DiAS Newsletter Summer term 2019

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Devon information Advice and Support

Issue number 4 

Summer holiday

Welcome to the summer term issue of the DIAS newsletter. There’s the usual round up of news from us and updates about Devon SEND services and organisations, as well as national news.

This time of year can be a tricky one for families with a child or young person with special educational needs – lots of change, a big transition to a new school for some and the lack of routine in the holidays. There are lots of resources out there to help you over the holidays and in the run up to the new term. We’ve mentioned a few in the newsletter, but we’ll be posting the details of more on our Facebook page over the holidays. If you’d not a follower, head to the page and click the button now!

We recently took part in the national user feedback survey for Information, Advice and Support services – we gave 50 pieces of feedback from our service users in Devon. The scores are rated 1-5 and based on the satisfaction of service users across six areas. We came above the national average and in the top 20, which we’re delighted about. But we’re looking forward to improving our scores across all the areas for next year’s national survey! Feel free to submit feedback to us through our online survey.

DIAS news

face to face

New one to one information and support sessions come to North Devon

If you’re in North Devon and looking for information and support about any SEND issue, you can now talk to Kate or Jane directly at our new bookable one to one sessions. At the session you’ll have a chance to talk individually face to face with one of the DIAS Officers, where you can ask questions, discuss your options and plan your next step.

The first session takes place in the committee room at Roundswell Community Centre, Barnstaple on Thursday 26 September 2019. It runs between 11am and 1pm and each slot with a DIAS Officer lasts a maximum of 30 minutes. Sessions are open to parents, carers and to young people. If you’d like to find out more or book a slot, contact jane.pope@devon.gov.uk or kate.boyd@devon.gov.uk or call the enquiry line on 01392 383080.

BO ivybridge

Free parent training next term in Ivybridge and Okehampton

Better Outcomes is our free training for parents and carers about getting the most out of meetings with schools and professionals. Using film clips based on real meetings and discussion, the training focuses on practical tips and and ways to make meetings better for everyone. Click on the links to book your place for an autumn session.

We are looking for more groups and venues to make sure we reach as many people as possible. If your school or group would like to host the training contact Jane Ring, DIAS Training Officer at jane.ring@devon.gov.uk or on 01392 384356.


You can now see how our service is responding to your feedback

We are always trying to improve our service to ensure our families are getting the support they want and need. One way we do this is by capturing feedback from the people who use our services. We collect feedback in several ways using postal questionnaires, telephone interviews, internet surveys and questionnaires following training events.

You can now see what people said about our service – including comments about how and when we respond to enquiries and how easy to use our resources are - and how we have responded. Our new web page ‘You said, we did’ features your queries and our replies, plus the many ways you call tell us what you think.


Working together with parents training

This is our free training for school staff and other professionals who take part in SEND meetings. It sits alongside our Better Outcomes training for parents and aims to help professionals get the best out of meetings. It’s been designed to support Devon’s core competency framework. We are holding the training at Children’s Centres across Devon and in some special schools but would like to run it in mainstream schools too – so that as many staff as possible can benefit. The training is supportive, non-judgemental and collaborative.

If your school or college would like to host a session, get in touch with Jane Ring, DIAS Training Officer at jane.ring@devon.gov.uk or on 01392 384356 for further information.

Coming soon!

DiAS 2019 logo

A sneaky peek at the new DIAS logo

Our publications and logo are having a bit of TLC and a new look and feel is on its way. The changes we are making are based on direct feedback from parents about who we are and how they see us. Parents know us as DIAS, not as Devon Information Advice and Support and no one we asked was really sure what the boat in our logo meant! Our new logo reflects these two views but keeps the colours from the current logo. We hope you like it – you’ll start to see it on our publications and resources soon as we make the gradual switch. Your feedback is always welcome too!

EHC leaflet cover

Our new leaflet is also on its way!

Our new leaflet about EHC needs assessments will be available in September and it has lots of new features. As well as being a printed leaflet, it's also an interactive PDF which has embedded links in it to further resources and a contents list and colour coded sections which mean you can find what you want quickly. There are quotes from parents and lots of practical step by steps advice and information too.

