There is just over one week left to have your say on Somerset’s new plan for children and young people with Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities (SEND).
The Somerset SEND Partnership (made up of Somerset County Council, NHS Somerset, Somerset Parent Carer Forum and local education providers), is urging families to share their thoughts before midnight on Friday 23 December, when the SEND Strategy consultation will close.
The SEND Strategy sets out the planned next steps to improve the lives of children and young people with SEND.
The draft strategy was written after listening to families, children and young people with SEND, to find out what would make a real difference to their lives, as well as hearing from those who support them including teams from Somerset County Council, NHS Somerset and schools. There is an easy read version which is available online.
Cllr Tessa Munt, Somerset County Council Executive Lead Member for Children and Families said; “Children and families are at the very heart of our thinking. This strategy is about doing our best for our children with special educational needs and disabilities. Somerset’s services are improving, with more investment for children with SEND and more specialist school places, but we know there is much, much more to do. We want children and their families to be able to find their way through life without having to fight for help all the time. What we do next will help us to achieve this.”
The plan’s four key themes are:
- Working together
- Getting help as early as possible
- Access to the right support and provision
- Preparing for the future
Jonathan Higman, Chief Executive, NHS Somerset said “We are committed to improving the lives of children and young people who live with Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) in Somerset and to enable us to do this we need to make sure that the voices of children, young people and their families are at the heart of informing what we do”.
“Over the past year we have been working closely with education, health, social care and early years providers, as well as children and young people and their families to understand the issues facing them and to consider what we can do to improve access, understanding, support and inclusion. We have made progress but we are aware that this is not, as yet, always obvious to those that need our services. We are committed to continue to work closely together to meet the aims of the SEND charter and ensure that children and young people with SEND have the same rights and choices as other children in Somerset so they can reach their full potential and lead fulfilling and happy lives.”
The consultation will close on Friday 23 December. To read the draft strategy and give your feedback visit the Somerset County Council website.
After the consultation closes, the Somerset SEND Partnership will review all feedback and use this to update the strategy. The final strategy will be published in Spring 2023.