SEND Improvement Board Newsletter - Short breaks, key transitions and #DevonspeaksupforSLCN

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                                                                                                                      June 2021


Welcome to the June edition of the SEND Improvement Board newsletter. In this article you will find information on the forward plans for short breaks, guidance on key transitions and information on working with professionals and EHC plans.

Short breaks for children and young people with disabilities

As some of you may know, in 2019 we started to look into our short breaks support for children and young people with disabilities and their families. We wanted to improve the offer and ensure all children and young people have access to breaks and experiences that they enjoy, to make and meet friends, feel confident, and to thrive with a good family life.

We started by engaging with parents and carers, children and young people and professionals to find out what you think works well, and what we can do better. We held a survey, workshops, attended coffee mornings and meetings to gather a diverse range of views and opinions.

The Covid - 19 pandemic unfortunately meant that we had to pause that work in May 2020, but we’re pleased to let you know that we have now committed to move forward again. We will soon be launching a survey and will hold some interactive sessions to gather more feedback.

Please find more information here about short breaks, alternatively more information will be added to the website.

Working with professionals - When things go wrong

Sometimes, despite best intentions, things go wrong and the relationships between professionals and parent carers can deteriorates or break down. There are all sorts of reasons why this might happen, but the result is almost always lots of extra stress and difficulties for everyone involved. The final part of our topic about working with professionals is now available on the website this has lots of helpful advice about raising concerns, making a complaint and using disagreement resolution or mediation. Parents can also find lots of tips and strategies on our website for building positive day to day relationships and managing virtual and face to face meetings.

 Libraries Unlimited has launched Arts Award Discover at Home

This is an on-line resource of activities made by South West artists aimed at children aged 11 and under (or anyone under 25 with additional needs). Arts Award Discover, is the first level of Arts Award, a set of awards for children and young people that gets them involved in and excited about arts and culture and celebrates their creative achievements. 

The Discover at Home page gives families free access to a fun selection of creative activities that include easy-to-follow guidance and utilise everyday materials found in most homes. 

Find more information on the award here and on Arts Award Discover at Home on our websites - Devon Libraries and Torbay Libraries.


Supporting Key Transitions: children moving to the next phase of education or into adulthood

When children and young people move onto the next phase of their education or come to the end of their time in school these transitions are particularly significant for all involved. Add on the impact of Covid 19 over the past 18 months and we know that this year’s transition has the potential to be even more challenging. With careful planning and support we can all work together to achieve a positive experience for everyone.

This article puts some key information into one place with links to specific guidance and information for each of the key transition points.

Click here to view the Twitter post.


Checking a draft EHC plan and EHC plan reviews

Based on the questions that parent carers ask us, we have some new webpages which provide information about how to check a draft EHC plan using the Hub. It also gives practical advice on EHC plan reviews and tips to help both these processes go smoothly. This Q&A type information walks parent carers step by step through the processes, explaining what they need to do, what to expect and when. These are part of our wider topic collection on EHC needs assessments and plans.

Improving Access to Communication Services and Support Programme (IACSS)


On 13th May 2021 representatives from the Improving Access to Communication Services and Support Programme (IACSS) presented at a Local Government Association (LGA) Webinar, led by ICAN. An overview of how commissioners, service providers and parent/carers are working together to develop an integrated local strategy for Speech, Language and Communication and how they are ensuring that they are planning for continuous improvement was shared. 

ICAN asked representatives from the IACSS programme to demonstrate the work that has been taking place, and continues to take place. It is phenomenal to know that Devon (as a whole) has been recognised as a shining example of good practice; driven by national policy drivers but underpinned by local needs, thinking and planning with an emphasis on implementing a joint response.

Huge thanks to everyone who is supporting this work at all levels, including parents and carers. We can’t do this without you.

For more information please click here.