18 Jun 2014

Changes ahead for special educational needs and disability services

The Isle of Wight Council is working in partnership with parents on the Isle of Wight to prepare for changes to special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) arrangements being introduced by the government from 1 September 2014, as part of the Children and Families Act 2014.

The changes seek to join up specialist support across education, health and care from birth to age 25. Parents Voice is working with the council to ensure that families affected by the changes are involved in the process.  
 
It is particularly important that information is shared with parents and carers and Parents Voice will be helping the Isle of Wight Council to do this as the changes are introduced.
 
Under the new arrangements, help will be offered at the earliest opportunity for children and young people with SEND – and their parents or carers – so that they can be fully involved in decisions about their support and what they wish to achieve.
 
Key changes from 1 September 2014 include:

- the Isle of Wight Council and Clinical Commissioning Group working together to commission services jointly to secure better services for 0 to 25 year olds;
- the Isle of Wight Council and Clinical Commissioning Group producing a local offer of services, developed with parents and young people;
- a co-ordinated assessment process across education, health and care – involving young people and their families throughout;
- a new 0 to 25 education, health and care plan to replace the current system of statements and learning difficulty assessments.
 
Children and young people who already have statements and learning difficulty assessments will not need to be reassessed as a result of the special educational needs and disability reforms. There will be a phased transition over time to avoid disruption to families.
 
Councillor Richard Priest, Executive member for children’s services, said: “Any change can be unsettling, which is why we have involved Parents Voice from an early stage so that families are fully involved in the introduction of this new way of working.

Fully involving parents 

“We understand how frustrating it can be for parents and carers to have to repeat their stories to different agencies in order to get the support their child requires. From 1 September the council, schools and Clinical Commissioning Group will work together to provide co-ordinated support, ensuring the children and young people and parents and carers are fully involved in the process.”
 
Helen Bowley, parent carer representative from Parents Voice Isle of Wight, said: “We have been consulting with parents for some time about the new arrangements and recently held an event which was a great opportunity for parents to learn more from those who have already experienced some of these changes as well as ask questions and gather information about future services for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities.
 
“We are continuing to work with the council while the changes are implemented and would encourage families or carers of children or young people 0 to 25 years to read about the forthcoming changes on the council’s website and talk to us if they need more information, support or would like to become involved.”  
 
More information about the special needs reforms can be found at www.iwight.com/sendreform or on the Parents Voice website www.parentsvoice-iw.co.uk

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Under the new arrangements, help will be offered at the earliest opportunity.
Under the new arrangements, help will be offered at the earliest opportunity.
Factfile
  • The SEND changes form part of the Children and Families Act 2014, which received royal assent on 13 March 2014.
  • Children and young people who already have statements and learning difficulty assessments will not need to be reassessed as a result of the SEND reforms.
 
Isle of Wight, UK