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SEND Partnership Newsletter - May 22

Please find the newsletter with images here

Dear Parent or Carer

Welcome to our partnership newsletter from the teams working together to deliver SEND services in Birmingham City Council, the NHS and Birmingham Children’s Trust. I hope that you will find it useful and informative.

I am aware that the cost of living crisis is affecting families across the city and times are tough. If you are in need of help or support, please contact the Early Help team in your area to see how they might be able to help.

Work continues at pace to improve SEND services and support in Birmingham as you will see from this newsletter. However we do appreciate that it might be taking longer than you might have hoped for to feel these changes. There are some things that we can change quickly and hopefully you will be seeing results, like the Healios system (supporting additional capacity to reduce waiting times for autism assessments) and the improved EHCP review and assessment timeframe. We want to improve the system effectively and permanently and in some cases this is taking a little longer. We do appreciate your patience as we make these improvements.

We are currently conducting a survey, with the Parent Carer Forum, to gather your views on SEND services and support in Birmingham. Your feedback is used in our SEND working groups, which will inform the SEND strategy to ensure that parents and carers are at the centre of everything we are doing. We would really like to hear your thoughts so that we can continue to make the right changes for families in the city. The link is here and the survey closes on Friday 27th May and there is a chance of winning £100 shopping vouchers.

The Government has also now published a more accessible Green Paper on the SEND which is currently out for consultation, which you can be part of. Please do express your views on the proposals; the deadline is 22nd July.

Sue Harrison
Director for Children’s Services/Executive Director of Education and Skills


Birmingham City Logo

SENAR Update & Progress
Statutory compliance on Assessments & Reviews

Reviews – Although we are currently still dealing with a backlog of Annual
Reviews which is impacting on timescales, we expect to be back within
statutory timescales as set out in the 2015 Send Code of Practice by end of
September 2022.

•We’ve been making progress on addressing the Annual Review backlog. The
% Annual Reviews actioned within 4 weeks of the meeting was at 0.4% in
September 2021; our latest performance for March 2022 was 25%.

Assessments – We are working to bring the Assessment statutory timeframes
back in line with the 20 weeks’ timescale set within the 2015 SEND Code of
Practice

•We have improved on the 20 week statutory compliance with Education,
Health and Care Needs Assessments – 64% of assessments were completed
within 20 weeks in March 2022 compared to 58% national average.

Education Health Care Needs Assessment
We are still progressing with the Education Health Care Needs Assessment (EHCNA) process and the review of all of the associated documentation. We recognise that the Government has released its Green Paper on the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and Alternative Provision (AP) SEND review, but will continue with our plan as any changes made by the Government are likely to be at least 18 months away. We will be undertaking this work in consultation with the Department for Education.

Nexus – SEND case management system
We are at the closing stages of the introduction of CACI (system owners) into the service to support the development of the SEN module within NEXUS, our SEND case management system.

We will be working on the development of the co-produced EHCP and the associated template documents for the system and developing the parent portal. We will be contacting parents and schools to support with development of
the parent portal and schools’ portal and we will have further information in the next update. 

New School Placement Team
We have decided to create a new team which will solely focus on children and young people in need of a special school place. We have set up robust internal
processes to ensure efficient handover, and the team will work closely with those involved in monitoring and commissioning of special school places. Having the
cohort in a single team will also help us gain further understanding of need in order to inform strategic planning.

In the coming weeks the Placement team will be in touch with families to highlight to them who their allocated Case Worker is and ways to contact them.


A new website for Forward Thinking Birmingham (FTB)
Forward Thinking Birmingham (FTB) have launched their new website for our mental health services. The new website has an overview of their services, the conditions they treat and help and advice for those looking for support and can be found at https://forwardthinkingbirmingham.nhs.uk/.

If you would like to provide feedback on the website or make any suggestions of content that would be helpful for parent/carers you can do so via the feedback links on the website or by emailing Digital Communications Specialist – charlotte.burton7@nhs.net

Special School Nursing Service Review – give your view
The continuing expansion of special schools and school places across Birmingham and Solihull is increasing the demand on Special School Nursing (SSN) teams (and other associated services) at a time of significant NHS  pressures. Birmingham and Solihull Clinical Commissioning Group (BSol CCG) is undertaking a review of the Birmingham and Solihull SSN services, in
partnership with Birmingham Community Healthcare Trust (BCHC) and University Hospitals Birmingham Foundation Trust (UHB).

The aim of the review is to ensure that the SSN services commissioned across BSol provide an effective and efficient service that achieves the best possible outcomes for children and young people (CYP) with SEND.

We are aiming to complete the service review and any required service modifications for the autumn term of 2022. As part of the review process we would like to gain the views and insights of both young people and
their parents and carers, and those professionals that interact with these services. Therefore, if you use or work with this service, we would like to ask if you would kindly take 10 minutes of your time to follow the appropriate link below to complete an online Survey Monkey. All responses will be considered as part of the review.

Links to reviews:
oSurvey for professionals working with Special School Nursing Services:
https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/YS87DC9
oSurvey for young people and family/carers on the Special School Nursing Services:
https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/YSR3J3M

#YouveBeenMissed campaign – helping children return to school
The #YouveBeenMissed campaign is led by a partnership within Birmingham supporting pupils, parents, carers and education professionals, helping our children and young people to return to school. The dedicated website section has been visited more than 18,000 times since it began.

This collaborative service has supported pupils, parents, carers and education
professionals to help children and young people when they’ve returned to school.

Clear guidance has been created for our colleagues in Early Help and education, along with young people and their families and carers, to ensure appropriate resources, videos and webinars are available; these resources and videos cover topics such as anxiety and worry, challenging thoughts, emotions and self-care. 

Visit Birmingham and Women’s Hospital Trust website for a host of useful resources, including videos. The dedicated online section is split and contains tailored advice and support for parents, carers, children, young people, young adults and education professionals https://bwc.nhs.uk/youve-been-missed/


Birmingham Parent Carer Forum Update

Firstly, we hope that you all had a lovely Easter Break, we certainly enjoyed being able to spend time with our loved ones.

Since our last update we had the second of our Pathalogical Demand Avoidance (PDA) Society online training course, the two sessions covered developing our understanding of the PDA profile of autism and considering what demands are and their effects. We wanted to thank everyone for attending and our colleges at the PDA Society for hosting such a fantastic course.

The Birmingham Parent Carer Forum has been working hard to ensure the parent voice is being heard. We have continued to support and influence the creation of a Co-Production Framework and Definition for Birmingham. The Framework will shape how Co-Production works within Birmingham, and we are looking forward to sharing these details with you. We were also involved in the creation of the latest Parent Carer SEND Survey through attending consultations with other stakeholders to address the content and structure before it was finalised and the decision to offer £100 in vouchers was made by senior leaders at Birmingham City Council.

We have also planned an engagement event with the Director of Children’s Services Sue Harrison on 1st July, where parents will have an opportunity to speak with Sue about various issues and concerns. 

After a successful Q&A event with Department for Education appointed Commissioner John Coughlan in February John has asked that we host another session after the release of his report.

Please keep an eye on our social media pages for updates regarding these events, you can find us on Facebook www.facebook.com/ BirminghamPCF and Twitter twitter.com/BirminghamPCF.

We also continue to make sure we flag concerns raised to us to the relevant
parties in Health, Education and Social Carer.

As always, we thank you for your continued support.


Communication and Autism Team

Transition Training for Parents
The CAT team offer transition sessions for parent and school settings throughout the academic year. We have delivered two transition sessions for Year 5 parents / carers. These took place virtually on the 8th and 9th February. In addition, Top Tips for Transition was delivered via Webinar on the 29th & 30th March and is
also available for viewing on the Local Offer Website www.localofferbirmingham.co.uk/parents-carers-andyoung-people

This month we will be hosting a transition event for practitioners supporting young people moving from year 6 to year 7.This provides a platform for practitioners from primary and secondary to come together with a focus on understanding the depth of this journey for our autistic young people.

