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Norfolk's SEND Local Offer in development

Norfolk’s SEND Local Offer is constantly being developed. Find out about new, planned and proposed special educational needs and disability (SEND) provision below. This includes schools, educational establishments and SEND support.

In development

What are Core Consultations and how can they help?

Face-to-face core consultations with our SEND specialists will be offered free of charge. At these meetings Norfolk schools will be able to discuss issues relating to SEND in their schools and children about whom they are concerned. 

Schools were invited to register an interest in having core consultations in the summer term of 2019. 

Three strands are being piloted:

  • Core Consultations to mainstream schools
  • Core Consultations Plus (multi-disciplinary)
  • Core Consultations Special (special schools)

Core consultations with mainstream schools took place throughout the academic year 2019/2020.

Educational psychology and specialist support, along with other colleagues in the Education High Needs SEND service were commissioned by the local authority to undertake prevention and early intervention measures.

Specialist learning support teachers, SEMH practitioners and ASD team members facilitate core consultations. Advice is offered on ways of identifying and addressing children’s needs, together with suggestions on evidenced-based approaches to supporting children and young people with SEND. Educational psychologists are available to EPSS facilitators on a consultancy basis.

By the end of the summer term 2020, the county council had provided face-to-face Core Consultations with SEND specialists in over 200 Norfolk schools free of charge. At these meetings schools have been able to discuss issues relating to SEND in their schools and children about whom they are concerned.

Core Consultations provide information and support in the following ways:

  • face to face discussion of issues around individual children and related whole school SEND issues and inclusive practice
  • recommendations on interventions and strategies to support individual children and young people's needs
  • support and professional challenge to ensure a graduated and collaborative approach in meeting children's needs and removing barriers to inclusion
  • signposting to other services as part of Norfolk's local offer of support
  • collaborative access to S2S and DOS

Schools who had Core Consultations have evaluated the meetings and given very positive feedback.

It is hoped that core consultations will continue throughout academic year 2020/2021.

For further information contact cs.epss@norfolk.gov.uk

Norfolk County Council has an ambitious strategy to transform education for children with special educational needs and disabilities, investing in new specialist school places and strengthening support to mainstream schools.

SRB - plan to expand provision

We are beginning an exciting and ambitious programme of changes for SEND in Norfolk.

As part of this, we are opening up to four new special schools in Norfolk. One of these schools is being established under the Department for Education (DfE) national special and AP free school wave. Other schools are being established using the local authority presumption route.

Existing or potential approved academy sponsors have been provided with information about our schools.

Find out more about the new special free schools.

Norfolk is a Wave 2 Trailblazer site for Mental Health Support Teams in schools (MHSTs).

The Norfolk and Waveney Health and Care Partnership (formerly known as the Sustainability and Transformation Partnership) has been granted funding for two additional Mental Health Support Teams which will be based in South Norfolk and Lowestoft. These will be in addition to teams that started in January this year in North Norfolk and King’s Lynn.

Each team will work with approximately 20 schools (8000 pupils) across a range of education settings, with a focus on children and young people with mild to moderate mental health issues.

Funded by the Department for Education and Department of Health and Social Care, the teams will complement the work already happening in schools, providing a range of support such as talking therapy and group support, as well as staff consultation and help for parents.

Recruitment and training has been taking place throughout 2020 for the teams in North Norfolk and King's Lynn who are expected to be fully operational by April 2021.

The teams in Lowestoft and South Norfolk are expected to start in January 2021 and will be fully operational in January 2022.

We have also prioritised funding for an additional four CYP Wellbeing Practitioner (CWP) posts.

New developments

We have produced an ambitious SEND sufficiency strategy, as part of our SEND transformation programme to improve specialist provision for children and young people with SEND. Find out more about the SEND transformation programme.

In 2018, we published the outcome of an Independent review into the Norfolk Integrated Speech and Language Therapy service. The purpose of this review was to understand why the commissioned service wasn’t working as effectively as we had planned and what changes we should make to improve the service offer for children, young people and their families. The action plan included the following recommendations:

  • Remodelling of the complex and special school offer - within existing resources
  • Reviewing the referral routes to maximise efficiency and improve access into the service
  • Issuing advice to schools about how to support children with SLCN in a graduated approach, processes for support, and clarification of the Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan SLT assessment referral process
  • Publishing clearer information on the Local Offer about speech, language and communication support
  • Developing Norfolk wide Speech, Language and Communication Need (SLCN) stakeholder group - in partnership with settings, schools and families

What changes have been made so far?

  • Additional 30% investment to improve the service offer to schools
  • Changed the referral route and created a parent advice service
  • Developed resources and information online
  • Established a successful stakeholder forum and developed a strategy for SLCN
  • Engaged with parents and parent/carer groups to better understand patient experience

What next?

Further work is needed to support schools and settings to be better resourced to ensure children and young people can get support easily. In autumn 2019, we plan to implement more changes to improve the service.

The new Norfolk and Waveney – Mental Health Advice and Support for 0-25’s service has been set up as our one stop place for information, advice and guidance. At its heart are the following core principles:

0—25 years: any child, young person or young adult up to their 26th birthday will be served by this approach in all settings and in all areas of Thrive methodology.
A focus on Thriving: investing in early prevention and aiming to return those with difficulties to a Thriving state.
Working as a single system, with shared case management, agreed goals, performance management and assessments across providers. This will enable families and young people to tell their story once.
Clear access routes for children, young people, young adults and professionals working across systems removing the need to re-refer (so CYP are not moved to the end of another waiting list), if a system partner is better placed to meet the need.
Community Based: serving local communities and building community capacity. We are mindful that CYP communities may not reflect a geographical location.
Relationship focused: reducing ‘hand-offs’ and reducing the amount of times children and young people need to tell their story.
Multi-agency multi-disciplinary teams that provide support to families, professionals, and universal settings (especially schools).
Goal-focused and episodic interventions: involving children, young people and young adults in setting goals and making choices.

Work is now underway to review and redesign the mental health offer for Looked After Children considering the new service model.


During 2019/20, we are piloting SEND family roadshows. We are touring the county to meet, share information with and hear the views of parents and carers who have a child with SEND. Find out about the family roadshows and book your place.

The establishment of the Norfolk SLCN Stakeholder Group provides a formal dialogue process on how services could develop outside the remit of the commissioned speech and language therapy (SLT) service.  The aim of which is to empower all SLCN system providers to work together with families to improve outcomes for children. In response to the independent review undertaken in summer 2018, the Stakeholder Group is tasked with achieving the following objectives;

  • developing a strategy for SLCN across Norfolk
  • coordinating system-wide initiatives across commissioned services including but not limited to speech and language therapy to ensure children and young people with their families have access to seamless transitions
  • promote communication skills and language development as an essential life skill
  • build confidence in our stakeholders in the Norfolk integrated service offer

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