A massive ThankYou! to everyone that attended the ‘It Starts With Me’ (SEND inspection feedback event) on Friday. We are pleased to say that over 85 people attended including Parent/Carers, professionals, young people, senior decision makers, National Network for Parent Carer Forum Representative and elected members.

We came together to start a conversation around the recent Offsted/CQC Inspection and are offering you an opportunity to continue this discussion here. Parents asked to share the questions that were put to the panel which you find below. Please click on the relevant links below to contribute.

We are seeking written responses to the questions which will be available through the evaluation report. What this space for we will share it here first!

Panel Questions for ‘It Starts With Me!’ Event 27th September 2019

 

The following questions have been compiled through a number of channels both digital and face to face and are representative of the wider parent carer community.

 

EHCP

  1. Parents have battled with EHCPs and the process for four years now, what is the strategy & plan to ensure plans and processes are at an adequate and functional standard. We understand additional funding has been allocated to increase staff, support and provision but this does not appear to have made an impact on the ground.
  2. Who is accountable when the provision outlined within the EHCP are not being delivered

DMO Role

  1. Parent have been voicing concerns that The Designated Medical Officer (DMO) does not have enough capacity to promote good SEND practice across the health partnership for the last two years. What commitment is there to increase capacity within the team at the CCG.

SEND Team

Communication

  1. Parents are still concerned around communication and transparency, they feel that this is a real barrier. Staff still are not responding to emails, phone calls and not attending meetings, staff are leaving the organisation without a handover and leaving people with no social worker to contact. Social worker are recruited on short term interim basis. Consequently parents feel that this means there is no real commitment, shift in culture, buy in or relationship and goes against the ‘tell us once’ ethos. What is the strategy to change and improve the situation and increase satisfaction?

Staff retention

  1. Staff retention and high turnover was also an issue for parent, in the past four years we have counted 14 different managers and interim decision makers. What is being done to stabilise the team, increase staff retention and moral and more importantly restore faith between parents, the Send Team and their leaders – leaders who invest in Dudley who want to stay around and promote this above their own career advancement? How can we attract and retain bright, energetic and passionate people to Dudley SEND services?

Transport

  1. Transport for children’s was a major issue this summer which caused chaos for many families. The main concern being around safeguarding. What is being done to address this?

High Needs Panel

  1. How is the High Needs Panel made up and what is its role/remit? How have members been selected? Is it recorded internally who has approved each decision?

Transition

  1. What is being done to ensure continuity and access to services during transition from children’s to adult services especially where gaps are being identified at 16-18.

 

Parent Quote  “The transition from school to college is hard enough for SEN students – need referrals to services outside college times for issues like being independent etc students becoming socially isolated, causing anxiety because support from outreach services stop at 16. No support since turning 17 all services ceased, wanted assessment by social services to get help as not independent but got passed between adult and child services nobody able to give support”

SEN Provision

  1. What is being done to address the poor outcomes for pupils with SEND in Dudley? How will you raise attainment and progress of our pupils with SEND? How will exclusions rates be reduced to ensure SEN pupils are not being ostracised. Parents are concerned about the lack of consistency amongst schools, SENCOS and practice across the borough. It is still seen as a postcode lottery. How do we raise standards and consistency across the borough so all schools are better able to accommodate and include all SEND children.
  2. Are the LA going to support mainstream provision to provide better SEN for our children? How are they going to achieve this? Parents feel that there is very limited knowledge with mainstream schools around how to meet the needs of SEN children, some practices and attitudes are outdated.
  3. Parents feel that there is a clear shortage of SEN educational Spaces for SEN children and that there is a need for more MLD and SLD settings how will this be achieved? What is Dudley going to do to ensure our children have a right to access to education in specialist provision?”

 

Parent Quote “My child is currently in mainstream primary school but his needs are such that he will require specialist provisional for his older years (high school) I do not want the fight to get a place. I would like a smooth supportive transition to receive this. How do they propose in planning/preparing and allocating children these spaces?” 

Parent Quote “I myself work with children and the past year have witnessed the strain on SEYS who are incredible. But due to the pressures and cuts children are only receiving one term of outreach support which is 1 hour a week with a specialist TA and 1 hour with a specialist teacher. (In which sometimes they are unable to attend due to meetings)

  1. How do they plan to improve this?  “Because a term is really not benefitting a child with SEN. Just as they build up trust and a relationship with them they lose the support”

Community Services

  1. How are the LA going to invest in our community to provide better SEN services that are accessible?