Two further parent sessions are planned for the 7th and 9th June for Year 6 parents / carers. These courses are extremely popular and further information can be found Access to Education – Courses and Events
(birmingham.gov.uk)

Autism in Schools: Autism Empowered Schools and Developing Identity Project
The Communication and Autism Team are working with the Parent Carer Forum, SEND NHS Occupational Therapy and schools to deliver this project which aims to empower autistic young people and help them to celebrate their amazing individual identities. In Birmingham, we are excited to have two schools join the
project; Cockshut Hill School and Broadway Academy. This project which support pupils to develop a positive autistic identity has been co-produced.

Parent Engagement Forums have been set up with schools and are led by the Jo Green from the Birmingham Parent Carer Forum. There will be a full environment audit lead by the SEND Occupational Health Team with recommendations for schools to make adaptations to ensure autistic pupils
are fully included and have every opportunity to meet their potential.

The project will conclude in July 2022 with a full evaluation and plans to introduce this wider to secondary schools in Birmingham from
September 2022.

Communication and Autism Team Training Update 
The Communication and Autism Team (CAT) trained 1440 education staff last term, offering training packages that are designed to enable school staff to improve their understanding of how to support autistic pupils within their settings. All materials are co-produced and based on current research into Autism and Education conducted by the Autism Centre for Education Research at the University of Birmingham.

Training modules during the Spring term included, Good Autism Practice course and Leadership, Inclusion and Structural Reasonable Adjustments, plus new modules on Autism and Anxiety and Autism and Exclusion. 97% of education staff who attended the full day Good Autism Practice training stating that they have an improved understanding of autism and improved confidence in supporting autistic children and young people. In the Summer term, CAT will be delivering additional modules for Early Years and Post 16 settings.


Vision Support Team destigmatising disability 

The Visions Support team recently met Azeem Azir a blind international footballer who is championing sport as a way of destigmatising disability Azeem Amir is 23 and has been vision impaired since birth. However, he has never let it be a barrier to success. Azeem plays blind football professionally for the England and Great Britain blind football team and is working towards achieving international success.

Playing across the globe he and the team are aiming to qualify for the next Paralympics. He is also a brand ambassador and part of several national and international media campaigns, working with brands from an array of industries across the globe.

Alongside his football, Azeem has recently completed a master’s degree and has risen to fame as a highly respected advocate for disability rights. One initiative that Azeem has started is ‘Learn with ESS’ which uses Education, Sport, Speaking based activities to provide a unique and interactive team experiences. The workshops that are offered aim to change individual perceptions within society to work towards a more unified future for all. Watch Azeem in action at: Never underestimate a blind footballer | Azeem Amir | TEDxBrighton Find out more at: www.learnwithess.com


Hearing Support Team – Communicate and Play!

Free playgroup sessions for children with a hearing loss aged 0-4

Are you a parent or carer of a child with a hearing loss aged between 0 to 4? Are you aware of our Communicate and Play sessions? Children can enjoy playing alongside their peers who, just like them, wear a hearing aid or a cochlear implant. This helps develop a positive self-esteem and encourages children to wear their hearing technology.

The fun begins with a “Hello Song” and continues with a range of activities, including a snack time and outdoor play (if weather permits). Communicate and Play sessions are currently delivered at two Children’s Centres:

·Castle Vale Children’s Centre (every-other Wednesday morning)

·Bacchus Road Children’s Centre (every Thursday afternoon)

For more details including exact dates and times, please contact us on: mailto:ssparentenquiry@birmingham.gov.uk We are looking forward to welcoming you and your child!


Physical Difficulties Support Service (PDSS)

In the Spring term the PDSS team held a workshop in collaboration with the charity Shine, for parents and carers of early years pupils with a diagnosis of Spina Bifida. PDSS worked collaboratively with the charity ‘Shine’ (an organisation providing specialist advice and support for spina bifida and hydrocephalus across England, Wales and Northern Ireland) to deliver a supportive and informative session. Parents/carers were introduced to the PDSS service and how they support children and young people in schools.

The staff from Shine talked to parents and carers about their website, events and how to become a member of Shine. There was an opportunity for parents and carers to ask questions of the PDSS teachers and the Shine staff as well as share their experience with each other.

www.shinecharity.org.uk/little-stars/shines-little-stars

The second session will take place in the Summer term.

Getting Ready for School

The PDSS team is delivering a workshop called’ Getting ready for school’ in the summer term for parents/carers who have children that are transitioning from home/nursery to school in September 2022.

The workshop will be presented by PDSS teachers via Microsoft Teams and will include –

  • An explanation of the role of PDSS for their child as they transition into school and throughout their education.
  • Advice regarding how to prepare their child at home for school. Opportunities for parents to share their experience and concerns.

For more details contact mailto:PDSSParentEnquiry@birmingham.gov.uk


Education Psychology Service LogoThe Educational Psychology Service Update on Video Interaction Guidance

The Educational Psychology Service has a thriving team of seven VIG (Video Interaction Guidance) practitioners. The VIG team have been busy visiting family homes and schools with their video cameras, supporting adults to enhance their relationships with children.

What is video interaction guidance (VIG)?

VIG is an evidence-based intervention that uses video clips to enhance communication within relationships. VIG has been used successfully in a wide range of settings (including early years settings, schools and families) around the world. VIG highlights the strengths in relationships that already exist, and then support those involved to build upon these strengths.

What have parents said about VIG?

“I’ve gained confidence in my intuition for how best to help my child. I’ve become more observant – picking up on little expressions and listening to him. I was always doing it but I’m more aware now. I trust him and follow his lead.”

The VIG team have asked parents and teaching staff about the changes that they have noticed at the end of the VIG intervention:

  • Parents and teaching staff have noticed that the children have been more engaged with their learning and younger children have communicated more often. ·Parents have noticed that they have started to listen to their children more and their children have listened more to them.
  • The confidence of parents has increased, and parents have said that they enjoy time spending together with their children.

I am interested … where can I find out more? For more information about VIG, click on this link to view a three minute video VIG animation 3 minutes. Speak to the SENCO at your school to find out how to gain support from the VIG team


A Poem on Autism from a Young Person in Birmingham

I’m glad I’m Autistic
I want you to know that autism isn’t all that bad,
It’s actually a superpower that I was born to have.
Although the sensory issues are a pain,
Each day there are super-powers that I gain.

Did you know so many artists, scientists and writers are autistic too?
Have you ever thought about your friends or you?
I was diagnosed Autistic when I was eight years old,
I was confused and scared wondering what was wrong,
What were all these weird feelings I’d been having for so long?

But then I was told;
It means you’re
Amazing
Unique
Tremendous
Inspiring
Super
Magnificent

I felt a sense of relief,
Finally, I felt complete.
Everything was starting to make sense,
All my little things that I thought weren’t normal had a reason.
I’m glad I’m autistic, I wouldn’t change it for the world!

Emily, aged 12

SENAR Update - May 2022
 
SENAR Service contact details

The new interim structure is based on the Area (North, South, East, West) model of working and will support cohesive working throughout the service to provide support to young people and their families. This model of working will ensure that children and young people have a smoother journey through the system and that SENAR staff are able to provide the right support at the right time to young people and families.

We have been working to recruit several new officers into our SENAR service. During May half term we will be contacting all schools with information on their allocated Senior Case Worker, Case Workers and Area Team Manager.  We still have several open vacancies at Case Worker level so, once we have filled them, we will continue to update our contact list.

______________________________________________________

Statutory compliance on Assessments & Reviews

Reviews – Although we are currently still dealing with a backlog of Annual Reviews which is impacting on timescales, we expect to be back within statutory timescales as set out in the 2015 Send Code of Practice by end of September 2022.

  • We’ve been making progress on addressing the Annual Review backlog. The % Annual Reviews actioned within 4 weeks of the meeting was at 0.4% in September 2021; our latest performance for March 2022 was 25%.

