We recently submitted a 2-year plan to the Council for Disabled Children outlining how we will develop to meet the new minimum standards for IAS services.
We were invited to apply for funding to support the plan in 2019-20 and were successful with our bid. (This is additional funding – the Local Authority are required to fund the IAS service for their area and will continue to do so at the current level).
'Your views, we're listening'
(service development survey)
Following our survey in Autumn 2018, we have been focusing on the priorities our service users told us they would like us to develop:
- Direct work with young people
- Clinics/drop-in surgeries
- Webinar training for practitioners
- Wider publicity of our service, including to minority groups
We know that the majority of our helpline calls and training offer focuses on the needs of parents and carers and practitioners at present. Over the coming months we will be doing some work on looking at our direct offer to young people, what they might want from us, how we might support them or work with others to support them around SEND, Education Health and Care Plans, SEN in schools etc.
We want to explore making our information more accessible for young people with additional needs for example, easy-read and using digital media.
Next spring for the first time we will be offering an event for young people instead of a parent/carer conference. To deliver this event we will be joining with the Engagement Hub, who work with the Suffolk SEND Young People Network, and we aim to have some young people on the steering group to make sure that the activities and workshops we offer matches what young people in Suffolk would like. We’re excited about this new venture!
We will be considering our approach to clinics and drop ins again from the Autumn term onwards – but as with everything we do, we have to consider how we use our limited amount of staff time and resources.
Whilst survey work and conversations with parents suggest you would value drop in and clinic sessions, our experience of running them in the past is that take up has not been particularly high. As a result, more recently, we have focused on improving both our offer of individual phone calls with caseworkers and our training offer to parents and carers. However, the offer of drop in sessions is something which we will continue to review.
Parents have regularly asked us if we are delivering the same information and ideas for positive partnership working to practitioners as well as families. This summer term we are involved in delivering or co-delivering as many workshops for practitioners as for parents and carers, around SEND, communication and solution-focussed approaches. This includes sessions for social care practitioners, newly qualified teachers, and practitioners who may be involved in producing advice for an EHC plan.
We are also venturing into the world of webinars, starting with delivering webinars to governors around school SEND responsibilities. Depending on the response, we will be exploring the possibility of offering webinars to parents and carers and young people.
In the Spring term 2019 we sent information packs out to all schools in Suffolk, we will extend this to other services and providers over the coming months.
We will continue to share our information as widely as we can by attending events, meetings and support groups, increasing our social media reach, and establishing further links with Suffolk services and organisations.
We are currently looking at whether our service offer is effective in meeting the needs of all communities in Suffolk.
We are working to develop an increased understanding of the needs of parents carers and young people from ethnic and minority groups to ensure that our service is reaching all those who may benefit from information, advice and support on SEND issues.
This work is at an early stage and we are hoping to build some partnerships with schools who have high numbers of students from ethnic minority backgrounds and agencies that work with minority groups in Suffolk.
We want to involve as many young people, parents/carers and practitioners as possible, as we move forward with our development priorities.
We plan to re-introduce a steering or advisory group. If you would like to get involved please email firstname.lastname@example.org