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Welcome to SEND Parent/Carer News - March 2021

In the SEND Parent/Carer news this month we have included an open letter from Minister Vicky Ford to children and young people, their parent/carers and those who support them, highlighting some of the key messages as they return to school.

Over the last few months Mental Health has been a key priority for many, guidance has been released for parent/carers as you continue to support your children and young people.  Included in the guidance are links to useful website and resources.

On the 25 February 2021 a consultation was launched by Telford & Wrekin Council asking for feedback into the five year strategy on the future care for adults with learning disabilities. Please take a look at the article to find out how you can share your views.   There are virtual sessions for people with a learning disability, family carers and people who care for and support people with a learning disability.

Please ensure you keep visiting the SEND Parent/Carer News as we regularly update this page with new information.

Best wishes,

Natalie Bevan

SEND Service Delivery Manager

 

March SEND Parent Carer News includes:

  • SEND NEWSFLASH Open letter from the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Children and Families
    Please download this letter from Vicky Ford, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Children and Families
     
  • Communication meetings with Parent Carer Forum (PODs) and Telford Information Advice and Support Service
    Highlights from the Communications meetings with PODs & IASS, including a review of the feedback that has been provided since March 2020.
     
  • Local Offer – Refresh Plans
    Find out more about the plans for developing the Local Offer and how you can share your views.
     
  • What’s New on the Local Offer?
    Find out about the new pages added to the Local Offer and any updates that have been made.
     
  • Voices Project – Next Steps
    Update on the Voices Co-production project with the full report available to download.
     
  • Guidance for Parents and Carers on supporting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic
    Advice for parents and carers on looking after the mental health and wellbeing of children or young people during the coronavirus pandemic.
     
  • Consultation launches to seek views on five-year strategy for adults with learning disabilities
    A consultation has been launched by Telford & Wrekin Council to get people’s feedback on a borough-wide five-year strategy on the future of care for adults with learning disabilities
     
  • Live Playing Together Parent Support Sessions
    Strengthening families are presenting a virtual Playing Together Group.
     
  • Telford 16-19 Website – Post 16 Prospectus
    The Telford 16 - 19 prospectus has information on the post 16 offer in Telford & Wrekin
     
  • Learn Telford - Learning on Prescription
    Learn Telford are providing free wellbeing courses online

SEND Parent/Carer News

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SEND Newsflash – Letter to Parent/Carers of children and young people with SEND

Please download this letter from Vicky Ford, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Children and Families, to children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), their families and carers and those who work to support them.  

This letter highlights key information and support that is available for children and young people with SEND as they return to full attendance at school and college.

Information is included about:

  • Attendance at Education Settings
  • Public Health Advice
  • Testing
  • Face Coverings
  • Vaccinations
  • Education Recovery
  • Therapies
  • Mental Health and Wellbeing

Please download The Open Letter (March 2021) from Vicky Ford MP here


Communication meetings with Parent Carer Forum (PODs) and Telford Information Advice and Support Service

Communication meetings between the Local Authority (LA), PODs (Parents Opening Doors) and Telford IASS (Information Advice and Support Service) have continued to be held on a regular basis. These meetings are vital for the local authority to discuss service developments and to talk about the key themes that are being voiced by parent/carers.

Would you like to see how we have addressed the feedback that has been received?   The table below shows some of the actions that have been completed since March 2020.

Feedback Received

Action Taken

Information requested about how Personal Assistants (PA’s) would be able to support during Covid (information also requested on vaccinations for PA’s)

Information shared on the Local Offer resources page directing to relevant information about Personal Assistants, letters from services were provided for download.

Question: Who is communicating with families in Telford & Wrekin especially when there is more than one service involved, such as education and social care?

 

Advice was provided to PODs & IASS to share with families. We worked on a collective list to ascertain who would be best to contact families. Services discussed with families who they would like to be contacted by.

Education Health & Care Plans, Statutory Timescales, Advice, and Managing Outcomes – how will all of these be delivered?

SEND Parent/Carer Newsletters provided communication on all of the changes to legislation around statutory timescales with families. SEND Newsflash letters from Minister Vicky Ford were available as downloads on the SEND Local Offer (Resources Page). Parent/Carer FAQ’s were developed to answer questions such as:

  • I have just been informed that the Local Authority is carrying out an Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment, how will the assessments be carried out?
  • My child is on a modified timetable 3 hours a day and has still been going into school but has had this reduced even further to 1 hour a day, should this happen?
  • What will happen with annual reviews as outcomes may not have been met as a result of being off school?
  • Can I access therapies if they are not included in my child's EHC Plan?

 

The Parent/Carer FAQ’s have been updated during Covid to reflect the current situation.