Assessments – We are working to bring the Assessment statutory timeframes back in line with the 20 weeks’ timescale set within the 2015 SEND Code of Practice 

  • We have improved on the 20 week statutory compliance with Education, Health and Care Needs Assessments – 64% of assessments were completed within 20 weeks in March 2022 compared to 58% national average.

______________________________________________________

Education Health Care Needs Assessment

We are still progressing with the Education Health Care Needs Assessment (EHCNA) process and the review of all of the associated documentation.  We are considering the Needs assessment in the light of the release of the Government Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and Alternative Provision (AP) Green paper, SEND review: right support, right place, right time issued (29th March 2022) The Green Paper is at the first stage of consultation so any changes are likely to be at least 18 months away. However, we will continue on our work to review and implement change and this focus on improvement has been shared with the Commissioner and DfE who support our decision to ahead with this work.

The DfE has extended the consultation on the Green paper from 1st July to 22nd July. This takes account of new accessible documents published on 9th May for those who are BSL dependent, with learning difficulties and for children and young people with SEND or in Alternative Provision

If you would like to read and comment on the Government SEND and AP Green Paper please follow the below link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/send-review-right-support-right-place-right-time

______________________________________________________

Nexus – SEND case management system

We are at the closing stages of the introduction of CACI (system owners) into the service to support the development of the SEND module within NEXUS, our SEND case management system.

We will be working on the development of the coproduced EHCP and the associated template documents for the system and developing the parent portal.

We will be contacting parents and schools to support with development of the parent portal and schools’ portal and we will have further information in the next update.

______________________________________________________

Placement Team

Whilst the area team model within SENAR provides a clear structure and accountability, the sheer size of the service is causing some issues with the management of processes where children and young people are in need of a special school place.

Children and young people may be highlighted to SENAR as requiring a special school placement during the EHC needs assessment process or via an annual review.

We also have children and young people who move into Birmingham who require a special school place. With special school places being sought from across the service it is difficult to coordinate and monitor activity, and to ensure that parents / carers are kept up to date.

We have therefore decided to create a new team which will solely focus on children and young people in need of a special school place. We have set up robust internal processes to ensure efficient handover, and the team will work closely with those involved in monitoring and commissioning of special school places. Having the cohort in a single team will also help us gain further understanding of need in order to inform strategic planning.

In the coming weeks the Placement team will be in touch with families to highlight to them who their allocated Case Worker is and ways to contact them

SEND Partnership Newsletter - April 2022

Please find the newsletter with images here:

Dear Parent or Carer

Welcome to our partnership newsletter from the teams working
together to deliver SEND services in Birmingham City Council, the NHS
and Birmingham Children’s Trust. I hope that you will find it useful and
informative.

We have welcomed new staff into the service this term and are pleased
to report that the SENAR service is now 70 person strong – welcome to
them, we are delighted to have a stronger, bigger team to help families.

Children looking at flower

We are also very pleased to say that a considerable amount of work
has been done to ensure that we met the Statutory Deadline of 15th February to issue school phase transfer EHCP amendments. 99.9% of Reception placements were confirmed, 100% of Year 2 placements were
confirmed and 99.7% of Secondary placements were confirmed; this is compared to 0% in 2021.

Green shoots of improvement are appearing in the SEND service in Birmingham and you can read more on that in this newsletter and on our news page of the SEND Local Offer website.

The Government issued its Green Paper on the SEND review this week. It is currently out for consultation, which you can be part of. I will be reflecting on its findings and the implications for Birmingham in our next newsletter.

Sue Harrison
Director for Children’s Services/Executive Director of Education and Skills
Birmingham City Council

Autism Assessment and Support – reducing waiting times through extra support teams

A separate organisation called ‘Healios’ (an online provider of Autism assessments) has been commissioned to assess children and young people over 7 years who are on the NHS waiting lists. This has been in place for several months and they had completed 1555 ASD assessments before Christmas and continue to support to date.

Another organisation ‘Clinical Partners’ are now working with the children under 6 who are waiting and as part of a pilot and will see 100 children for face-to-face assessments.

An all-age Autism support service is currently in development following consultation with experts by experience, services and commissioners. Next steps for the service include recruitment to roles and development of a dedicate website and phoneline, with a go live date of 1st April 2022.

The Balanced System – Improving support to children with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN)

Organisations across Birmingham are focused on improving outcomes for children and young people with Speech, Language and Communication needs. Everyone who communicates with children has a part to play! The support for children with speech, language and communication needs across Birmingham is moving to the Balanced System® approach. This is a way of working that strengthens joint working of the children’s workforce in order to effectively support children with speech, language and communication difficulties from low level universal support to specialist support.

Progress to date: –

To support the move to the Balanced system a Speech Language Communication Needs (SLCN) Strategy Group has been established to lead and develop the strategic vision for this service.

An SLCN Design Group has been established under the SLCN Strategic Group and is the working arm undertaking specific operational tasks and actions. Both the Strategic and Design Groups have system wide membership including Birmingham and Solihull CCG, Birmingham City Council, Birmingham Community Healthcare Provider Trust, Education, Birmingham Forward Steps and the Parent-Carer Forum.

Data gathering and mapping activity gave a starting point to understand the current picture in Birmingham for children and young people with speech, language and communication needs.  This was supported by engagement work that took place with Speech and Language Therapists, educational colleagues, parents / carers and wider stakeholders.

This helped identify current needs and the current offer of support available across Birmingham, whilst also raising awareness of the Balanced System and the need for change in Birmingham.

Next Steps: –

  • The development of four SLCN Workstreams that will feed into the SLCN Design Group. The four SLCN Workstreams will be underpinned by the Balanced System principles and will focus on; Information, Access, Place and the Targeted Offer.
  • To establish a Parent Participation Group to design and embed co-production as an approach to support the move to the SLCN Balanced system.
  • Test new ways of working and review current pathways and service offers.

More information about The Balanced System® can be found here: https://www.thebalancedsystem.org/

The New NHS Keyworker System for Children and Young People with complex needs.

The NHS Long Term Plan includes commitment that by 2023/23 children and young people with a learning disability, autism or both with the most complex needs will have a designated Keyworker, initially with individuals being at risk of admission or inpatients.

l

Barnardo’s Birmingham and Solihull Keyworker Service works in partnership with Birmingham and Solihull Clinical Commissioning group to support children and adults within the age range of 0-25 years with the most complex needs, are inpatients, or at risk of being admitted into hospital. These young people are vulnerable with a learning disability and/or autism.

Keyworkers will offer guidance and advice with navigating the relevant services and ensuring the young person gains the support they are entitled to. Keyworker support officers carry out direct interventions with the young person and capture their voice by adopting the use of person centred approach strategies. The service then ensures this voice is heard throughout all critical meetings and discussions with professionals.

Social Care – the new Complex and Enduring Team

The Complex and Enduring Team delivers specialist social work support for children, young people and their families who are affected by mental health challenges. Our growing team of experienced Social Workers, Family Support Workers, Newly Appointed Team Manager Deborah O’Neil and Clinical Psychologist, Dr Fiona Tait provide a holistic approach to promoting young people’s recovery.

We support children and young people with the highest level of need across their journey of admission: from those at risk admission or who are currently admitted to specialist mental health hospital and their discharge planning, as well as post-discharge S117 Aftercare.

We pride ourselves in outside-the-box thinking to personalise our support to meet the individual needs of those we are working with. We are based within the Disabled Children’s Social Care service and offer support to teams throughout the trust who are working with children and young people with the most complex and enduring mental health needs.

We attend the Birmingham and Solihull Clinical Commissioning Group Panel as well as the Forward Thinking Birmingham Dynamic Support Register meeting to share information and the promote the safety of all young people in Birmingham who are at risk of admission.

