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Welcome to SENCo News

Dan Barton

Dan Barton, Assistant Director for Education and Skills at Cumbria County Council

“Welcome to our first edition of SENCo News. SENCos are an absolutely critical part of the SEND workforce and integral to our efforts to improve the experience for SEND children and their families across Cumbria.

"We recognise that as a Local Authority we need to do more to engage with SENCos to ensure we provide you with the information you need, and to listen to your experience and feedback about what’s working and what’s not. SENCo News is part of that, along with the development of the SENCo Network across the county.

"The intention is for this to become a regular bulletin, providing updates in key policy changes, training opportunities and best practice case studies. We want it to be useful to you, so please share your thoughts about what it should contain. We also want to make sure that we are using this as a way to listen – we don’t know everything, and we will get better outcomes for our young people if we are working more closely together, and hearing what you have to say. We hope you find this first edition helpful."

Get involved

  • We'll be issuing SENCo News every half-term. If you have items to contribute to the newsletter (best practice, top tips, resources, questions, case studies…) contact
  • If you are interested in forming part of a Cumbrian SENCO steering group, please also let us know.
  • Please forward this eBulletin to colleagues to help us grow the SENCo Network.

Latest Updates


Let's get SENCo networking!

We recently held a series of SENCo Network meetings across the districts covering a range of topics related to SEND. These included information on the accurate recording of census information for SEN pupils, input from SENDIAS and the All of Us SEND young people's group. We also shared information on schools responsibilities in making reasonable adjustments and accessibility planning. The events were well attended by SENCos and the feedback was really positive.

Dates for the next SENCO Network meetings:

  • Thursday 12 March 2020 - Penrith Methodist Church, Wordsworth Street, Penrith, CA11 7QY
  • Thursday 19 March 2020 - The Queen Katherine School, Appleby Road, Kendal, LA9 6PJ
  • Thursday 26 March 2020 - Chill Out Zone, St Gregory and St Patrick’s Catholic Community School, Esk Avenue, Whitehaven, CA28 8AJ

Hope to see you there!

SEND child

Preparing for Adulthood: changes to EHCP requirements

We recently sent out some guidance, produced by the National Development Team for Inclusion (NDTI), which aims to support families and young people by focusing conversations with them in relation to Preparation for Adulthood (PfA).

+ Read the NDTI guidance

The Local Authority, Health Services, Parents/Carers and other partners are in the process of developing a Cumbria Road Map for Preparation for Adulthood, which will lead to changes in the EHCP format and a better focus on planning for next steps for our children and young people with SEND.

Whilst this is in development, and ahead of implementation next Spring, we need to ensure that all of our Year 11 EHCP reviews this year before 31st March include proper evidence that PfA outcomes (Employment, Independent Living, Community Inclusion and Health) are being used to inform genuine pathway planning for our young people with SEND. It is critical that we do this, and an important measure of our progress in improving the lived experience of young adults in Cumbria. If we get this right, we will be addressing one of the most significant concerns that families have, and helping to create fulfilling and happy adult lives.

In the short, before changes are made to the EHCP proforma, and before training takes place in the Spring with a colleague from the NDTI, please can everyone ensure that these conversations and plans take place, and that review paperwork is submitted with clear reference to what has been discussed and agreed.

When we look to change the EHCP form in the Spring, it would be very useful indeed to hear from colleague SENCOs who are interested in collaborating on this piece of work.


Cumbria SEND IAS Service - Support for parents and carers of children and young people with SEND

If parents and carers feel they would benefit from some impartial information, advice or support on any issues relating to their children’s special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), they can contact the Cumbria SEND Information, Advice and Support Service (SENDIASS) who offer a range of support. We help parents, carers and young people to prepare for meetings with schools or the local authority and practically support them at the meetings in an appropriate and impartial manner. We also signpost to other relevant support networks.

+ More information on Cumbria SENDIASS and how to find support.

questionnaire survey

Help promote the SEN Support parent/carer survey

As part of Cumbria's SEND Improvement Programme we've been conducting a survey of parents/carers of children receiving SEN Support in school. We want to understand their experiences better. Their responses are anonymous and the school their children attends is not identified. 

We would like your help in promoting the survey to parents/carers at your school. Below is a link to a letter which we would appreciate if you could send to families with children on your SEN Register. We'll share the survey findings with you in the New Year. Thanks for your support.

+ Download the parent/carer letter

Are you telling parents about the SEND Local Offer?

local offer

The Cumbria SEND Local Offer is an online information resource for all things SEND. From education to health, leisure, travel and support, all parents/carers should be made aware of the Local Offer. 

Our surveys are telling us that too many parents/carers do not know about it, so cannot benefit from the information it provides. Please help us make parents/carers aware.

+ Visit Cumbria's SEND Local Offer

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