About the Local Offer | Central Bedfordshire Council

About the Local Offer

News and updates for families with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) in Central Bedfordshire

The latest updates about services, events and information for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

This page was last updated on 8 October 2020.

Musical Explorers

This exciting new venture was launched on Saturday 3 October and anyone interested in joining in can do so any time. The sessions are 11am until 11:25am, every Saturday morning and the first one is free. If you choose to continue, we'll then invoice you for the remaining weeks, which works out at £2 per session.

The sessions run weekly from 3 October to 12 December (no session on 31 October). The sessions are led by our very own Sarah Robinson, who is also Head of Music at Weatherfield Academy.

How to book your first, free, session

Email inspiring.music@centralbedfordshire.gov.uk. After your free session, we'll send you a link to sign up for the remainder of the term, if you'd like to do so.

Satisfaction of SEND services survey

Now that the action plan has been signed off by OFSTED and the CQC, SNAP Parent Carer Forum (PCF) is running a survey to find out from parents and carers what their current experience is.

Complete SNAP PCF's survey online

All feedback data will be anonymised.

SNAP PCF needs to understand what is working well and what issues remain since it carried out its previous survey.

SNAP PCF will report its findings to OFSTED, the Care Quality Commission (CQC), the Department for Education (DfE), us, Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group and its members.

You can enter into SNAP PCF's prize draw. It has three electronic vouchers to give away for Marks and Spencer: £50, £25 and £10.

New mentoring support service for parents

Home-Start, a special needs charity based in Dunstable, is currently training special needs volunteers to offer a new SEND parent mentoring service.

Visit Home-Start's website.

This service is delivered by parents, for anyone who cares for a child with additional needs.

Volunteers could offer:

  • someone to talk to who ‘gets it’; the parent mentors have all had experience of parenting children with SEND and can provide one-to-one support via phone or video call
  • guidance to access support services including CAMHS, paediatricians, speech / language services and support groups
  • help to find further support services, including groups with other parents who may be experiencing similar challenges and provide access to further information around specific conditions
  • practical and emotional support, with the aim of helping parents to feel confident and informed about their child’s needs

You can get in touch with Home-Start directly, or be referred by any professional you are working with.

Have your say on our SEND services

Find out how to have your say on our SEND services and support.

Consultation on short breaks

We're running a consultation on a new approach to non-residential short break activities for children and young people with SEND.

Find out more about our short breaks consultation.

RNIB Orbit Reader 20 Scheme

VICTA is currently working in partnership with RNIB on a product grant programme focussed on supporting independent study using technology. If you are registered blind or partially sighted and a UK resident, you could be eligible for an Orbit Reader 20 for Braille users (age criteria 8-29 years).

Ofsted inspection

Find out about our Ofsted inspection.

What is SEND Capital Funding?

The Department for Education (DfE) has allocated £1.6 million of funding to Central Bedfordshire – as part of a national scheme. The funding is allocated over three years; £549,727 each year starting last year (2018/19, 2019/20 and 2020/21). The money is termed as ‘SEND Capital Funding’, which means it can only be used to invest in adapting or expanding buildings and facilities – for good and outstanding local authorities only.

In May 2018 the DfE announced an additional allocation for Central Bedfordshire of £383,530 and in December 2018 the DfE made a further top up of £767,061. Central Bedfordshire has received a total allocation of £2,799,772 to be committed on SEND Capital Funding by 2020/21.

What can SEND Capital Funding be used for?

The funding can be used to improve special provision for children and young people with education, health and care (EHC) plans. Support for special education needs and disabled (SEND) children is provided in a variety of settings, for example special schools, mainstream schools, early years settings and further education colleges. Some Central Bedfordshire children also access support in schools outside of the Central Bedfordshire border.

Our approach

Last year we consulted on our proposed approach for using the SEND Capital Funding. We proposed to invest the 2018/19 money in improving provision within our special schools. As part of this consultation, we also asked about how we should use the future years of funding.

A key principle within our SEND strategy is to support the inclusion of young people with SEND in our mainstream schools, where possible. So, we proposed to invest future funding in SEND provision in mainstream schools. This could include what potential there is for inclusive spaces within mainstream schools, for those with a high percentage of students with EHC plans. This could be in the form of break-out spaces, to provide time away from the main classroom and alleviate stress or anxiety for children with additional needs. Over half (57%) of the consultation respondents agreed with this approach.

