Feedback to help us improve SEND improvements

Feedback from parents and carers to our SEND directors

This feedback is part of our SEND improvement journey.

Throughout June 2020, we held nine virtual sessions with parents and carers of children and young people with SEND (special educational needs and/or disabilities) needs. We listened to the views, thoughts and experiences from the SEND community to gain insight on how we can improve the service.

Below is the feedback from each of those sessions.

Feedback from 1 June 2020

On 1 June you said:

Communication needs to be improved, across senior leadership down to frontline professionals/practitioners.

A family approach needs to be adopted to ensure services and support are offered around the family, not just the immediate presenting need.

Professionals need to better advocates for the best outcomes for children and young people (as opposed to the parent being the only one advocating this). The system needs to be more child centred.

Timeliness of panels and communications with parents/carers needs to improve to avoid parents having to do the chasing for updates or left wondering what is happening.

Feedback from 3 June 2020

On 3 June you said:

Children need to be at the centre of all decision making across education, health and social care.

Families need to feel listened to much more than they are now. They should not have to share their experiences again and again with no change.

Changes need to be felt by families, not just spoken about by CBC.

Staff and SENCOs (special educational needs coordinators) need to receive more regular and specific training in order to better support parents from that first conversation.

CBC should not compare themselves to others, just to make themselves look better. CBC needs to learn and adopt best practice from other local authorities.

Feedback from 5 June 2020

On 5 June morning session you said:

Provision outlined in EHCP (education, health and care plan) should be quantified and specified.

Early Intervention and early help makes a huge difference for children and their families, but this needs to be accessible and in place at the right time.

A closer working partnership between the local authority, health and schools (academies and maintained) is needed.

A review of children attending schools part time is needed to ensure they are still appropriate for the needs of the child.

On 5 June afternoon session you said:

Improved communication between parents/carers and CBC from the very first conversation.

There needs to be more local provision for parents/carers and families, particularly in Leighton Buzzard.

A review of children attending schools on a part time timetable and the impact this is having on their education and well-being is needed.

More transparency at overview and scrutiny; the full picture should be given, not parts of it.

Feedback from 8 June 2020

On 8 June you said:

A smooth transition process is needed for young people with SEND preparing for adulthood between children and adult’s teams across all organisations.

Introducing the role of a ‘keyworker’ where families have got complex needs across health,  social care, and education, would significantly support parents and carers to navigate a very complex system.

CBC require better oversight of children and young people in residential care, to ensure the right decisions are being made about their care and support.

Transparent and timely communications are required with families by CCG and CBC.

Feedback from 10 June 2020

On 10 June you said:

The system is disconnected, and we are constantly having to fight battles at every step. We should not have to do this. 

A lot of time is spent chasing different services and professionals, as timelines are not transparent or there are delays with no communication.

Review and remove the unlawful criteria used as a barrier to EHCPs (education, health and care plan).

All provision (education, health, and social care) outlined in an EHCP (education, health and care plan) needs to be quantified and specific. The provision also has to be in place, otherwise the plan is not worth the paper it is written on.

Feedback from 12 June 2020

On 12 June morning session you said:

Poor communication between the SENCOs (special educational needs coordinators) and schools and SENCOs and parents.

Schools are not open and transparent in a timely manner about the child’s needs or what services and support could be accessed to support the child.

All provision (education, health, and social care) outlined in an EHCP (education, health and care plan) needs to be quantified and specific. When EHCP is finalised, the provision outlined needs to be put in place.

There are many unnecessary delays in assessing a child’s needs which need to be addressed across education, health and social care services.

Parents are left to find out about support available to their children on their own–they are not helped or guided through the system.

Feedback from 12 June 2020

On 12 June afternoon session you said:

Children need to be seen as individuals who do not fit into a specific box or checklist.

Families need to be listened to, to know what life for the child is really like.

Introducing the role of a ‘key worker / co-ordinator’ to help families navigate the system and services, would be a great help to families right from the very first conversation.

Eligibility criteria is needed in the system, but that does not mean that families should be passed from ‘pillar to post’, clearer, more transparent pathways are needed.

Behind the scenes, services need to be better connected and joined up across education, health and social care.

The Children and Families Act needs to be put into place for all families not just those that fight for it.