Our SEND Strategy
Our current Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) 2021-23 Strategy has been the basis of our work to improve SEND Services over the last three years, and as it comes to an end we want to ask as many people as possible their opinion about what we should concentrate for our next SEND Strategy 2024-2028.
We believe our work so far has begun and will continue to make outcomes better for children and young people, but we also know that the lived experience of many families has yet to improve. We must make sure that our new strategy continues to address this. We want to keep on doing the things that are working, identify where there are gaps, and understand what else we need to be doing to address these.
We'd like to invite you to let us know what you think the new strategy should include, and what our priorities should be. To take part, you can:
- Read the 2021-2023 SEND Strategy here
- Watch the animation above, which summarises our progress so far, and then
- Fill out our survey to let us know what you think we should concentrate on next.
You can also access the survey by scanning the following QR code:
Or by filling in our Easy Read version here:
The consultation runs until 7 December 2023. We want to hear from as many people as possible, so please do share it with anyone else you think might be interested.
Previous SEND Strategies
Our SEND Priorities for 2021-23 were as follows:
Priority One: Communication
1. Further improve the Local Offer website, enabling easier navigation and search functionality for families.
2. Develop our communication strategy to increase accessibility and visibility for all users, including our use of multimedia communication.
3. Develop our work with the Young Person’s Network to continue to improve the way we communicate with young people and ensure their voices are represented.
4. Promote awareness and understanding of SEND and SEN support services amongst families, practitioners, education settings and our wider communities.
5. Regularly seek feedback from families, young people and frontline practitioners on all aspects of our communication.
6. Keep young people, families and practitioners informed about the progress we are making across all our priority areas.
Priority Two: The Child / Young Person’s Journey
1. Make the SEND journey for children and young people clear and understandable across education, health and care, from early identification of needs.
2. Embed the Graduated Response across education, health and care to provide timely early intervention and whole school inclusive practices.
3. Ensure that assessments and reviews involve the right people and are completed on time.
4. Ensure that assessment and review reports, including Education, Health and Care Plans are person-centred, specific and understandable.
5. Ensure that children and young people receive the support they require to make progress towards their identified outcomes and ambitions.
6. Strengthen SEND operational practice by developing key roles within Social Care and Health, working closely with SEND and Education leaders.
7. Review and learn from SEND feedback including surveys, mediation, Tribunal appeals and Ombudsman outcomes to improve practice across the whole SEND system.
8. Transform the SEND Decision Making Panel and ensure capacity and capability within Inclusion Services to effectively operate.
Priority Three: Commissioning and Services
1. Jointly review our SEND provision to understand demand, identify gaps and plan for future provision across education, health and care.
2. Increase the number of specialist education places available within Suffolk by completing the delivery of the current Suffolk SEND Capital Programme (2020-2024).
3. Complete our redesign of mental health services for children and young people and implement the new model.
4. Complete the development of the neuro-developmental pathway for children and young people and implement the new model.
5. Co-produce a new offer of care, support and education for children and young people supported by the Transforming Care Partnership that is based on a fuller understanding of their needs.
6. Extend the respite offer for under 18s to include children and young people with disabilities and challenging behaviours who are not currently supported by the Disabled Children's Team.
Priority Four: Preparing for Adulthood
1. Embed high-quality person-centred planning as our approach to transition planning for children and young people with SEND.
2. Empower children, young people and their families to make informed decisions about transitions through good quality advice, guidance and support.
3. Extend the local learning offer for 16-25 year olds to address the gaps identified in the 2021 SEND Sufficiency Review, with a focus on quality, options and progression.
4. Develop our health offer to better meet the needs of 16-25 year olds, to achieve straightforward, family centred transitions, including for adolescent mental health and those supported by Transforming Care.
5. Develop our social care offer to include care planning and ensure straightforward transitions, taking account of mental capacity and new safeguarding guidelines.
6. Provide good employment/ self-employment support for young people with SEND and potential employers to extend the options leading into work.
7. Develop our Short Breaks for older young people and the support that enables them to develop their relationships and social skills.
What difference will we see as a result of this?
1. Children and young people with SEND will make progress and fulfil their potential - academically, emotionally and socially.
2. Children, young people and families will report that they can access the right support at the right time from the right people.
3. More children, young people and families will tell us that education, health and care services are improving.
4. Our children, young people and families will tell us that they trust services across education, health and social care.
SEND Strategy 2021-2023: Consultation Phase
Please note this consultation has now closed and the 2021-23 SEND Strategy is published. The information below shows some of the work we did during this consultation phase.
14 July 2021
Dear Parent, Carers and Families
As you may be aware, an Independent Review of aspects of Suffolk’s SEND Services has been commissioned by Suffolk County Council. The Review started on 21/6/21 and will be completed within six weeks. A final report on the SEND Review will be submitted to Suffolk County Council by 30 July 2021.
Although the review is not focused on our Suffolk SEND Strategy for 2021-2023, we have taken the decision to delay presenting the draft co-produced strategy to Suffolk County Council Cabinet and the Clinical Commissioning Groups until we have reviewed the findings of the Independent Review. This will ensure that any recommendations that can improve services and the experiences of young people and families can be included in the new SEND Strategy.