Last year there were no funds awarded to mainstream schools or mainstream schools with additional SEND resources, pre-schools or colleges. Express of interests can be submitted by all types of provisions detailed in the DfE guidance.

Applications for SEND Capital Funding

Schools/education settings were asked to express their interest in funding by Friday15 March 2019. Following this, shortlisting took place on Wednesday 20 March 2019 at the Central Bedfordshire SEND Capital Board.

The board consisted of the following representatives - Head of SEND, Head of School Organisation and Capital Planning, Schools Programme Manager, Transformation Project Manager, Special school representation, Mainstream school representation, Early Years SEND Manager and SNAP Parent Carer Forum.

Once a setting/school has been shortlisted, they were required to complete a more detailed business case by Friday 3 May 2019.

Final submission to DfE

The consultation for the SEND Capital Funding for 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 has now been completed.

View short term funding plan

Further information and guidance

Further information on SEND Capital Funding can be found at the Department for Education (DfE) website.

If you have any queries regarding SEND Capital Funding in Central Bedfordshire, please email school.organisation@centralbedfordshire.gov.uk.

Managing demand in SEND

As advised in November, the High Needs Block project is made up of seven workstreams:

  • restorative practice in 12 middle schools and one upper school
  • Special School Early Intervention Outreach - an extension of services to encompass a range of special educational needs, intervening earlier
  • development of identification, assessment and provision for children and young people with underlying speech, language and communication needs (S&LT)
  • whole school approach for targeted lower and primary schools (six identified) to developing sense of safety and security, thus improving overall emotional resilience and behaviour (Mind Map)
  • Social, Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH) inclusion support from JigsawTeam for Years 7 and 8
  • Targeted Early Years support for reception aged children to support transition into school
  • Theraplay support in agreed schools

The Special School Early Intervention Outreach is live, with the two Area Special Schools offering an extended range of support by working collaboratively with mainstream schools to build capacity and confidence.

This workstream is focused on supporting children with communication and interaction difficulties and/or learning needs including, but not exclusively, ASD.

The Early Intervention Outreach Team aims to support schools in meeting the needs of pupils with more complex educational needs. The team will facilitate staff development to build a school’s capacity to meet the needs of a wider range of pupils. The team draws from the expertise within our Area Special Schools and is offered to schools across Central Bedfordshire.

To make a referral into this workstream, schools should be able to evidence two cycles of support given by the school, using the cycle Assess/Plan/Do/Review (see Central Bedfordshire Council's Guidance on SEND 5-16: A Graduated Approach).

Early intervention help from Ivel Valley School and Chiltern School

Find out more about early intervention help on Chiltern School's website (includes referral form).

Managing Demand in SEND training update

‘We are delighted to announce the free of charge training opportunities for the summer term, available to book via CPD Online - full details in this flyer.

Disability benefits form-filling workshop at the Disability Resource Centre, Dunstable

The Disability Resource Centre offer free Disability Benefits workshops that are designed to help you complete your PIP (personal independence payment) or AA (attendance allowance) claim form.

The workshops run most Mondays at The Disability Resource Centre with a maximum of 8 claimants in each session:

When: most Mondays from 9:30am to 12:30pm

Where: The Disability Resource Centre, Poynters House, Poynters Road, Dunstable, Bedfordshire, LU5 4TP

Cost: Free

For more information and to book your place call the Disability Resource Centre on 01582 470970 or visit the Disability Resource Centre website for more details.

Autism Bedfordshire

Autism Bedfordshire is the only voluntary organisation in Bedfordshire that is specialised in supporting autistic adults and children. With over 25 years of first-hand experience, Autism Bedfordshire is a leading provider of high quality autism training throughout Bedfordshire and beyond.

The organisation have developed a comprehensive range of quality, specialist training packages suitable for anyone wanting to increase their understanding of autism and knowledge of strategies to support individuals. Where practical, training is delivered in partnership with autistic guest speakers who offer their unique personal perspective of life on the spectrum.

Autism Bedfordshire have a rolling programme of training events.

You can also contact Autism Bedfordshire via email at training@autismbeds.org or by telephone 01234 214871.