SEND Partnership Newsletter

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                                                                                                                      March 2022


Welcome to the first SEND Partnership newsletter of 2022.

Within this newsletter you will find links to how you can provide feedback on the SEND Local Offer and share your thoughts on Devon's Housing Options website through a survey. What the Reaching for Independence Team do and many more. This also includes the effect of Covid pandemic on young people, participation in education and employment.

Autism Spectrum Assessment Referral Information

Please see below information regarding the current referral process for a child or young person to be assessed for Autistic Spectrum condition. The process for Devon and Torbay is laid out on Children and Family Health Devon (CFHD) website, with useful resources and referral information links.


Exeter Youth Hub

Youth Hub is based within the Exeter Works, Princesshay space and is aimed specifically at those young people aged 16-24 living in Exeter, Mid and East Devon. Its service, funded by Devon County Council, the Department of Work and Pensions and Exeter City Council, is for the many young people whose plans might have changed as a result of the pandemic and which includes those who aren’t sure which direction to take.

The impact of the service in its first quarter has been undeniable, helping 34 people into employment, 17 into Kickstart roles, and 4 into apprenticeships, as well as 128 Job Centre Plus referrals, supporting young people with their exam results, and holding employer events.

The comprehensive careers service includes:

  • Full needs assessment
  • CV support
  • Interview support
  • Help with job searching
  • Information on t-levels, apprenticeships and kickstart

Click here to take you to their website.

Rhian Hawthorne (Youth Hub Coordinator) and Tom Moodey (Youth Hub Support Officer)

Youth Hub

Parents have asked us to share with them the effect of the Covid pandemic on all young peoples, participation in education and employment.

The early months of the pandemic had a significant impact on young people, with the careers advice service CSW Group reporting a rise in anxiety and low-level mental health issues (both new and existing) amongst those young people recorded as Not in employment Education or training (NEET). Numbers of 16–18-year-olds in Devon recorded as NEET rose during the pandemic but are currently reducing – April 2019 3.9%, April 2020 4.5%.  Jan 2022 4.1%.

Covid has had a significant impact on schools’ ability to provide work experience opportunities to their students.  Virtual work experience was a useful solution for some young people, but many more young people have left post 16 education without any experience of the world of work.

Fewer young people than usual have progressed into Apprenticeships programmes, as families’ have expressed less confidence in this post 16 route during the pandemic. College uptake has however increased by between 10-25% in many areas, seeing further learning as the safer option.

Job opportunities are much better now than 12 months ago with many more jobs available across the county than people registered as available for work. This is especially the case where applicants have suitable qualifications.

Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Local Offer

Last year we launched our new Special Educational Needs and Disabilities website, and we'd love to know what you think! You can view the site here 👉

Did you find what you were looking for? Let us know by using the feedback button on the site – tell us if your experience was good or bad and complete the short survey which includes an open text box so you can let us have any specific feedback.

Welcoming Jo to the Preparing for Adulthood Workstream Membership


My name is Jo and I work as one of the Designated Clinical Officer (DCO) for SEND.  I joined the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) recently in a part-time role and am slowly getting to know many new names and faces, albeit virtually. 

I am a Physiotherapist by background and have spent most of my career to date specialising in working with children, young people and adults with special needs. My role, as one of the DCO‘s, focuses on supporting joined up working between health services and local authorities to help facilitate a positive process, from a healthcare perspective, for children, young people and families involved with SEND processes.  I am involved at both a strategic and a more ‘hands on’ day-to-day level to ensure that health providers are involved with and adhering to all aspects of service related to the SEND Code of Practice.

Put a little more simply I, and the DCO/DMO (Dedicated Medical Officer) team, are here to help enable the best health related outcomes for children and young people with SEND.

I am involved in a number of areas of work across the Devon and Torbay, including leading on Transition from Children’s to Adults Services, linking with Devon Partnership Trust and supporting the roll out of Introductory SEND training to health colleagues across Devon, Torbay and Plymouth.         

I am also the mum of a daughter with SEND and so through both my work and personal life I am passionate about inclusion, independence and ensuring that everyone is given the opportunities to achieve in whatever it is they want to do.

I look forward to meeting and working with more people in my new role and ensuring that SEND is everyone’s business.

Reaching for Independence (RFI) Service

The Reaching for Independence (RFI) Service is Devon’s in-house resource supporting people in the community, to develop life skills and promote their independence.

The service offers short-term enabling support, focused on helping people aged 17 and above to: 

  • develop and/or increase life skills,
  • broaden options e.g. achieving paid employment and
  • gain the skills and aspirations to move onto other opportunities, e.g. accessing community facilities or services, independent or supported living.

The service supports people to achieve the goals/outcomes that are most important to them, helping them to become more independent and lead a fulfilling life.  Where appropriate technology and/or equipment will be used to help further promote this independence.

We place a high level of importance on developing aspirations for young people, and awareness can be achieved through us working with people to show what support can be accessed to allow their lives to be as independent and as normal as possible.

Please see the attached document for an anonymous case showing the support we provided.