We look forward to seeing the effect that this new team will have on improving access to mental health services for our children and young people with the highest levels of need.

For more information on the Statutory services that Birmingham Children’s Trust provide and the referral process please visit https://www.birminghamchildrenstrust.co.uk

Autism Acceptance Week:

The Communication and Autism Team celebrated Autism Acceptance Week by encouraging schools to hold events during the week. Many Birmingham schools took part in a range of activities including assemblies, cake sales, quizzes, treasure hunts and awareness raising lessons. During the week, we heard the voices of our children and young people as their comments were tweeted out by CAT via the Access To Education twitter account.

The Communication and Autism Team (CAT)

Communication and Autism Team Parent Awareness Course – CAT PAC

The Communication and Autism Team have worked with parents, autistic young people and autistic adults to update our CAT PAC offer to families. We have produced three CAT PACs for parents/carers to attend. CAT PACs are courses which support parents/carers to develop their understanding of autism and how it impacts on their child or young person’s daily life and experiences.

Early Years’ CAT PAC:

The Early Years’ CAT PAC is designed to give parents a chance to reflect and gather information at the early stages of their journey. There is a focus on communication and early play to support engagement with family members.

What parents have said:

“I really enjoyed the CAT PAC sessions. They were really informative and allowed myself and other parents to share our experiences. I feel like I am able to understand my child better.”

“After each session I felt better because I am not alone on this journey.”

Primary age CAT PAC:

The Primary Age CAT PAC is designed for children attending school settings. It gives parents/carers opportunities to think about how their child can develop friendships, communicate their needs effectively and how parents can support their child with emotional regulation.

What parents have said:

“I really appreciated this session, it gave me a safe space to talk about some of my worries and it really helped me to feel as though I wasn’t alone on this journey. So thank you very much! I look forward to next week.”

“This was so helpful, the videos were brilliant at illustrating what we were discussing. I was able to spot things my son does (like buffering) and how i should respond to help, which I think is really going to help him.”

Secondary CAT PAC:

The Secondary CAT PAC is designed for young people who may have received a diagnosis at a later stage. It not only develops an understanding autism, but provides a focus relevant to the young person’s stage in life. Topics include discussions around puberty, relationships, developing independence and getting ready for exams.

What parents have said:

“It was comforting to hear the experiences from other parents , including the presenters. It is very isolating at times.”

“Very useful session. Informal , friendly but excellent and informative.”

CAT PACs are delivered each term. Information will be sent via school SENCOs

Early Years Developing Local Provision

Launched week commencing 21st March, the Developing Local Provision (DLP) initiative aims to enhance the work already being done by early years settings and mainstream schools in providing support to children in their local area.

Based on Birmingham’s SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities) strategy, the DLP initiative is already in place in primary and secondary schools across the city.

Schools and settings are stronger working together, when they can better understand their context, and therefore, their priorities. The DLP initiative will further empower schools and settings to achieve solutions with support and resources, with a focus on:

  • Enhancing the capacity of Early Years settings and mainstream schools to work together to provide for children in their local area and to plan the provision that they need
  • Enabling more children to access high-quality provision as close as possible to where they live
  • Reducing reliance on high-cost specialist placements in out of city schools.

DLP and Early Years

The Early Years DLP initiative will be delivered through the 10 District Early Years Networks.

The long-term aim is to establish good quality local provision that successfully meets the needs of individual children, supporting them in their Early Year’s journey through to their chosen mainstream school where their needs will continue to be met well.

Our Early Years DLP plan focuses on three specific objectives:

  1. To improve early identification and support for children with additional needs by increasing the number of children that have access to a practitioner with a level 3 SENCO award.
  2. To build knowledge, skills and practice across the sector through coordinated professional development and networking opportunities
  3. To improve early identification and support for children with additional needs by the creation of a virtual district inclusion partnership hub in each of the 10 districts

Effective communication and partnership with parents/carers is a thread running through all of these objectives.

You can find out more here: https://www.birminghamearlyyearsnetworks.org/developing-local-provision

The Birmingham Parent Carer Forum Update

The Birmingham Parent Carer Forum has been working hard to ensure the parent voice is being heard. We have continued to help facilitate the Parent Engagement Events which had been co-produce with the council. The events sought to give parents and carers the opportunity to say how they would like to be involved in co-production within the council as well as give feedback on the Local Offer website. These Parent Engagement Events have given us and the council valuable feedback that will be worked into a shared definition of co-production in Birmingham. Furthermore, suggestions on improvements to the Local Offer Websites have already been made with your feedback continuing to shape the site going forward.

Alongside these events we have been busy hosting events with our families. On 21st March we held a Parent Rep Engagement event where we invited our Parent Representatives and other parents and carers to find out more about the work that the Forum is doing to represent the families of Birmingham and how they can get involved in shaping the services our children and young people access. We joined forces with the PDA Society to offer an online training course, the first of these sessions covered developing our understanding of the PDA profile of autism and considering what demands are their effects. Finally on the 29th of March we held a Well-being Day for all our parents and carers. As parents and carers, ourselves we know the importance of looking after our own well-being, because of this we really wanted to put together a day where parents and carers could come relax, take part in activities, and catch up with each other. We want to thank everyone that attended the day and made it so special.

We have an exciting update with regards to our new venue! We are very close to being able to move into our new office space based in Great Barr. This venue will become our base of operations and we plan to hold events and drop-in sessions for our families on a regular basis. Keep your eyes on our social media pages for more information about our grand opening event!

Finally, we were extremely grateful to receive a special mention during Minister Quince Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Education Keynote talk at the NNPCF (National Network of Parent Carer Forums) Annual Conference. Minister Quince thanked the Forum for it’s hard work in helping support improvements within Birmingham. Follow the link to see the whole Keynote (512) An update on the SEND Review and Green Paper – YouTube

We also continue to make sure we flag concerns raised to us to the relevant parties in Health, Education and Social Carer.

As always, we thank you for your continued support.

SENAR Update - April 2022
Quality Assurance

We have set up a multi-agency working group to focus on the Quality of Education Health Care Plans – this is called the Quality Assurance Framework Group. The Quality Assurance Framework sets out a shared approach to Quality across partner agencies, Health & Social Care each of whom has their own internal quality assurance processes.

This enables the Quality Assurance Framework Group a co-ordinated and coherent approach to cycle of learning / continuous improvement and action monitoring that demonstrates impact for children, young people and young adults.

  • We have a working group attended by all partners and at present we are working together to create a Quality Assurance Framework which sets out robust guidelines which will be used to develop quality Education Health Care plans. The framework is currently in final draft stage.
  • A ‘What good looks like’ document that is linked to the Quality Assurance framework is currently in draft stage.
Statutory compliance on Reviews & Assessments

Reviews – Although we are currently still dealing with a backlog of Annual Reviews that is impacting on timescales, we expect to be back within statutory timescales as set out in the 2015 Send Code of Practice by end of September 2022.

  • We’ve been making progress on addressing the Annual Review backlog. % Annual Reviews actioned within 4 weeks of the meeting was at 0.4% in September 2021; our latest performance is 32.5% of Annual Reviews completed in February 2022 (that’s 96 out of 295 completed annual reviews received, actioned within 4 weeks in February 2022
  • Assessments – We are working to bring the Assessment statutory timeframes back in line with the 20 weeks’ timescale set within the 2015 SEND Code of Practice
  • We have improved on the 20 week statutory compliance with Education, Health and Care Needs Assessments – 53% of assessments were completed within 20 weeks in April 2021 compared to 62% of assessments completed within 20 weeks in February 2022,; this is a 12-months average, compares to 58% national average
EHC Needs Assessment

We are progressing with the Education Health Care Needs Assessment (EHCNA) process and the review of all of the associated documentation.  We are reviewing the Needs Assessment in light of the release of the Government SEND and AP Green paper, SEND review: right support, right place, right time issued yesterday (29th March 2022). The green paper is at the first stage of consultation so any changes are likely to be at least 18 months away. So we will continue on our review and provide a further update in Autumn when the DFE publish the outcome of consultation.