SEND Parent/Carer FAQ’s

Mental Health Services – how to access, what support is available.

Information about BEAM, Bee U and Mental Health Support was shared on the Local Offer resources page. Mental Health support was shared in the SEND Parent/Carer briefings with a Wellbeing letter published in Spring 2020. In the SEND News February edition, a focus on Mental Health was provided by the Educational Psychology Team for Children’s Mental Health Week in an article called ‘Expressing Curiosity’. Along with Supporting your children’s remote education during coronavirus and Guidance for Parent/Carers on supporting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing during Coronavirus.

Emotional Health and Wellbeing Panel – Feedback around cases that have not been referred to the panel and questions on how to request schools to make referrals.

Feedback has been received about the panel, cases have been reported on and passed on (with the correct parental consent in place). A panel member attended the Communication Meeting with PODs & IASS to discuss and hear the feedback around the panel. An article has been published in SEND Parent/Carer news detailing how the panel works and how referrals can be requested. An additional article is being prepared for schools and settings and an invite is being sent to a panel member to attend a SENCo Network Meeting (briefing session for SENCo’s) to talk about the panel and answer any questions around referral.

Changes to school attendance, March, June, September (2020) and January, March 2021.

Communication shared via the SEND Parent/Carer Newsletters, resources page on the Local Offer and updated Parent/Carer FAQ’s.

Information on support for Transition, Nursery to Primary School, Primary to Secondary School and Post 16.

Support and links to virtual tours were shared on the Local Offer, resources and Post 16 pages. Feedback was received from School SENCo’s and parents regarding choosing a secondary school. A booklet was created that shared information about secondary schools, including links to websites, open days, SEN Information Reports and more. This was shared through communication to schools and also through the SEND Local Offer.

Short Breaks, ICAN2, Acorn Way, CareTech and My Options.

Questions about how these services would be operating during the pandemic.

Information shared on the Local Offer and in the SEND Parent/Carer Newsletters. Links and downloads were developed and uploaded onto the Local Offer resources page. Information was also linked through the Short Breaks and My Options pages on the Local Offer.

Covid-19: Vaccinations & Testing

Information provided on the SEND Local Offer around Vaccines and Testing sharing the Guidance and information.

Feedback – how will Transitions be supported this year 2021.

This is currently being worked on, a new section of the Local Offer is being developed to support Transition. The pages will include information for Parent/Carers and Providers. The Preparing for Adulthood section is currently in development with new information being added.


Local Offer Refresh

We are always looking for ways to make the SEND Local Offer easier to navigate so that parent/carers can find the information they are looking for.

Over the next few months we have some plans to refresh the ‘look’ of the Local Offer and we would like to hear your views:

  • What would make it easier to navigate?
  • How would you like to see the ‘Home Page’ laid out?
  • Would an area for Parent/Carers work?
  • Is there any information you can’t find?

All feedback would be gratefully received, please email us at: localoffer@telford.gov.uk or fill in the Feedback Form to share your views.

Coming soon – Local Offer Workshops.

Keep a look out as we will soon be advertising Local Offer workshops where you can have your say about the improvements.

What’s New on the Local Offer?

Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA) 2020

New page added about the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA) 2020. In Telford we have worked collaboratively and in true partnership to create our Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA) for SEND.  A JSNA contains a wide range of information to build an accurate understanding of the needs of children and young people who have SEND in Telford & Wrekin.

Find out more

What is a Designated Clinical Officer (DCO)?

Meet the new Designated Clinical Officer for SEND and find out how Jennifer supports children and young people in Telford & Wrekin.

Find out more


Voices Project – Next Steps

In previous newsletters we have shared information about the Voices Co-production project. The project brought together the Local Authority, Health, Schools and Settings to work together with Parent/Carers and Young people. It has given us recommendations for working together to write policies whilst taking into account lived experience so that services can be delivered effectively.

In March a virtual ‘Voices in Action’ event was held for everyone that has been involved in the project. This event will develop a Co-production Charter that will be used as a basis for commissioned services, policies and strategies that will be developed.

Following this event, we will keep you informed you of the next steps and share a first glimpse of the Co-production Charter.

