Annual Report - Executive Summary

Welcome to the SEND Partnership Service (SPS) Annual Report. This report summarises the activities and evaluation of the service for the year September 2020 – August 2021. Throughout this report, unless otherwise specified, when we refer to ‘parents’ we include all parents, step-parents, adoptive parents or adult carers who have legal responsibility for a child or young person with special educational needs or a disability and live in the Bath and North East Somerset area.

SPS is commissioned by the Local Authority and Clinical Commissioning Group (LA/CCG) to fulfil the statutory duty to provide information, advice and support (IAS) for children and young people aged 0 – 25 years with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and their parents across Bath and North East Somerset. The service is jointly funded by the Local Authority (LA), with a contribution specifically from Children’s Social Care, and the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

In August 2021, 1689 children and young people had an Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan: 45 of whom are pre-school, 1294 aged 5-16 and 350 post-16, of whom 120 are aged 20+. The school census data for Bath and North East Somerset tells us that there are a further 3000 children and young people with SEND receiving SEN Support who have not reached the threshold for an EHCP.  The FE Sector reports over 700 young people in need of exam arrangements to meet their specific needs.  In the Early Year’s sector 286 children between April 2020 and March 2021 received inclusion support funding and/or transition support funding.  A potential cohort for support which totals more than 5500 families.

Additionally, children and young people with SEND are included in activities at Children’s Centres, voluntary organisations, alternative education provision, supported internships, apprenticeship programmes like Project Search and inclusive employment schemes that fall outside these three sectors.  All of these children and young people are entitled to the impartial information and advice provided by SPS.

In the 2020-21 academic year SPS worked with 636 families through a range of scenarios including educational placement breakdown, inadequate provision, requesting an assessment, exclusion (430 of these cases required in depth, complex support). 3255 visitors viewed over 10,800 pages on the website during the year and on average posts on Facebook reached 2,375 people per month. SPS recorded 58 consultations with professionals where generic advice was sought.

During this academic year SPS reached approximately 11% of the known cohort of parents, children and young people offering information, advice and support which demonstrates a continuing increase of reach over time. It should be noted that the increase, though small, is not insignificant.  As SPS increases its reach to families so do the numbers of children and young people able to access support. 

This data must be considered against the backdrop of the year long disruption to children and young people’s education resulting from the pandemic and in particular the impact of the lockdowns which resulted in considerably lower in person attendance across all education settings.

Since March 2020, SPS has become an agile and responsive service with staff working from home, adjustments have been made to working hours to fit in with home commitments, lots of research and webinar training was undertaken to keep up with the constant changes in guidance and legislation from Government for children and young people with SEND (as well as their families), time spent trialling and testing a range of communication platforms TEAMS, Zoom, Skype to share important information and to alert each other to urgent enquiries requiring attention.  All alongside strategies to maintain team cohesion and good health and wellbeing, the recruitment and induction of a new member of staff and volunteers and identifying and contacting those families who we were aware might find this a difficult time.

SPS is designed to deliver an impartial and supportive service for those who need it and making sure we deliver what our service users want is important to us. At the end of an intervention, we contact families and ask them what went well, did they feel more confident as a result of working with us and what, if anything, could we improve. This is some of the feedback we received:

    -  SPS has been supportive, knowledgeable, proactive where needed, the team bring an emotional crutch in terms of support, invaluable.

    -  Very, very helpful, gave good knowledgeable advice.

    -  Have already recommended service. Y was brilliant and efficient.

    -  Can't fault service received.

    -  Very important service - absolutely brilliant.

    -  The service made me feel empowered and I felt heard.

    -  The service is fantastic and I would be lost without it.

Some families and professionals have taken the time to email their thanks for the support received:

    -  I just wanted to say a big thank you for all your help and support over the last few months, we couldn't have done it without you, and I am truly grateful.

    -  I'm really grateful for your help in getting things moving forward for us, it wasn't clear which way we should go, with all the different issues involved.

    -  Your advice and support were invaluable and meant the world to us.

    -  ‚ÄčI would like to say a huge thank you for your input at the meeting yesterday. Your knowledge and expertise were very helpful in securing a more positive future for C. (Primary SENCo)

    -  The presentation by SEND Partnership was stand out. I feel reassured that there is a service that can support from an independent standpoint should the need arise (parent at Step-By-Step session)

As a confidential and impartial service SEND Information, Advice and Support Service, our overriding objective is to support children and young people with SEND to access education, employment and training enabling them to transition successfully to adulthood and to lead happy, independent lives.  In doing so we contribute to the overarching Council objective of Improving People’s Lives as well as the outcomes in the Children and Young People’s (CYP) Plan: CYP are healthy; CYP who are vulnerable have fair life chances and CYP are engaged citizens within their own community.

This is my first report as service manager. Despite all the challenges that the past year has thrown at the team, the committment of every one of them to provide the best service they can for families has been astonishing. The feedback from families demonstrates the impact that each member of the team has had on the lives of their children and young people.
SPS Manager
October 2021

For the full Annual Report please view the attached document.