Welcome to the November 2021 bulletin

We've got the latest news on EHCPs, speech and language therapy, new toolkits for professionals, events, new educational provision and much more.

All the updates are short, but have options for more information if you’re interested. You can also find regular updates on our SEND Local Offer Facebook and Twitter.


New toolkits to support professionals

Two new toolkits have been published to help professionals work better with parents and carers. These have been developed by a partnership of parent carer groups and professionals at Norfolk County Council and NHS Norfolk and Waveney CCG.

The first is a SEND communications guide which aims to help anyone producing information for families with children and young people with SEND to do so in a simple and clear way.

It provides guidance about using plain English, a glossary to help professionals explain some of the more complex terms they may need to use, and prompts to consider how leaflets, letters and other information can best be put together. To see the new SEND communications guide click here.

The second is an online toolkit which provides resources and best practice guidance for professionals to help them make sure they are routinely engaging with and working in partnership with parents and carers and others. This is to make sure that providers of SEND services work together with children, families and other organisations to develop and plan services and help with service design, delivery, and feedback. You can see the new planning SEND services together toolkit here.


Supporting families waiting for speech and language therapy

Families of the 1,500 children in Norfolk on the waiting list for speech and language therapy are being reassured they will be contacted and offered support very soon.

The new Norfolk and Waveney Speech and Language Therapy Service, which started in August with a new provider, plans to ensure all children on the waiting list with a high clinical need are identified and prioritised for a full assessment whilst others will be supported by professionals or signposted to self-care resources.

The service is proactively contacting anyone who has referred a child for speech and language therapy, whether this is a school, early years setting, professional or parent/carer. Any follow up appointments will be provided within two half terms. 

Special school headteachers and leadership teams are also working closely with the new service. Speech and language therapists will be doing a mixture of training for school staff, updating programmes for children who need a change of approach, and looking at the needs of new students in these settings.

A range of self-care and training resources are available on the Just One Norfolk website and Just One Number can be contacted for advice and support at 0300 300 0123.


EHCP progress

A total of 53% of new referrals for Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs) are now being completed within 20 weeks.

Norfolk County Council has almost doubled the size of its EHCP Co-ordinators team in an effort to improve its performance. It had previously been completing around eight per cent of EHCPs within 20 weeks.

The council is really pleased to have achieved this significant improvement within the last year, but it now looks unlikely it will meet Ofsted/CQC’s target of completing 60% of new referrals by December 2021.

This is because of a number of continuing challenges including limited capacity in educational psychology teams, which provide key reports for EHCPs and continuing very high referral rates for new EHCPs and very high numbers of enquiries about progress.

The EHCP team is working hard to further improve and other SEND professionals at the council are working to improve confidence around SEN Support in schools, where children can be supported without EHCPs. 


New Preparing for Adult Life Guides

Professionals from Norfolk County Council’s Preparing for Adult Life Service (PfAL) have been working with parent carer groups including Family Voice Norfolk in recent weeks to produce three useful new guides aimed at parents, carers and young people with SEND.

They are: Being healthy as an adult, Being independent as an adult and Being part of the community as an adult.

The three guides are part of a range of resources which have been developed to support young people moving approaching a new phase in their life like moving to a new school or college or moving into the world of work and independent life.

Find more about transition planning and the specialist help and support available for young people with SEND here.


At a glance transport information for parents and carers

A new information sheet is being sent to parents and carers to help you understand what to expect from the transport service at Norfolk County Council and how everyone can work together.

 

It outlines the different ways the council will help families with transporting children and young people to and from school or college. These include the personalised travel scheme (where it pays parents a mileage rate to provide transport), bus and train passes, TITAN independence training to use public transport and taxi and minibus provision.

 

You can also find further information about the council’s transport policy which explains who is eligible for assistance.

 

The information sheet also provides some information about what the transport team will do to provide the most appropriate service including: providing meet and greet opportunities for families with operators, ensuring DBS checks are completed and drivers have appropriate training, and communicating about any changes of operator. And it explains what parents and carers and children and young people can do to play their part.

 


Making Sense of SEND event

The next Making Sense of SEND event is all about the support available for carers. It is being held online on Microsoft Teams on Wednesday 17 November from 10am to 11.30am.

 

To find out more about these events click here. To book a place for the next event on 17 November click here.


 

Webinar about mental health webinar and education rights

Parents and carers are invited to attend a free webinar with information and advice from Norfolk SEND Information, Advice and Support Service (SENDIASS) about legal rights in education. Digital provider Kooth will also be giving a short presentation about the mental health and wellbeing services they provide.

The event is being held on Microsoft Teams on Tuesday 16 November from 10am to 11am. To book a place click here. To find out more about SENDIASS click here and to find out more about Kooth click here.