If you would like to read the Government SEND and AP Green Paper please follow the below link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/send-review-right-support-right-place-right-time

Post 16 Phase Transfers

This year a considerable amount of work has been done by the SEND service to ensure that Post 16 phase transfer amendments are issued by the Statutory deadline of 31st March.  We are on target to deliver the majority of these transfers and we will provide a further update in the next SENAR update.

SEND Improvement Update - March 2022

Please follow this link for the full update

Birmingham City Council and the CCG take the findings of the Local Area (Council and NHS) revisit extremely seriously and are working to make immediate and long term improvements with our Accelerated Progress Plan. In order to keep you up to date with those we are producing regular termly updates on progress made to improve our services for children and young people with SEND.

In these updates we will commit to giving:

  • A transparent update on progress that has been made as well as on areas where we have not made as much progress as we might have liked
  • A ‘You Said, We Did’ update that gives an update on feedback we have received and what we have done about it
  • Information on opportunities for co-production or feedback so that we can hear from children and young people, families, schools and other stakeholders
  • The service is now also producing a monthly SENAR update which can be found on the SEND Local Offer news page www.localofferbirmingham.co.uk/latest-news

It’s been good to meet you….

The SEND Transformation team has been on the road in the last 6 months, meeting families in schools, community centres, meeting spaces in the City Centre and online. The team has been talking to families about their experiences of the SEND partnership service, co-production and the SEND Local Offer website.

700 people signed up to join in these discussions and we have been pleased that approximately 100 people managed to make the events and generously share their experiences.

We have heard lots from families and carers and we will be taking the feedback and using it to help us continue to improve services and produce our co-production charter.

You can always leave your feedback on the homepage of the SEND Local Offer website – www.localofferbirmingham.co.uk

Accelerated Programme Plan – how we are going to improve the service

The DfE, in conjunction with NHS England, requested that the Local Area, in conjunction with parents and carers, prepare an Accelerated Progress Plan (APP), which demonstrates how the local area will address the 12 outstanding areas of significant weakness identified in the original inspection in 2018. This is now in place.

The APP has clear targets and milestones and is regularly monitored and approved by the SEND Improvement Board (which is chaired by the Commissioner, John Coughlan) in order to ensure that it is improving the experience of children, young people and their families and improving outcomes.

Some of the improvements and progress that we are making against that plan are detailed below:

You Said, We Did/Are Doing…. 

You Said that it was difficult to get involved in SEND strategic plans and to engage with leaders. 

______________________________________________________________

We Did/are Doing ……….. 

We have heard that parents and carers have found it difficult to communicate with SEND leaders and to have a meaningful say on plans and developments relating to SEND.  

  • In response to these concerns raised, in the Autumn of 2021, the SEND Improvement Board (chaired by the Commissioner, John Coughlan) and the SEND Management Group were set up to create plans for change and make them happen.   The Birmingham Parent Carer Forum is a key member of these meetings and represents the voice and experience of families at all of them.
     
  • To ensure the voice and experience of parents and families is central to the SEND Improvement Board meetings, the start of each meeting includes real-time lived experience case examples from families. This is a behaviour that we are hoping to see replicated in many other SEND Leadership meetings.
     
  • We have also created a group called ‘Working Together Well’ which makes sure that actions happen such as co-producing (creating, designing, and assessing SEND systems and products together) and making more engagement opportunities for parents’ carers and young people.
     
  • The Parent Carer Forum and a representative for young people with SEND are part of this group which works to strengthen relationships with parents and carers and improved outcomes for their children.

You have said that you would like to be more involved and engaged in decision making and planning about service developments and improvements  

We Did/are Doing ………..  

To address this, we have also set up 6 small groups where we are hoping to have wide involvement of parents and carers to look at ways of:

  • Improving parent carer engagement and making sure you are heard
     
  • Ensuring the voice and experience of young people is heard
     
  • Setting up a SEND co-production champions network which will make sure that co-production is in everything we do.
     
  • Involving schools and families and everyone involved in SEND in ‘working well together’
  • Developing and designing a co-production framework – this will describe and set the principles on how/what/when we co-produce as a whole partnership. 
  • Measuring our improvements on working with families based on what families have told us. i.e. are our improvements making a difference?
     

You have said that to maximise opportunities for parents and carers to become involved and attend meetings we should make meeting times that support childcare and parental care arrangements  

We Did/are Doing ………..  

  • Acting on advice from our Parent Carer Forum we now do our best to make sure that SEND Improvement meetings and events are held when children are usually in school classroom teaching time between 10.00 am and 2.00 pm. We have also included this as a written requirement for all meetings being arranged as part of SEND Improvement. We will aim for this rule to be part of the usual practice for SEND meetings in the future.

You Said that you feel co-production is weak in Birmingham and that leaders don’t seem to understand what it means. 

We Did/are Doing ………..

  • We are looking at finding ways of working where children and young people, families, and those that provide the SEND services work together more closely to create services that work for all (this is known as ‘co-production’).
     
  • We understand that you need confidence and assurance that Local area SEND leaders understand this way of working together. The Local Area SEND partnership (education, health and social care) met with the Parent Carer Forum to start detailed conversation and process of working on a shared understanding and a shared definition of SEND co-production.
     
  • In the Spring, when we are happy that we have a definition and a way of working that is agreed and understood by all, we will be publishing it alongside other key pieces of work that will be a co-production framework.
     
  • Since November 2021 we have been carrying out a research/learning exercise to find services where co-production is working well in schools, care, health, and community settings so that we can learn from examples of good practice which have involved parent carers and young people working co-productively with others. By May we will be publishing a report on these findings with recommendations. 

You Said that you wanted to be included in more engagement activities so that your opinions and experiences are included in how services can be improved

We Did/are Doing ………..  

  • Since September 2021 we have been working closely with the parent carer forum, schools, and health settings to find ways to reach out to and involve parents, carers, and young people in Birmingham to improve SEND services and the experience of the SEND journey for families.
     
  • Between December 2021 and March 2022, a total of 8 ‘Have your say’ events have been held, inviting parents and carers events to share their hear the views and experiences of parents and carers on SEND support and services, co-production, and the SEND Local Offer website.
     
  • We have heard that parents would like engagement events to be held at different times during weekdays and weekends and so we have organised the ‘Have your say’ events in the daytimes, evenings and on Saturday morning. They have been both online and in person.  
     
  • At the end of every ‘Have your say’ event we are asking parents and carers to complete feedback surveys. We will use the information that you provide in these surveys to continually improve how we arrange future engagement events for parents and carers based on what you tell us. 
  • Over 700 parents and carers signed up to attend these workshops although only 100 attended. The sessions have been held in person and online at various times and locations to ensure everyone can attend who would like to
  • We will also use the early feedback from these events to identify areas for improvement across services so that things like access to services and signposting; advice and information about what to expect from services and communication and your involvement in your child’s EHC plans being improved.
     

You have said that you would like to be more engaged and kept more up-to-date about things that are happening or being planned for SEND support.  

We Did/Are Doing/……

  • As well as making sure that the Birmingham Parent Carer Forum (BPCF) is represented at SEND Improvement planning meetings we are reaching out to parents and carers at all the ‘Have Your Say’ events to invite and encourage signing up to membership of the PCF and/or to become involved at many different levels including receiving regular updates and newsletters from the Communications Lead Officer.  

These are some of the ways and opportunities for Parents/ Carers to get involved and be heard. If you have any more suggestions/ideas where we could do more on this, we would like to hear your views. Please contact us at SENDImpComm@birmingham.gov.uk or feedback on the home page of the SEND Local Offer website – www.localofferbirmingham.co.uk 

You Said – Not enough people have heard of the SEND Local Offer website

We Did/Are Doing….. 