In 2017, Suffolk launched our first SEND Strategy. As part of that, over the last three years partners across Education, Health and Care have worked hard to improve services for children and young people with SEND and their families in Suffolk, and as a result, we have new specialist school units and special schools, better access to Speech and Language Therapy and more timely statutory assessments.
However, we know there is still more to be done, and so we have been asking for your help to make sure our next SEND Strategy focuses on the right priorities for 2021-23.
Through our “Time to listen….about SEND” campaign, we have already had many conversations with children and young people, families, practitioners and partner organisations.
We would like to thank everyone who has taken the time to contribute. We have used all your insights and responses to inform our discussions, and have now co-produced a draft strategy.
We also asked our SEND Young Person's Network what was important to them. You can read what they said here: SEND Young Persons I Statements
Our draft strategy:
Thank you to those who have contributed so far to developing the new Strategy for 2021-23. Below is a summary of the work that we did in previous stages.
Please note that these questions refer to a previous stage and are for information only: the current survey is linked in the main section above.
In 2017, we wrote a list of priorities - the areas of SEND provision in Suffolk that we most wanted to improve between 2017 and 2020. We called this our "SEND Strategy".
We believe that over the last three years we have made great progress; improving our SEND provision and strengthening our joint work between Education, Health and Care, but over the next three years we want to go much further. We want to provide services that work for every child and young person with SEND in Suffolk, but in order to do that, we need your help.
In February 2020 we launched our “Time to listen….about SEND” campaign; asking you to get in touch with us and tell us what you thought our priorities should be in our next strategy. We had to pause this in March due to the coronavirus pandemic, but we are ready to restart and we still need your help.
We know there is a lot of information on these pages, but at the heart of it is this: we want to know your thoughts on how we could continue to improve our SEND provision in Suffolk, and what you think we should prioritise over the next three years.
Here's a quick summary:
1. Our vision:
We are proposing to keep the overall vision the same: "Working together, we will support children and young people with SEND to meet their potential and live healthy, fulfilling lives in their community."
What do you think? Would you suggest any changes?
2. Our aims:
We are also suggesting keeping the same aim: "Children and young people with SEND and their families have access to the timely information, services and support they need to enable them to achieve their potential."
Do you think these are still the right aims? Would you suggest any others?
3. Our progress
We think these are good ways to measure our progress:
- Our children and young people with SEND will make good progress and be successful
- Our children and young people will have timely access to good quality services
- Feedback from our children, young people and families will show they feel supported by education, health and social care services
- Our children, young people and families will trust our SEND system
What do you think about these progress measures? Would you suggest any changes or additions?
4. Our priorities:
We have four priority headings. What do you think we should add under each of them? What actions would make the biggest difference to you and your family?
Priority 1: The SEND Local Offer
For example: Do you know what the Local Offer is?
How can we improve our communication of the local offer?
What would you like to see on our website?
Priority 2: The SEND Journey
For example: how can we improve the support in our schools, GPs and care services?
How can we better support children and young people to achieve their goals?
Priority 3: Developing inclusive education, health and social care provision
For example: do we need to develop our specialist provision further? If so, how?
How can we make our schools more inclusive?
How should we improve our health services to better meet the needs of children and young people with SEND?
Priority 4: Preparing for adulthood
For example: do we have the right post-16 courses in place to support young people with SEND? If not, what should we think about?
How can we better support young people with SEND and their families through their transition into adulthood?
5. Tell us your thoughts:
If you'd like to, you can fill out our Feedback survey (survey now closed). You don't have to give your name (though you can if you want to) and you can fill it out more than once if you think of something additional you want to tell us - we want to hear it all, good and bad.
Your voice matters, and we want to hear feedback from as wide a range of people as possible, in order to shape our services around what Suffolk families want.
Thank you for your time.
Please note that the survey referred to in this section was from the previous stage of our consultation and is now closed.
Q: Will my contribution to the strategy make any difference?
Yes. We want to get as many people involved in co-producing the new strategy as possible, to make sure that our new SEND strategy is a reflection of the needs of all those who have an interest in SEND. This includes families, children and young people, professionals and practitioners who deliver provision and service and leaders.
To do this we need to ask as many people as possible for their ideas and feedback. In the early stages of this work, over 35 school representatives signed up to be SEND champions, we received 53 responses to the online survey, we attended forums and events to gather ideas, ran drop in sessions, attended team meetings, distributed posters and flyers across Suffolk and worked closely with our young person’s network and Suffolk Parent Carer Network to start reaching people. However we want to reach even more people, so we need your help.
Q: What is a SEND strategy champion?
A SEND strategy champion is someone who is willing to talk to other people about developing our new SEND strategy, get their ideas and feedback to us.
Q: Who can be a SEND strategy champion?
Anyone can be a champion- parents, teachers, social workers, young people etc – we want as many people as possible to have a conversation about the SEND strategy and gain ideas and feedback.
Q: How do I have a conversation as a SEND strategy champion?
