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SEND Improvement Partnership Board update – January 2023

Welcome to Devon’s special educational needs and disability (SEND) Improvement Partnership Board update for children, young people, parents, parent carers, carers and professionals. The information on this page is also sent out in a regular newsletter. You can view and subscribe to the SEND Improvement Partnership Board update newsletter here.

The SEND Improvement Partnership Board met on Wednesday 25 January.

The SEND improvement plan covers the four areas of improvement, and each of these areas has a workstream dedicated to delivering it. The Board will meet once a month in 2023, and the workstreams will report on their progress each time.

The SEND Local Offer webpages are currently being updated with more information about the board, including the minutes of previous meetings. We are also creating a quick read version of the SEND Improvement Plan so everyone can see at a glance what we are doing to improve the SEND services in Devon.

Julian Wooster, Director of Children’s Services (Interim), and Donna Manson, who will begin her new role as Chief Executive of Devon County Council later this month, are also taking time to meet, listen and talk to families.

“We accept that there have been significant problems across the whole system in Devon and that the experience of many parents has not been good,” said Julian.

“Communication with many parents has been poor and needs to be improved.

“Too often, our support plans have not been timely or good enough,” he said.

You can read Devon County Council’s statement in full on the Devon news centre pages.

Education Health and Care Plans (EHCPs)

We know we need to improve the timeliness of EHCPs. The Educational Psychology service is stepping up the pace to get reports done so EHCPs can be competed quicker, as well providing assessments for those children and young people already in the system. Educational Psychologists will work in schools and with families on this. We have paused their other work in the meantime, and signposted schools to alternative SEN support service.

We know that some schools and families will be pleased to have the assessments undertaken, but that there will also be schools and families who will be disappointed by the ongoing pause in traded services, and we apologise for this.

Neurodiversity key workers pilot

We have secured funding to run a pilot to test using neurodiversity key workers as part of moving towards a needs-based care approach for children and young people with autism. The key workers will collate a ‘journey of information’ for each child and young person, documenting their strengths and differences. They’ll liaise with social workers, Special Educational Needs Coordinators (SENCo), Children and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHs) workers and Early Help staff.

The aim of the neurodiversity key workers will be to provide early help, including to those children and young people on the waiting list for assessment. The pilot will test how this approach works here in Devon.

SEND Education data dashboard

We have started work building a joint Local Area SEND dashboard between Devon County Council and health partners. This dashboard will help us monitor progress against the SEND Improvement Plan and this will include feedback from children, young people, and parent carers.