Let's Talk about short breaks

Parent carer group Family Voice Norfolk is running events this month about short breaks.

Let’s Talk about the Norfolk County Council Short Breaks service is being hosted on Monday 22 November from 10am to 11.30am and Tuesday 23 November from 7pm to 8.30pm. It will include information about how this service could help your family.

To join these events email Sally at events@familyvoice.org.uk To find out more about events click here.


SEND Youth Forum

Sharing experiences, creating change, and helping to improve services are all opportunities on offer by joining the Norfolk SEND Youth Forum.

The group is for children and young people aged between 11 and 25 with SEND and meets virtually every month. The next meeting is on Wednesday 17 November.

Members of the group recently attended the Youth Voice Matters Conference, you can watch the Youth Voice Matters conference film here.

To find out more about the forum and register your interest click here.


Supporting schools to support children and young people with SEND

Primary and secondary schools and academies are being reminded that they can sign up for a free service which gives and advice and help on how to best support children and young people in their learning.

 

This help can be around how to meet a specific child’s needs or how to make sure to make sure they have the most inclusive approach to support children with SEND needs including autism and social, emotional and mental health (SEMH) needs.

 

The service is provided by educational professionals at Norfolk County Council and is called a core consultation. The team is currently working with 297 schools, which is about 75% of schools in Norfolk, including local authority schools, federations and academies.

 

Evaluations from schools have been very positive with comments indicating a strengthening of schools’ knowledge of SEND approaches and confidence in addressing the needs of pupils once they have been involved in a core consultation.

 

Any schools wishing to find out more should contact sandra.winter@norfolk.gov.uk.


Norfolk Dyslexia Friendly School Quality Mark Award

The Dyslexia Outreach Service is looking to expand its work over the coming year so more schools in Norfolk have a good knowledge and understanding of the needs of their dyslexic learners, as well as the resources and systems in place to meet those needs.

Schools who sign up to the Quality Mark will be given a comprehensive package of support including workshops, specialist advice, courses, and tailored consultation sessions.

For more information about how your school can register for the Quality Mark and the costs involved, please email Laura Bates at dosadmin@taverhamhigh.org


New special schools

Bure Park Specialist Academy in Caister Road, Great Yarmouth, is now open and has welcomed its new teaching team and its first 29 students and their families. The school, which is for boys aged from five to 16 with social, emotional and mental health (SEMH) needs, will increase its intake to a maximum capacity of 88 places by the end of next year.

New Head of School Hayley Ross said it would provide ‘a safe space to learn and thrive, nurturing the confidence and skills for children and young people to create the life chances they deserve’.

The school is the first of three new-build special schools due to open in the next 18 months as part of Norfolk County Council’s £120 million SEND transformation programme.

The new Duke of Lancaster School in Fakenham, which will provide up to 100 places  for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and associated difficulties, is currently on course to open to its first children in January.

And work has started on the road to access the site at Easton, near Norwich, where a new school for 170 children with learning and cognition needs will be built. Called The Bridge Easton, it is due to open in January 2023.

You can find out more about these schools here. Many thanks to Simon Watson photography for the aerial photo of the Bure Park Specialist Academy.


 

New deaf resource base in Great Yarmouth

Great Yarmouth Primary Academy is the host school for the Virtual School Sensory Support’s newest Deaf Resource Base, which opened its doors at the start of this academic year. 

 

It is staffed by a full time Teacher of the Deaf and two Specialist Support Assistants. Children are taught using communication approaches which are tailored to their level of language development, in this well-resourced, acoustically-treated base, as well as being supported in their mainstream classes. Training for mainstream staff has also been delivered to enable deaf awareness to be embedded throughout the school.

To find out more about Specialist Resource Bases for deaf children click here.


Want to find out more?

Did you know the Norfolk SEND Local Offer web pages have a special section designed for children and young people aged from 10 to 25? Click here to see it.

More detailed information on SEND services can be found on the Norfolk SEND Local Offer web pages at www.norfolk.gov.uk/SEND. There is a special section designed for children and young people aged from 10 to 25 here

Click here for the subscription link to this Norfolk SEND Bulletin.

Family Voice Norfolk Home – Family Voice Norfolk is the parents carer forum for the county, working with health, education and social services to improve services for children and young people with SEND and their families.

Impartial help, support and advice

If you need help and support please contact:

Norfolk SEND Partnership information and advice service (SENDiass) Norfolk SEND Partnership Home Page (norfolksendpartnershipiass.org.uk)

SENSational Families SENsational Families | Home

Norfolk SEN Network Norfolk SEN Network – Supporting parents of children with special educational needs

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