  • We have contacted all Special Educational Needs Co-ordinators (SENCOs) in schools and reminded them to have an obvious link to the SEND Local Offer website from their school website, so parents and carers are made aware of the Local Offer website when they are looking at information on their school.
     
  • We have held 8 parent/carer engagement meetings to gather opinions on the SEND Local Offer website and how better to promote it and are learning from parents and carers about what they want to see on the site and how we can let more people know about it.
     
  • We are working in the background to make the site easier to find in internet searches. 
  • Birmingham City Council (BCC), NHS, and Birmingham Children’s Trust (BCT) are working to promote the site at all meetings and interactions with professionals, families, and schools to help to spread the word about the website.
  • We have set up a focus group including parents, schools, children, and young people as well as NHS and Children’s Trust staff and other professionals to help us to improve the site for users.
     
  • We are talking to children and young people about what they would like to see on the site. 

As a result, whilst this is work in progress, we are now promoting the Local Offer Site far and wide and implementing your feedback. 

You Said – People can’t find what they want on the SEND Local Offer website

We Did/Are Doing… 

  • We have worked with parents and carers who have attended the engagement events to get their views on how to improve the site.
     
  • All relevant education, health and social care staff are being asked to look at the site and give feedback on how the site could work better.
     
  • The search tool has been upgraded and now works far more effectively.
  • We are planning to work with parents/carers to look at how the site could be laid out better.  We’ll do this with children and young people too.
     
  • We have moved some areas of the site to make them easier to find.
     
  • The accessibility tool has been upgraded and improved so that more people can access the site and read it more easily. 

As a result of these changes and taking on board your feedback we hope you agree the Local Offer website is improving. What do you think? Please give us your feedback at www.localofferbirmingham.co.uk 

 

You Said – We can’t speak to anyone in SENAR  

We Did/Are Doing….. 

  • We have secured additional funding to recruit more staff into the SENAR service
     
  • We have recruited over 50 new officers into the SENAR service to support the casework and completion of annual review and assessment paperwork which will help us to help families more efficiently and more quickly
     
  • We have rearranged the SENAR service into 4 area teams – North, East, South & West so that there will be dedicated help for your area and your young person is allocated to the area team dependent upon their setting postcode or their home postcode if they are out of a setting
  • We’ve added in more relevant leadership to drive the change and improvements needed in the service so that they get done efficiently and within the guidance set in the SEND Code of Practice. 

As a result, there will be more resources to support Parents and Carers when needed. Whilst we embed the new structure in the service and arrange for contact telephone points for all service officers please continue to contact the Parent Link service at Parentlinkservice@birmingham.gov.uk 0121 303 8461 

 

You Said – There isn’t one person dedicated to look after our child’s needs 

We Did/are Doing ………..  

  • The ongoing recruitment drive will allow for the young people in our service to be allocated into area teams and for officers to be assigned a caseload.  This will start to impact in the coming weeks and months as we assign each young person their own caseworker.
     
  • We are putting in an upgraded case management system (Nexus) in place so that everyone involved with a child can access their information.  This is an ongoing programme of work and we hope to have the system live and functional by the end of September 2022.
     
  • We are working with parents and professionals to develop a new EHCP needs assessments process where parents and carers contribute their opinions for inclusion in the EHCP. A trial of the new process will start in March. 
     
  • We are setting standards for quality with partners and developing a Quality Assurance framework that will and clarify roles and responsibilities so that together we know how well we are doing and can test that out.  This will also ensure that the EHC plans are robust and personalised to the young person.  This will be in place in September 2022. 

 

You Said – There isn’t good enough SEND provision in mainstream schools in Birmingham  

We Did/Are Doing….. 

The Developing Local Provision (DLP) project was set up and rolled out across Birmingham schools’ partnerships last term to support with additional £14m investment over the programme for mainstream schools and early years settings, to build and develop their SEND knowledge, skills, and provision to help pupils with SEND do better within mainstream schools.  

There is already some excellent evidence of the improvement that some of these projects have made to children with SEND in both secondary and primary mainstream schools (the DLP is available to all mainstream schools). For example, in a project running across a group of secondary schools to improve literacy for children and young people who were not performing well, the pupils made the following improvements in just six weeks:
 

  • Their reading and comprehension age improved by 2 years and 2 months  
  • 2.3% increase above expected levels in word recognition i.e. recognising common words on the page   
  • An average of 2 bands progress above their expected standards on the Birmingham language and literacy scale  
  • On a 5-point emotion rating scale, pupils made almost a whole grade’s progress (0.8), feeling happy at the end of the programme with an improved attitude and resilience towards reading and literacy.  
  • Significant increase in parental and home school SENCO satisfaction in SEND provision for the children in the programme. 

As part of the DLP, the special school outreach service has also been developed to provide additional specialist SEND support for children and young people, and school staff in our mainstream schools. Mainstream schools can now access support from special schools directly to meet the needs of more pupils, through a referral system being managed by Wilson Stuart School. This initiative will provide and build additional capacity across Birmingham to improve provision and outcomes for children and young people with SEND. 

Improvements in the Health Service 

You Said – Waiting lists are too long for Community Therapy services and Autism Assessments.   

We Did/Are Doing…..

  • The Children’s Community Therapy teams (Speech and Language Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy, and Autism Assessment Team) are working closely with the Local NHS teams to monitor the waiting lists and develop set targets for each service.    
     
  • The Speech and Language Therapy (SLT) and Occupational Therapy (OT) waiting lists have shortened which means families are being seen sooner for initial assessments. OT average wait is 11 weeks, SLT average waits for an initial assessment for clinics is 4.7 weeks and 22 weeks to package of care (POC).  Plans to reduce package of care waits are also being developed.  
  • Providers have continued to use digital consultations, with feedback from families, to support children and families where applicable.   
  • Extra temporary Speech and Language Therapists have been recruited to further support work to reduce waiting times, which was seen in the waitlist reduction up to Dec 2021.
     
  • Transformational work has commenced moving SLT towards a “balanced system” approach to meeting speech, language, and communication needs (SLCN). This model of working will support the reduction in waiting lists by embedding a system-wide approach to communication needs from universal to targeted level (education settings will be better supported to meet SLCN with a different approach from therapists). 
        
  • The OT service has introduced parent/carer workshops to support families.  If a child needs therapy as part of their package of care, specific workshops have been developed for targeted and specialist support.   https://www.bhamcommunity.nhs.uk/patients-public/children-and-young-people/services-parent-portal/paediatric-occupational-therapy-service/workshop-resources/
  • Improvements in OT are being carried out to identify referrals that can be assessed by the SEND Team to allow the physio service to focus on specific referrals.   
  • A new software called ‘Patient Initiated Follow Up (PIFU)’ system is due imminently within the paediatric physiotherapy service, this will help providers and systems manage the waitlists and see patients most in need more quickly.
  • We have created ‘Cross Border Working Principles 2021’, which outlines how children and young people who live on the border are supported in therapy services when they need to access neighbouring services.   The principles help to ensure smooth and timely access to the appropriate services and support for the child, reducing waiting times.   
  • We have introduced Healios (online provider of Autism assessments) to help reduce ASD assessment waiting times.  It is used to see children and young people aged 7+ awaiting assessment in Birmingham. 
     
  • By December 2021 Healios had completed 1555 Autism Spectrum Disorder assessments and is expected to see another 330 children between Jan-Mar 2022.
     
  • Waiting times for school-aged children (7+) have reduced down to an average of 29 weeks, this is for all families.

You Said – What support is available for families that are waiting for therapies?   

We Did/Are Doing…… 

  • Advice lines have provided information advice and guidance to families and professionals. The advice has been positively received by families as a means of information and guidance particularly while they are on the waiting list, and some families have reported that the advice ‘was invaluable’ and ‘a lifeline’.

