Zoom Update for Parent Carers with WBC & Health

Thank you to all the families who joined us on the 1st February to hear an update from Wokingham Borough Council (WBC) and Health on SEND improvements. The slides presented and the Q&A's raised at the event are here: Zoom Update Q&A's 1/2/24We are awaiting responses to some questions and will update with answers as soon as these are received. A snapshot of what was discussed:Improvement Updates* New SEND Team members in post - Quality Assurance, Area* SENDCo (to support schools), Local Offer co-ordinator and SEND Team manager* New Resource Base and SEND Units to open at Loddon Primary and Radstock schools* Health - new CAMHS LD service, new speech & language helpline * Data shared on EHCP timeliness (65% in 20 weeks, national average 49%), agreements to assess and issue plans, mediation & tribunal numbersFrom Families* Short Breaks/holiday clubs - gaps in provision for SEMH children and SEND parents having to give up work * Schools not making reasonable adjustments/ordinarily available provision an problems just getting bigger and more expensive* Lack of educational support for post 16's* Number of mediation and tribunal cases going up at additional cost to families and LA* CAMHS Crisis Team, slow response and parents still directed by professionals to A&E Date for Summer Term Zoom Update with WBC (SEND and Social Care) & Health - Wednesday 15th May 7.00 - 8.30pm, We will circulate information about this session nearer the time but if you would like to join this session please email info@sendvoiceswokingham.org.uk .

What else have we been up to?

We continue to be involved in a number of workstreams associated with the WBC Safety Valve Programme. (Safety Valve agreements are agreements by the local authority with the Department for Education (DfE), agreeing that the DfE will write off the local authorities over-spend on their high needs SEND budgets by improving early intervention, local provision and easy access to information). Some of the main activities this half term include:
  • Attended the SEND Strategy workshops with representatives from Education, Health and Social Care to co-produce the 2024-27 Wokingham Area SEND Strategy
  • Hosted an EOTAS Focus group to help develop the new EOTAS policy -thank you to the parents who joined this session and provided lots of very useful feedback and ideas. We also continue to attend the EOTAS/AP working group.
  • We have reviewed the draft SEND Communication strategy and highlighted the importance of including a customer service promise.
  • We attended the 2nd SEND Assurance Board and presented the Autumn Term Feedback from Families. Action on some of the items has already started e.g. GP training on SEND, 1st session on constipation and LD completed and further sessions for GPs planned for later this year.
  • Final checks completed on the Wokingham Area Parents Preparing for Adulthood (PfA) Guide - we will let you know as soon as it is available. Work is now starting on some videos for the Local Offer website which will help explain PfA for parent carers.
  • Attended an Early Years SEND Strategy workshop. This will now feed into the main Wokingham Area SEND Strategy which covers all ages 0-25 years.
  • Through the SEND Support & Specialist Outreach work we continue to promote an Ordinarily Available event for schools/professionals to raise awareness and ensure that all schools are aware of reasonable adjustments and what is ordinarily available for all Wokingham Borough children.
  • Fedback and shared the link for the new WBC Local Offer Newsletter (select the 'Local Offer – update for SEND families' option)
We have also been busy with a number of other workstreams and strategic meetings as well as raising the burning issues that families are telling us about:
  • Attended a meeting with the Chair of the Children's Services Overview & Scrutiny Committee to raise families concerns from the Jan 8th Meeting. The Chair requested to attend our Zoom update with WBC on the 1st February and also future meetings so that he is aware of the issues families are raising. We will be involved with training for new councilors and committee members following the local elections in May, will be reviewing letters that WBC send to families to ensure they are clear and easy to understand and making sure there is a clear escalation & complaints process.
  • Attended the Berkshire West SEND Joint Implementation Group a group covering LA and health colleagues from Wokingham Reading and West Berkshire LA's with a strong health focus.
  • We are working with Health on a Parent Carer Engagement event, where you can feedback your experiences in 4 key SEND areas: Neurodiversity pathways, Early Help to meet mental health needs, Therapies: SLT/OT/Physio and Transitions (from children to adult services) - more details to follow shortly.
  • We met with the team from the Royal Berkshire Hospital who are refreshing the Children & Young Peoples Strategy
  • The Short Breaks Steering Group has restarted. The feedback from our SEND survey is contributing to this work. We will keep you updated on other opportunities to feedback on developments with Short Breaks
  • Launched our annual Home to School Transport Survey for SEND families. Closing date is February 16th. We would love to hear your feedback, the link to the survey is here: SEND Transport Survey 23/24
  • Attended the NNPCF SE Regional Meeting
  • Continue to raise issues with SEND Team communication via the Operational Meeting and with Senior Leaders at WBC.
  • We attend the Wokingham Residents Equality Forum.
  • Hosted SENDIASS training sessions on EHCP Annual Reviews and the EHCP Process.
  • Attended the SENDIASS drop-ins to provide a cuppa and chat with parents attending
  • Fedback parents experiences for the Local Government Association Peer Review workshop
  • Attended a Primary Care Strategy focus group to share SEND families experiences of Primary Care

Dates for Next Half-Term

Preparing for Adulthood ~ A Parent's Guide Is your child 12 years old or above? From year 9 at the latest, discussions about your child or young person's support should focus on the support needed to prepare them for adult life, focusing on their strengths and aspirations.

Date: Monday 26th FebruaryTime: 7.30 - 9.00pmZoom Drop-in & Chat with WBC Early Years TeamPlease join us virtually for a chat with WBC's Early Years Team (for 0-5 year olds). The team advises preschools, nurseries and childminders on all aspects of SEND.

Date: Tuesday 5th March Time: 10.00 - 11.00amParent Carer Participation GroupThe next participation group meetings will be on Wednesday 6th March 2024, with 2 sessions:

10.00 - 11.00 am on Zoom OR

7.30 - 9.00 pm at St Pauls Parish Rooms , (Carpenter Room) , Reading Road, Wokingham, RG41 1EHWe are currently confirming the agenda with a mix of information to share, the opportunity to give your feedback on a number of services and facilities provided within Wokingham Borough plus the opportunity to meet other parents and have a coffee and chat. We hope you can join us on one of these session. To book a place please email participation@sendvoiceswokingham.org.uk

SEND Support in School & Effective Communication ~ A Parent's Guide

This SENDIASS training course will help you to understand what you can expect from a school and how to build a good working relationship so that everyone works together to meet the needs of your child.Date: Monday 11th March Time: 10.00 - 12 noon

More details about all the FREE training courses and drop-ins can be found on our website here: SVW Events. To book on any of the above please email: info@sendvoiceswokingham.org.uk and we will send you the Zoom link.