Once you have familiarised yourself with the SEND information by watching the video you can use the infographic guide to help you. A conversation can be over a cup of tea, in the playground, at a meeting… you can then capture the ideas and feedback you gather through your conversations by <survey now closed>.
Q: How do I provide feedback or ask others to?
You can use the infographic page to guide your thinking and conversation if it is helpful, and then you can either complete the online survey yourself or send someone else the link to complete it in their own time.
Q: What will happen with this information?
Once we have gathered all the feedback from all the conversations, we will start creating some themes and project areas. We will work with a range of representatives including parents and carers, children and young people, and professionals from health, social care and education to develop a draft strategy. This will then be shared again to gain further feedback.
Q: Who will develop the final strategy?
The final strategy will be co-produced by representatives from across the SEND system as above, and will be informed by all the feedback gathered through this process.
Q. What are the timescales on this?
We began this work in February 2020, but had to pause it due to COVID-19. However we believe the time is now right to restart it. We want to collect feedback during November, December and January 2020, and then use this to develop a draft strategy document to share in February 2021. We will then incorporate any additional feedback into this, to produce a new 2021-23 SEND Strategy for April 2021.
Q: Who will ensure the strategy is delivered?
Once the new strategy is in place there are a number of ways that we make sure the work/projects are delivered through very structured project management and governance. We are held to account by families through SPCN and other groups, politicians oversee how we are making progress and we also have a SEND board where all work and progress has to be reported. We also communicate as often as possible with all parents/carers, staff and leaders on progress. Surveys and feedback on progress will also be in place to make sure we are delivering what we should be.
Q: How do you make sure you are getting people's views on the progress made?
We are always asking for feedback on the services we deliver the work we do. This is done via surveys, feedback, meetings, directly from families, through our young persons network. We will make sure we continue to seek feedback as the strategy is embedded.
Q: What do you hope to achieve with the new strategy?
We want to build on the progress achieved in developing SEND services and provision to families over the last 3 years. Making sure we are focussing on what is really important to families and improving outcomes for children and young people with SEND. We want a strategy that is easy to understand, achievable and incorporates the views of all those across the SEND system, making it truly owned and delivered by all. Overall, we want a strategy that demonstrates we have listened, provides clarity on what needs to be delivered or be different and what difference it will make to families lived experience.
Q: How will you know you are doing well and achieving what you said you would?
There are many ways we can measure the success of the strategy. This will be different for different parts of the projects/work e.g. if we were working to improve communication with families – we could measure success by gaining feedback directly from families on how we are doing, we can look at how much families are using our website and social media and we can also get sense by how good our information is by the number of additional queries we get.
The range of measures that we currently use (data, surveys, complaints etc) will be reviewed and we welcome feedback on any other ways you think we could measure success.
We also produced an Easy Read version of our strategy consultation.
Please note: the following information refers to the 2017-2020 SEND Strategy, which is no longer current.
We have developed a more detailed action plan that supports the strategy delivery and this, alongside the strategy forms our SEND statement of action, which has recently been approved by Ofsted and CQC. The new strategy and this plan have been co-produced with the Suffolk Parent Carer Network and they will play a continuing role as our critical friend, ensuring the views of parents and carers remain central in all that we do. We are very grateful for the time that SPCN volunteers give to this work.
We are committed to working together with families and communities to improve the support for children and young people with SEND to meet their potential, live healthy and lead fulfilling lives in their community.
As part of this, all partners have agreed that they want to achieve the following by the end of 2017:
- Children, young people, families and professionals will be able to use the local offer effectively to support their own SEND journey.
- Professionals will be working more closely to share information and through the new EHCP (Education, Health and Care Plan) hub, deliver more timely, high quality co-production with children, young people and families.
- We will have developed a good understanding of the gaps in services and provision and be co-producing new offers to meet identified need.
- The transition through to adulthood will be better understood by children, young people and families with co-produced pathways being developed.
A lot of work is already underway in relation to these commitments. Over the summer we will launch a telephone helpline for the Suffolk Local Offer and in the autumn a new digital EHCP system to make it easier for families and practitioners to keep a track of the progress in relation to their plans. More details will be available on both of these and other developments over the coming weeks and months.
Thank you to everyone who has been part of developing the strategy and statement of action. We must now ensure we deliver for the children, young people and families across Suffolk who rely on SEND services.
Progress with our Statement of Action
Over the last year all partners have worked hard to make progress with creating a system that works much better for children and young people with SEND and their families and we are pleased to have received a recent letter from the Minister recognising our progress. However, we are not complacent, and we know there are still many things that are not working well. Much of the change we have made so far will not yet be having direct benefits for our families and we know that for some people it will feel like nothing has changed. Our task over the coming year is to ensure we continue to work hard to realise the benefits of the changes we have made for families across Suffolk.
Response to the Joint Local Area SEND Revisit in Suffolk
Following the DfE/NHSE joint local area revisit to Suffolk in January 2019, we have added an annex to our original action plan that details additional recommendations identified for the SEND delivery programme.
This plan will be updated as progress is made, we will however communicate if there are changes to service provision to families through our normal communication networks.