Central Bedfordshire Council news and press releases

We've paused short breaks for children and young people with SEND consultation to allow more families voices to be heard

Wednesday, 8 April 2020

We've paused our special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) short break activities consultation due to the COVID-19 national emergency, as many families have other priorities at this time.

The consultation, which began on March 3 and was due to close on May 22, is aimed at increasing the choice of options for children and young people with SEND to access social, leisure and play non-residential short break activities in more locations, closer to where they live.

However, with schools shut and social distancing measures in place to help tackle the spread of COVID-19, we've opted to pause the consultation, in consultation with the SNAP Parent Carer Forum, until schools reopen again.

This will allow parents, carers and voluntary organisations to have adequate time to have their say and to ensure that a full consultation is carried out.

Any responses that have already been submitted, as part of this consultation, will be valid for when it resumes.

Our Executive Member for Families Education and Children, Councillor Sue Clark, said:

We have spent more than a year working with families and voluntary organisations to get these proposals right, so that they provide a positive impact for families, particularly the large proportion of families that don’t currently access any services. It’s through these relationships that families have told us they often have very little spare time, particularly during regular school holidays.

So, with schools now closed until further notice, due to the ongoing COVID-19 national emergency, it is quite understandable that parents and carers will have other priorities at this moment in time. We want as many people to have their say as possible and believe the best opportunity for this to happen is to pause the consultation and resume at a time when parents and carers have the most opportunity to take part.

Our priority remains on ensuring that families with children and young people with SEND are fully involved in planning for their future, so that they get the support that is right for them, and that they have choice and control over how they live their lives and the services they access.