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 2019 – August 2020. 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 Social Care, and the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).
Within Bath and North East Somerset, the school census data tells us that there are 4425 children and young people with SEND, of which 1363 had a current plan and 3062 were receiving SEN support or have been identified by the school to have support needs. In the Further Education Sector a total of 189 young people had a current plan and a further 398 received inclusion support related to educational provision. In the Early Year’s sector 132 children have received inclusion support funding and the professionals in the Early Year’s Service have supported over 200 settings to include children with additional needs.
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, who are also entitled to the impartial information and advice provided by SPS.
In the 2019/2020 academic year SPS worked with 672 families through a range of scenarios including educational placement breakdown, inadequate provision, requesting an assessment, exclusion (493 of these cases required in depth, complex support). There were 3000 hits to the website during the year and over 1500 people accessed information posted on Facebook. SPS recorded 56 consultations with professionals where generic advice was sought.
During this academic year SPS reached just over 12% of the known cohort of parents, children and young people which demonstrates an increase of 2% over the last 2 years. 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 requiring support.
All of this in the context of COVID 19 ……SPS has morphed into an agile and responsive service which began in March with staff working from home, adjustments were 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 induction of one new member of staff and identifying and contacting 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 make contact with 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:
Just wanted to thank you for all your input and let you know that the work you guys do really does make a difference to young people’s (and their parents’!) lives. My child is now settled and is the happiest I have ever known them at school. I am hearing very positive things from school about their attitude and engagement and they are coming home proud of their achievements and excited about things happening in their life, which is just fantastic for me. Such a massive relief to finally have them sorted and settled. So thanks a lot to all of you that have helped us out over the years. They are looking towards a brighter, happier future and you were a part of making that happen.
Wonderful team, they are amazing at championing the needs of children
I can't underestimate the support, feels like an ally, and in an environment that is difficult
Such a valuable resource really appreciate the impartiality, the very level approach, diffuses emotions by giving you the facts, strong guidance but never imposed on you, deconstructing a very difficult area. You break down the barriers and hand hold through process. 100% brilliant.
Have recommended SPS on numerous occasions. You are so busy - need more funding and resources for the huge caseloads - another 10 I & A Officers would be ideal …….
Already recommended service to others. Really helped a lot, the difference to my child’s life outcomes are so much better
The I & A Officer was lovely, friendly, helpful, she took the time to read everything and helped me and gave me lots of good advice and resources
I have just come back from talking to your Parent Champions at the open morning. Can I firstly say how helpful and friendly they were, I came away feeling positive and have been given some very useful advice. I had gone to the open morning, feeling we had no other avenues to explore for our child and slightly desperate.
Finally, this is my last Annual Report after 10 years of managing SPS. The journey has been eventful:
- Joining Parent Partnership (a service just for parents and carers) when in 2010 we supported 149 families compared to the 672 we supported in the last academic year
- At least 2 years of SEN and D Reform planning and implementation in 2014, when 30-year-old legislation was radically rewritten and turned the sector on its head
- Successful implementation of the Department for Education and Department for Health and Social Care Minimum Standards for quality and compliance for SPS delivery
- 4 years of rigorous, but successful funding bids
- A pandemic
- Being awarded Employee Team of the Year as part of the Community awards
The one constant in SPS has always been the commitment and professionalism of the staff team, who work tirelessly to provide a quality service for families. Families who often feel frustrated, angry, disappointed, confused and bewildered. The feedback from the families we have worked with duly reflects the impact the Team has made on a large number of children and young people’s lives.
It has been an honour and a pleasure to be part of such a successful and worthwhile service.
SPS Strategic Manager