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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)

Educational psychology and specialist support, along with other colleagues in the Education High Needs SEND service have been 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 autumn term 2019, the county council had provided face-to-face Core Consultations with SEND specialists in 122 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

Schools who volunteered to take part in the first round of Core Consultations have evaluated the meetings with ratings averaging 4.9 (on a 1 - 5 scale where 5 is high) for how helpful they have found the meetings.

A further invitation has been made inviting additional schools to join the pilot in the spring term.

The pilot will continue throughout academic year 2019/20.

We are proud to publish Norfolk’s Area SEND (Special Educational Needs & Disability) Strategy.  This has been co-produced over the past 12 months between Norfolk County Council's Children's and Adult Services, Norfolk Clinical Commissioning Groups, Parent/Carer groups and education professionals within early years settings, schools and colleges. 

Find out more

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.

Find out more

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. Details are available here.

We have been reviewing our current support for young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and their families as they move from Children's Services to Adult Social Services for health and social care provision.

The review involved talking with people who currently use our services, user participation groups, and colleagues in health, education, children’s and adult services.

Preparing for adult life needs to be a positive experience for young people and their families/carers and we know that this can be an anxious and challenging time. People need to know what and when help and support will be available to them as they reach adulthood.

We’ve based our review on the requirements and recommendations in the NICE (National Institute for Health and Care excellence) guidelines, Care Act and the Children and Families Act, to develop a new Prepared for Adult Life (PfAL) Service.

The service will support young people and their families from ages 14-25 to bridge them into adult services where appropriate or help connect them with other local organisations and services that can assist. We will be promoting strengths-based approaches, focusing on four key outcomes for young people with additional needs:

  • Independent living
  • Employment
  • Friends, relationships and community
  • Good health

The Prepared for Adult Life Service will launch in the autumn of 2019.

Young people who are eligible for the service will have a social worker or named professional who can assess their needs, identify what formal help will be on offer post-18, and put them in touch with other organisations to help young people achieve their aspirations and enjoy fulfilling lives.

Further information will be available on the SEND Local Offer PfAL pages or you can ask at your school or college.

In the first half of 2019, we are developing the content of the Norfolk Community Directory.

The focus of this work will be to:

  • Grow the number of services and providers listed in the directory
  • Make sure that these services and providers identify themselves as part of the Local Offer, making it easier to filter the results of a search
  • Include the SEND Local Offer logo on all services and provider records who are part of the Local Offer, making it easier to see these organisations in the results of searches
  • Create guided searches from the Local Offer website pages, which take the user to the relevant services listed in the directory

Work has started on a system-wide redesign and transformation of mental health services for children and young people in Norfolk. This work is overseen and driven by two time-limited groups:

The Delivery Group meets fortnightly. Its members are from across the partnership and includes clinicians, professionals and managers who have a direct responsibility as part of their day job for leading elements of this work and making sure it happens on a day to day basis. It is chaired Tim Eyres, Head of Children's Integrated Commissioning, Norfolk County Council.

The Executive Sponsor Group meets monthly and is chaired by Sara Tough, Executive Director of Children's Services, Norfolk County Council. Jo Smithson, Accountable Officer, NHS Norwich CCG is Vice Chair. This group takes decisions, resolves some of the more complex issues within the programme, makes sure that the programme has the resources it needs and is responsible for connecting and communicating this work to other leaders within the health and care system in Norfolk and Waveney.