Ambassador Volunteer Project

We are looking forward to welcoming a new member to the DIAS team in the autumn - leading on our new Ambassador Volunteer Project. We are working with Devon Parent Carer Voice on the project, which will help us to reach more of you around Devon. Watch out for more news about the project, and how you could get involved, in September.

New icon

Devon news

transition booklet

Resources to help with transitions

When children and young people move school or change school year it can often be a stressful and challenging time for all the family, so it makes sense to prepare for it well.

There are lots of things you and your child can do to help make things feel better and run more smoothly. The information and advice from Devon’s Educational Psychology Service about making the move between school stages should help.

children and family health devon

Devon’s children and family community health services have changed

An alliance of local NHS providers started providing community health services for children, young people and their families across Devon in April. The alliance has taken over the contract from Virgin Care Ltd and is led by Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust in partnership with Devon Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust, Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust and Livewell Southwest.

Referrals for children and young people are being received and dealt with in the same way as they were. The new service is called Children and Family Health Devon. You can find out more on their website


Ways to get involved in shaping Devon services

Parent carers can have their say on local services by being part of Devon Parent Carer Forum - a group of parents and carers of children and young people with SEND. Their aim is to make sure that services meet the needs of these children and their parents by gathering the views of local families. The Forum is changing the way it works and becoming a new organisation, so that it can reach as many parent carers as possible and learn more about issues they face. Supporting this change is a group of parents who meet regularly to review the Local Authority “Local Offer”. The “Local Offer” is the name for all the services and support that is available to children and young people with SEND.

If you would like to be involved in any way with developing services for children’s and young people with SEND in Devon please email participation@devon.gov.uk

young people voices

Save the Date - children and young people’s voice event coming next term!

Children and young people can have their say on local services by being part of a network called Champions for Change. This is a group of young people with SEND who believe that their voices should be heard and not ignored. Young people can learn more about Champions for Change and their right to have a say in the decisions that affect them by coming to a fun day planned for Saturday 28th September 2019 at Tiverton Youth Centre. There are more details coming soon, but for now, put the date in your diary!

Ofsted logo

Devon’s written statement of action in response to the Ofsted and CQC inspection

The services that work with children and young people with SEND in Devon have produced a “Written Statement of Action”. This is in response to a recent Ofsted and CQC inspection of local services. The statement sets out the plans to make improvements in four key areas:

• Understanding of Devon's SEND strategy
• Improving communication
• Timeliness and quality of Education Health and Care Plans
• Improving support for children with autism

Over the next few months Devon County Council and NHS Devon Clinical Commissioning Group will continue ask the views of parents, children and young people as they work to improve these services. You can find out more on the Devon County Council website.

Max card

Join the disability network and get your Max card for the holidays!

The Disability Network helps Devon County Council keep parents informed about available services in Devon. It gives parents and carers opportunities to be involved in consultations, and in designing services for Children and Young People with SEN and/or disabilities. The information from the Disability Network also helps Children’s Services to understand local needs for services.

When a parent/carer registers their child or young person (age 0-25) Devon County Council will send them a free “Max Card”. It allows the eligible child or young person free or discounted admission to more than 800 attractions nationwide, over 60 of which are in Devon and Cornwall.

You can find out more about the Disability Network on the Devon County Council website.

National news

exclusions review

Exclusions Review published

Schools will be made accountable for the pupils they exclude and there will be a clampdown on off-rolling, as part of Government measures taken in response to the Timpson Review of exclusions. The review makes 30 recommendations to Government as it highlights variation in exclusions practice across different schools, local authorities and certain groups of children. The report concludes that there needs to be action to ensure permanent exclusions are only used as a last resort, where nothing else will do. You can read more about Edward Timpson's recommendations and the Government's response on the Government website.

exclusions what's legal

School exclusions - what is legal?

The National Children’s Bureau, the Association of School and College Leaders and IPSEA, have published a guide to the legal and unlawful use of exclusions and other practices such as off-rolling. Schools, parents and pupils alike will benefit from clear information about their legal powers and rights.

You can download the guide from the National Children’s Bureau website.

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