Support for children aged 0-25 with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities

An update on local plans for improving special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) provision

Message from Cathi Hadley, Corporate Director, Children's Services, BCP Council - February 2024

Dear Parents

You will be aware of the work we have been doing to improve SEND provision for children and young people across Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole. 

Many of you have been working with us through our parent and carer groups since July 2023, to review the impact of our written statement of action, published in November 2021. We all agreed that the implementation of the changes needed was too slow and too many children were continuing to experience delays in service provision. 

The outcome of that review is that Department of Education (DfE) is still concerned about our ability to improve our SEND services. They have issued us with a requirement to improve, called a Statutory Direction. This also states that we need to work, with our partners including the NHS, schools and colleges, early years providers and parent and carer groups, to quickly to improve SEND services.  

I recognise and accept this assessment and the requirement to make improvements, quickly.

I am pleased that the DfE have recognised our renewed effort to improve outcomes for children and young people with SEND but I know that we have more to do.

We have reviewed our SEND services and work with partners and have a clear plan to improve these over the next two years. At the heart of this our focus will be to create SEND services that are responsive, child-led, offer earlier identification and support, and are inclusive for all children and young people.  This plan was approved by our SEND Improvement Board in February 2024.

The progress against this plan will be monitored by the SEND Improvement Board which will make sure we are all delivering what we need to. We will keep you informed of our progress and involve and engage you as we start to develop a new way of working.

We are optimistic about our ability to make the improvements needed as we have the commitment from our partners and a determination from everyone involved to improve the outcomes for our SEND children. Our plan has eight key themes which will focus our work. These are  

  • Early identification and intervention - working together and collaboratively to deliver early help to ensure a ‘right people, right conversations, right time’ approach
  • Inclusion - having a more consistent ethos and commitment to inclusion across all our learning places and services, looking to keep children in mainstream provision wherever possible
  • A clear and agreed pathway - working together, with a clear pathway for children, young people and their families ensuring they do not have to repeat their story to multiple professionals.
  • The right number and types of places - delivering improved educational and life outcomes for the majority of our children and young people within their local community.
  • Preparation for adulthood - enabling young people to confidently plan for their future, work collaboratively to reduce barriers and optimise opportunities for positive change in our systems
  • Communication and coproduction - developing effective co-production processes and clear effective communication plans, using the lived experience of children and young people with SEND and their families to inform our work.
  • Leadership, management and governance – improving our strategic leadership to drive sustainable, impactful change across our SEND System.
  • Managing resources – making sure we have the correct resources allocated to the wider SEND system, as well as the wider improvement journey.

I am pleased that we are already starting to see improvements to our service. We know more needs to be done to ensure every child and young person with SEND starts to see the change.  

We still have some challenges ahead however by getting the foundations right across the SEND system we will drive sustainable improvements to our SEND service in the years to come.    

By working together, listening to you and your experiences, and joining up our system to work better, I am confident that every child and young person with SEND in the Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole area will receive the support they need to reach their full potential.  

Thank you for your continued support and involvement with our work.

Cathi Hadley, Corporate Director – Children's Services BCP Council

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