Several important areas of agreement have been reached at a recent service design workshop:

  • A vision to embrace the THRIVE model which takes a more joined-up and child centred approach, together with a process for refreshing it
  • Which existing tier 2 and 3 services should be within scope for the future, integrated service
  • Identifying and documenting the key features of the future service model and how it should be accessed
  • Identifying key areas where more work is required (such as on the 0-4 pathway) and how this should be progressed

The THRIVE approach is a service model in which children and young people move easily between different areas of support:

  • Thriving - those whose current need is support to maintain mental wellbeing through effective prevention and promotion strategies
  • Getting Advice - those who need advice, guidance, signposting and support to self-manage
  • Getting Help - those who need focused goals-based input (one professional does most of the work, working towards a shared goal with evidence-informed interventions, review points every 6-8 weeks)
  • Getting More Help - those who need more extensive and specialised goals-based help (two or three professionals actively involved, often alongside other agencies, review points every six months with outcome monitoring)
  • Getting Risk Support - those who have not benefitted from or are unable to use help, but are of such a risk that they are still in contact with services (team approach, comprehensive assessment and formulation to explain why intervention not currently possible and best way to manage risk, may remain open to service or be closed depending on formulation)

This is a subtle shift in the way that the system views the mental health and emotional wellbeing of children and young people. In particular:

  • All children and young people in Norfolk and Waveney are viewed as being within the model at all times
  • Moving as many children and young people as possible into a place where they are thriving
  • A shift away from an illness mindset
  • An approach that deescalates need and encourages early intervention
  • Respecting the need to have strong clinical and professional input
  • Understanding that what is thriving for one child may not be the same as the other and just like adults we may move into different quadrants of the model at different times.

If you want to know more about any of the above, contact Liz Cutts at

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 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.

In November 2018, we started a three month pilot scheme to do the parent carer needs assessment in a new way. The assessment, which is for parents who have a child with a disability, has been part of a full social work assessment until now. We are piloting making it a separate assessment, without the need for a full social work assessment. This will allow the needs of the parent carer to be the focus.

The pilot will be led by workers within the short breaks team, who have the knowledge and understanding of:

  • The needs of children with a disability
  • The impact that caring can have on a parent or carer

Visit parent carer needs assessment for further information.

Independent travel training provides young people with the skills and confidence to travel independently on public transport. By reducing young people’s dependence on specialist transport, we can open up a world of possibilities – going on to college, employment or just being able to get out and about with friends.

Training takes place on the new daily home-to-school journey over a number of weeks. Each young person is matched with a travel trainer who will support them throughout their training. Travel trainers support and teach young people how to complete their journey safely and enjoyably focusing on areas such as pedestrian skills, using public transport, asking for help & problem solving, social interaction and how to identify safe strangers . Additionally, trainers will aim to support personal development and build confidence, helping young people make a diverse range of journeys in the future.

The scheme is open to young people who live in Norfolk and are currently eligible for specialist transport.

For more details about the scheme visit HCT Group - independent travel training. Alternatively if you would like more information, contact Karl Chapman, Independent Travel Manager, email or telephone 01603 222707 or 07422 965187.

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 Personalised travel scheme (PTS) gives families the flexibility to make their own travel arrangements to get their child to and from school.

View more information about the PTS

We are working with organisations to increase the number and range of Supported Internships available across Norfolk.


We have trained over 30 job coaches (with funding from the Department for Education) who are now working in further education, training providers, third sector and day services. This will significantly increase the opportunities for young people with SEND to progress into sustainable employment.


A Supported Internship is a study programme for young people (16-24 years) with an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) who want to work but need additional support to move into employment.


Job coaches work alongside interns and provide support in the workplace, gradually reducing the level of support as the young person becomes more confident and settled in the role.


Supported Internships are for a minimum of six months and include support in the workplace and ‘off job’ training with appropriate English and Maths skills. There are no entry requirements in terms of qualification, but the young person should have already undertaken work placements.


The aim is that the young person will be offered a position at the end of the internship, or an effective alternative, such as an apprenticeship or further assistance in job hunting.


City College Norwich, Easton College, East Coast College and College of West Anglia all offer Supported Internships. Please contact the colleges directly for more information.


For details of other training providers and organisations offering Supported Internships, or for any other information, please email

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
The SEND forum for SEND professionals is organised termly in a variety of venues across the county.
Find out more and forthcoming forum dates.

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