses will also work with the school team, providing training and undertaking competency assessment so that more staff can safely care and support students in special schools.

You said we must be less adversarial and more compassionate

  • We have continued to work on changing and improving the way we respond to complaints, making sure we focus on resolutions. We have designed comprehensive and SEND-focused complaints training that is being rolled out this month to all KCC SEN staff.

You said schools must be more inclusive

  • Over the summer, we worked with a number of schools to get feedback on the draft mainstream core standards, which set out the standards of provision and support that schools should be providing, as well as practical techniques they can adopt to support children with SEN in the classroom. The standards will be published later this year, along with a parent guide (shaped by parents) to help them know what ordinarily available provision their child should be getting in school and how to raise any issues if they occur.

  • Alongside the development of the mainstream core standards, we have been conducting a wider discussion with schools that started in September about inclusion. These discussions are shaping the Kent inclusion statement and how inclusion is quality is assured. These documents will be published on the Local Offer later this year.

  • Forty schools tested the new Inclusion Toolkit and following their positive feedback, the toolkit has now been made available to all schools. It helps them test how inclusive they are and helps them to develop a plan to make improvements. The toolkit will form part of a suite of documents designed to support schools in working collaboratively.

  • We have conducted a detailed analysis of the support that is available to schools and settings to help them become more inclusive and have made extra money available to support schools in the work needed to be more inclusive. The money can be used by schools to provide specific and general training.

You said we should be providing better information, advice, guidance and support