Consultation begins on new strategy for Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND)

A brand new strategy for supporting children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) across West Berkshire has been published today (Monday 11 June, 2018).

A consultation has begun and will remain open until Friday 20 July, 2018 for people to have their say on the draft strategy.

The strategy sets out West Berkshire Council’s overarching vision and direction for the SEND services over the next five years. Its aim is for West Berkshire to be a place where every child or young person with SEND has a chance to succeed and where no one gets left behind. It sets out a commitment to ensuring that all young people with SEND reach their full potential and are effectively prepared for their life beyond school, training and further education. The new strategy has five key strands:

  1. Improving inclusion and education outcomes for children with SEND in Early Years settings and mainstream schools
  2. Developing more local provision to meet the needs of children with SEND
  3. Enabling young people with SEND to have good physical and mental health and wellbeing
  4. Improving Post-16 education, learning, employment and training
  5. Improving transitions for young people with SEND to enable them to prepare for adulthood

In developing the new strategy West Berkshire Council has worked closely with parents and carers, schools, colleges, health partners and the voluntary and community sectors. Five groups were set up and met earlier this year to jointly identify and agree the priorities to focus on under each of the five themes and the actions to be complete to achieve the objectives. More information on how the strategy has been developed can be found at www.westberks.gov.uk/sendstrategy2018

Councillor Lynne Doherty, Executive Member for Children, Education and Young People, said:

“This is a really important strategy which sets out how over the next five years we will support children with special educational needs and disabilities. We will be focusing on five areas which will help close the gap between those who already do well and those who may need support to thrive. This will support our ambition to make sure every child reaches their full potential.

“In recent years there have been changes to demand for services, national legislation and local authority funding. Each of these has had an impact on how SEND services are delivered and this new strategy reflects these changes and ensures we have a plan which is fit for the future and delivers services which are both efficient and effective.

“I’m grateful to the families, professionals and community groups who have taken the time to help us shape this new strategy. It’s now out for consultation and I encourage others to read it and have their say over the next few weeks.”

The consultation on the new strategy runs from Monday 11 June 2018 to Friday 20 July 2018 and is available at www.westberks.gov.uk/sendstrategy2018.

There will also be drop-in sessions held in Newbury and Calcot with places available to book online:

The Phoenix Centre, Newtown Road, Newbury

Best Western Calcot Hotel, Calcot

Once the consultation has closed an anonymised summary of the comments received will be published explaining where we have changed any proposals, where we have not made changes to our proposals, we will explain why.

The final Special Educational Needs and Disability Strategy 2018 – 2023 will be published in autumn 2018.