Download: SEND and Co-production Voices from Telford & Wrekin

Download: Voices from Telford & Wrekin Local Area Report Summery for Young People

If you would like more information about this project please contact us at: SENDandInclusion@telford.gov.uk or by phone: 01952 56742


Consultation launches to seek views on five-year strategy for residents with learning disabilities

A consultation has been launched by Telford & Wrekin Council to get people’s feedback on a borough-wide five-year strategy on the future of care for adults with learning disabilities

To take part in the consultation, people have a number of options:

Fill in the survey – on the Learning Disability website or request a paper copy of the survey to be delivered to their home, by emailing LDconsultation@telford.gov.uk or ringing 01952 385577 

Attend virtual sessions:

For People with a learning disability:

  • 22 March 2021 – 3:30pm
  • 8 April 2021 – 11am
  • 20 April 2021 – 3pm 

Book your place on Eventbrite

For Family Carers:

  • 24 March 2021 – 5:30pm
  • 1 April 2021– 3:30pm
  • 19 April 2021 – 12 noon
  • 21 April 2021 – 5:30pm 

Book your place on Eventbrite

For people who care for/support people with learning disabilities:

  • 30 March 2021 – 4pm
  • 16 April 2021 – 3:30pm

Book your place on Eventbrite

The consultation asks people to share views and examples on what more can be done for all people with a learning disability in Telford and Wrekin to live well and enjoy a full life, as independently as possible. 

The people’s views will help to further shape the services and the support available in the borough for adults with a learning disability.

In particular, the feedback received helps finalise a borough-wide draft five-year strategy for adults with a learning disability.

The draft five-year strategy has been developed by the Council and its partners following extensive engagement activities at the end of last year (through virtual sessions, online questionnaires) with over 160 different people - including people with learning disabilities and their families as well as carers, advocates and staff from various organisations supporting people with learning disabilities. 

In putting together the draft strategy, the Council asked people with learning disabilities, as well as those supporting them, on their views on a range of topics, such as “being healthy and independent”, “having a job”, “having friends and relationships”, and many others. 

Through the consultation launch, the Council wants now to consult with people who this strategy affects and establish if it will make a positive difference to them living well in Telford and Wrekin.  

Councillor Andy Burford, Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care, said: 

“At the end of last year, we have sought the views of people (on what’s important to them and what they aspire to have) that has helped us develop a local, five-year forward-planning strategy for borough adults with a learning disability. 

“Through the consultation launch, we want to get everyone’s feedback again now – to make sure the plan developed does make a positive difference for adults with a learning disability, their families and carers.

“Go to Telford & Wrekin: Learning Disabilities (LD) Programme to take part and tell us your views on the strategy and on what more can be done.

“For instance, should borough residents with learning disabilities have more employment opportunities, more flexible support available or an easier & safer access to public transport?  

“The consultation covers a range of topics and we welcome all feedback received, so we can bring this strategy to life and enhance as such the independence of adults with a learning disability in our communities.”

More details about the draft 2021-2025 strategy for people with a learning disability in the borough and the consultation are on Telford & Wrekin: Learning Disabilities (LD) Programme


Live Virtual Playing Together Parent Support sessions

Monday – Thursday

1pm-2pm

On Microsoft Teams

What is a Virtual Playing Together Parent Support Group?

We are currently presenting a virtual Playing Together Group. Which is where our Strengthening Families Assistants will invite Parents and Guardians with their children to a Microsoft Teams Meeting. We will engage with the children through activities, talks, story time and also a bit of nursery rhyme singing. We will also engage with Parents and Guardians round day to day life and any topics everyone wishes to discuss.

This is currently in place for our Face to Face groups that normally run.

Activities

  • Nursery Rhymes
  • Story Time
  • Scavenger Hunts
  • Teaching Songs
  • Arts and Crafts
  • Number Play

Parent Support Topics:

  • Every Day Struggles
  • Potty Training
  • Weaning
  • Sleep
  • Development Stages – Is this normal?
  • Making learning Fun
  • Routines
  • Relationships
  • Ideas are welcome

 

To find out more or to nook your place please contact us by email: LakesideSouthLocalityAdmin@telford.gov.uk

Or, by phone: 01952 385465/385555

Download: Playing Together Leaflet

Download: Playing Together Easter Poster


Telford 16-19 Website – Post 16 Prospectus

The Telford 16 - 19 prospectus has information on the post 16 offer in Telford & Wrekin including almost 300 A - levels, BTECs and Apprenticeships across six schools and colleges, making Telford an inspirational hub for learning, opportunity and achievement.

Telford 16-19 Website

For more information please contact Future Focus by email: Future.focus@telford.gov.uk or, by phone: 01952 388988.

For young people with an EHC Plan, please take a look at the guidance for young people applying for post 16 education (with an EHCP).


Learn Telford - Learning on Prescription

Learn Telford are providing free wellbeing courses online. The courses are specifically designed to support people who may be experiencing depression, anxiety, stress, low mood or trouble sleeping.

Courses and activities include: Relaxation for Wellbeing, Floral Crafts for Wellbeing, Slow Stitching (Rags to Stitches), Mindfulness and more. Experienced staff and tutors are happy to talk with learners beforehand, offer reassurance and answer any questions.

Download: Learning on Prescription Flyer

View the courses online: Learn Telford