For details of the advice lines please see https://www.bhamcommunity.nhs.uk/patients-public/children-and-young-people/services-parent-portal/

  • The services have developed a range of support, advice, and guidance YouTube videos for specific service needs to support families while they wait, these are available on the Trust webpages. 
     
  • The service webpages contain a range of resources, flyers, and links to further support families while they wait for their child’s appointment.
     

Occupational Therapy – 0121 683 2325 www.bhamcommunity.nhs.uk/patients-public/children-and-young-people/services-parent-portal/paediatric-occupational-therapy-service/ 

Speech and Language Therapy – 0121 466 6231 www.bhamcommunity.nhs.uk/patients-public/children-and-young-people/services-parent-portal/birmingham-slt/slt-videos/ 

Physiotherapy – 0121 466 5193 www.bhamcommunity.nhs.uk/patients-public/children-and-young-people/services-parent-portal/paediatric-physiotherapy-service/ 

You Said – We need better access to Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) support services.  We need more support -post-diagnosis  

We Did/are Doing ………..  

An all-age Autism support service is currently in development following consultation with experts by experience, services, and commissioners. The next steps for the service include recruitment to roles and development of a dedicated website and phone line.  The contract period started January 2022, there is a “go live” date of April 1st, 2022.

You Said – the out-of-hours support for Mental Health crisis does not always meet the needs of Children and Young People with Learning Disabilities and Autism.  

We Did/Are Doing…………… 

  • Within Forward Thinking Birmingham (FTB) the Disability Intensive Support Enhanced (DICE) team currently focus on the reduction of crisis by providing specialist early intervention work. Three Year RoadMap – Enhanced Support, Crisis This service is to be expanded, the service specifications are with the parent carer forums for sign off. 

 

You Said – What is the update on health appointments and social distancing guidance?   How much is virtual now and what can parents expect? 

We Did/are Doing ………..  

  • Most Health providers in Birmingham continue to offer a mix of face to face and virtual or telephone appointments   
  • Digital platforms were developed quickly and innovatively in response to Covid but are now being reviewed, co-productively with families to understand preferences and provide patient choice.  
  • A mix of virtual and face-to-face appointments is now offered to provide choice. Physiotherapy, due to the nature of the service, returned to predominantly face-to-face appointments from January 2022.  Virtual appointments have been well received by some families through direct feedback, stating they better support their child’s needs.   

 

 

SENAR Update - 10th March 2022

We have decided to reduce the frequency of these updates so that we are only providing information on really meaningful changes.

Complex cases

At present the volume of complex cases is impacting on our ability to maintain statutory timescales on the completion of regular assessments and reviews.

To help with this situation, we are recruiting a team of officers to work alongside the area teams and to work through these complex cases with a view to then transferring the young person back into the area team as soon as possible.

This will be a short-term measure, but we hope this targeted approach will result in more positive outcomes for children and families and help alleviate additional stresses on the young people in complex education situations.

Engagement Feedback

We have been running parent and carer engagement sessions and taking individual feedback from parents and carers on their issues with SENAR.  This has given clear insight into some of the work still to be done.  However, it is also clear for some parents, that the reason for dissatisfaction is due to previous promises made.

We are working closely with those families to try to achieve a positive outcome for the young people at the heart of the issue, and we are some way to addressing the systemic issues surrounding the SENAR service.

We are very grateful for the continued support of parents and carers and would like to thank all of those that have taken part in the events.

Education and Health Care Plan (EHCP) Needs Assessment – Pilot

We are working behind the scenes on improving the EHCP documentation and are talking to school/settings colleagues, as well as parent volunteers who are working with us on a pilot scheme to deliver improvements.

We are reviewing EHCP templates and creating a robust, multi-agency (education, health and social care) quality assessment framework to ensure that the advice and the plan itself are of good quality.

We want to ensure that the EHCP is child centred. The work we are doing here will be aligned with implementation of NEXUS, the new software which is being introduced to allow better management and communication of data.

Phase Transfers

This year a considerable amount of work has been done to ensure that we met the Statutory Deadline of 15th February to issue school phase transfer EHCP amendments.

For those parents who are affected, this is to ensure that children have a placement ready for September and parents can appeal to the SEND Tribunal as soon as possible if they so wish.

We are pleased to report the following:

  • 99.9% of Reception placements were confirmed
  • 100% of Year 2 placements were confirmed
  • 99.7% of Secondary placements were confirmed

This is compared to 0% in 2021

Whilst this is a huge improvement on last year, we have still identified some areas for improvement.  The changes we are making in SENAR mean that we are already starting to prepare for the phase transfer arrangements for September 2023 so we can be even better at ensuring that transfers go smoothly.

SEND Partnership Newsletter - February 2022

SEND Partnership Newsletter – February 2022

Link above or full text below:

Dear Parent or Carer

Welcome to the second partnership newsletter from the teams working together to deliver SEND services in Birmingham City Council, the NHS and Birmingham Children’s Trust. I hope that you will find it useful and informative.

We have really enjoyed meeting parents and carers at our workshops, and we are grateful to those who have attended for their time and contribution. There are still opportunities to ‘have your say’ at further events planned for this term, so please check the SEND Local Offer website for dates.

At these events, parents and carers have been giving us their feedback on the SEND Local Offer website which is Birmingham’s ‘one stop shop’ for SEND support, information and advice.We are really pleased that more people than ever are using the site (57,000 since its launch last April). Please leave your feedback on the home page.

We continue to work hard on making changes in Birmingham and you will read about some of the changes and improvements we have made in our SENAR service as well as those of our NHS colleagues.

We know that we still have a long way to go to provide the service that our families need and deserve in Birmingham. Please be assured that change is happening and we are grateful for your support and patience. We are working to the mandate ‘You Said, We Did’ and I hope that you will see that reflected in the updates included in this newsletter and on the SEND Local Offer website.

Sue Harrison

Director for Children’s Services/Executive Director of Education and Skills
Birmingham City Council


Waiting Times

A new faster way of assessing autism in children under 7 years is being piloted. An additional team (Healios) has been commissioned through NHSE/I funding to support with initial autism assessments in children (7 years plus) from 7th January for 8 months, the impact of this additional resource will be monitored and reported on.

Plans to reduce waiting times for therapies are in place and are showing improvements, please see below for a breakdown per therapy service:

Occupational Therapy – Between 2018-2021 there has been a 55% reduction in children and young people (CYP) waiting for initial assessment and an 80% reduction in average (weeks) waiting time.

Speech and Language – Between 2019-2021 there has been an 85% reduction in CYP waiting for initial assessment. Between 2019 – 2021 there has been a 44% reduction in CYP waiting for a package of care (following initial assessment).

Physiotherapy – Between 2019-2021 there has been a 52% reduction in average (weeks) waiting time.

Autism Spectrum Disorder – Between 2019-2021 there has been a 56% increase in preschool children waiting for neurodevelopment assessments and a 53% reduction for school age children (7+ years) waiting for neurodevelopment assessments.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder – Between 2019 – 2021 there has been a 69% reduction in Children and Young People waiting for neurodevelopment assessments.

Accessing health support when you need it

We are seeking family feedback on pros and cons of virtual appointments – when it works and when it does not. Virtual appointments are successful for some families and efficient for some types of healthcare e.g., the Occupational Therapy (OT) virtual workshops have been well received by families and professionals and are continuing to run in this way.

The virtual workshops enabled appointments to continue during the pandemic and supported communication between families and professionals. Feedback is gained following the appointment through patient satisfaction surveys and ad hoc feedback provided by families is also collected. The virtual appointments have been well received by some families especially where this positively impacts a child’s behaviour, as a result some activities will continue to be delivered virtually. One family quoted:

‘My daughter was happy with the video call as she doesn’t like going too new places and being around new people, so being at home and being able to still have the assessment meant she could be relaxed, and professionals could see the real her’.

We are creating more face-to-face (F2F) appointments for children available with doctors, nurses, and therapists, and these are prioritised for families that do not have adequate technology for virtual appointments.

The Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy service have both now recommenced face to face appointments. Advice lines were introduced within children’s community therapy and Neurodevelopment (ND) services for families to contact during waits to access information, advice and signposting to other support services.

Advice line information can be found on Trust webpages, the Local Offer pages, service flyers (created specifically in the pandemic), and has been shared with schools and GP’s, it is also included in correspondence with families and partner’s newsletters.

Whilst you are waiting: therapy advice phone lines and resources

Don’t forget that each therapy has an advice line to call plus useful resources and videos on their webpages to support you whilst you are waiting;

Occupational Therapy – 0121 683 2325 www.bhamcommunity.nhs.uk/patients-public/children-and-young-people/services-parent-portal/paediatric-occupational-therapy-service/

Speech and Language Therapy – 0121 466 6231 www.bhamcommunity.nhs.uk/patients-public/children-and-young-people/services-parent-portal/birmingham-slt/slt-videos/

Physiotherapy – 0121 466 5193 www.bhamcommunity.nhs.uk/patients-public/children-and-young-people/services-parent-portal/paediatric-physiotherapy-service/

Don’t miss out : Health Check at the GP for young people age 14 and over

A key part of preparing for adulthood is keeping well and staying as healthy as possible. Every GP offers a yearly Health Check for young people and adults who have a learning disability. It starts at Year 9 (age 14) and happens every year from then on into adulthood.

www.mencap.org.uk/advice-and-support/health/dont-miss-out/dont-miss-out-annual-health-checks

We want more teenagers and young adults to have their Annual Health Check at the GP as it’s an important way to get to know the doctors practice as well as identify any health needs early on, so they don’t get missed. You should still have the GP health check even if you are under other specialist doctors.

https://youtu.be/z8407Uzys3E

Each GP holds a register of those who are eligible for an Annual Health Check and usually they contact people for appointments. Do contact your GP practice to check you / your child is on the Learning Disabilities register or to get an appointment.

What to expect at an Annual Health Check

www.mencap.org.uk/sites/default/files/2017-06/AHC%20Easy%20Read%20Guide%20Final.pdf

Keeping care safe

We are routinely undertaking clinical prioritisation and reviewing patients on the waiting list to ensure priority cases are seen earlier to reduce the likelihood of harm occurring whilst waiting

Clinical prioritisation occurs at triage, when allocating children to clinic/appointments/packages of care and advice lines are available for those on the waiting list.

We are recruiting for temporary and permanent NHS staff; more staff will help in providing timely support for children.

 

Updates from Special Educational Needs, Assessment and Review (SENAR)

We have reviewed the Quality Assurance processes and a holding regular meeting with partners to develop a Quality Assurance framework by April 2022.

We have created positions for 40 new staff SEN caseworkers and more posts for Senior caseworkers (principal officers), Team managers, Tribunal officers, resolution officers and Parentlink officers. We now have 70 officers working in the service. See below for new SENAR staffing structure.

We are providing all SENAR officers with phones to work alongside the parent link service – timeline end of March 2022. Reviews – although we are currently still dealing with a backlog that is impacting on timescales, we expect to be back within timescales by end of September 2022 Education Health & Care Plans (EHCP) Assessments – within the last 12 month rolling we have completed 60% on time in December 2021, up from 53% in May 2021 and better than national average of 58%.

We are building a new assessments process EHCPs through co-production (further information to follow).

Complaints for SENAR is currently 14 (was 137 in November). Dedicated officers have been assigned and training delivered to corporate complaints team to align the corporate procedure.

We have split the service officers into 4 area teams: North, South, East & West

*If your young person is in a school the area team is determined by the school/setting postcode.

*If your young person is out of school the area team is determined by your home postcode

In the coming weeks/months your case workers and Senior case workers (principal officers) will be reaching out to you to identify themselves and many of you are already working closely with the service officers to resolve any issues you may have.

Whilst we integrate this into the system, please contact our parent link service helpline on 0121303 8461 or email: parentlinkservice@birmingham.gov.uk. Alternatively you can email the central SENAR team who will direct your query to the appropriate officer at senar@birmingham.gov.uk

We still have a long way to go to improve the service and we are working on the improvements in processes as well as how we communicate effectively. One of the key areas we are focusing on is being able to contact all members of the service and as such we are investing in giving all officers access to be able to make and receive phone calls.

The SEND Local Offer website – the ‘one stop shop’ for information, advice and support for SEND for anything from Home to School Transport to Speech and Language Therapy and everything in between.

If you have any comments on the site, please feel free to leave them in the feedback area of the home page – we are always looking to improve the site for families. We have added more SEND support groups to our directory, expanded information on Post 16 options, widened our information on health care as well as improving the navigation and accessibility of the site.


Working Together Well

As part of our work to improve SEND provision in our city, we are currently finding out what co-production initiatives are taking place in Birmingham. Specifically, we want to understand how parents and carers, children and young people are contributing to the commissioning, design, delivery and assessment of our services and how this way of working together could be widened, deepened, and made more effective. We are convinced that services and support that are co-produced by working together will significantly improve the outcomes we achieve.

If you have some suggestions for how co-production could be improved, we would be delighted to have them – please email them to Rowan.Griffin@birmingham.gov.uk (ideally using the email header ‘Suggestions for improving SEND co-production’).

Communication and Autism Team (CAT) Leaflet for Parents

The Communication and Autism Team has developed a leaflet to give information to parents about our service and the support we give. This leaflet has been developed with the support of the Birmingham Parent/Carer Forum. www.localofferbirmingham.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/CAT-Parent-Offer-leaflet-.pdf

CAT PAC (Parents Awareness Course) – Secondary Schools. We have piloted our new CAT PAC, aimed at parents/carers of Secondary age pupils, and we are looking forward to a face to face launch in the Spring term, enabling parents/carers to feel empowered in supporting their young person.

Parent Link Webinars – SEND Parent webinars continue to be well attended and receive positive feedback. From September 2021 up until the end of October 2021, we have hosted 14 Parent Webinars, with 605 parents attending and 152 professionals. Head to the Local Offer website, if you would like to sign up for next term.

SEND Pupil and School Support Team awarded British Dyslexia Association Quality Mark for second 3 year term

The SEND Pupil and School Support Team, who work with children and young people with cognition and learning difficulties and specific learning difficulties, is delighted to announce that the British Dyslexia Association (BDA) has confirmed that they are proud to re-verify the service’s Dyslexia Quality Mark status for a further three years. This award is only issued to schools or organisations that can demonstrate that they provide high quality education and/or practice for dyslexic individuals.


Have Your Say’ on SEND

We have upcoming parent and carer engagement events, where you can ‘Have Your Say’ on co-production and the SEND Local Offer website. Join one of our online or face to face events next month to help to influence the future of SEND in Birmingham.

https://www.localofferbirmingham.co.uk/ofsted2021/co-production/

Speech, Language and Communication (SLC) is everyone’s business: transformation of support for communication needs

Across schools, early years and health we are going through a whole system change in how we identify and support children with SLC needs. Everyone has a part to play and not everyone needs a Speech and Language Therapist. Organisations across Birmingham are working together to improve outcomes for children and young people with speech, language and communication needs in the area, through the move to and use of the Balanced System®, an outcomes based framework and delivery model for integrated services. More information about The Balanced System® can be found here.

As part of the project we are working with children’s therapy providers, commissioners and parents and carers across Birmingham to gather information about the current needs and services available to support children and young people, their families and carers. We would like to seek the views of parents and carers, schools, settings and Further Education, wider professional colleagues across education, health and social care. More information about the Birmingham project can be found here.

The links below will direct you to specific surveys and opportunities to join in the consultation process. Parents and Carers: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/QJK2GR6

Peer Support Workers Update from Forward Thinking Birmingham

For the past year, Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity has been fundraising under the Fight For All The Feels campaign to bring a new, innovative and accessible model of care to the service. Our peer support workers will all have their own lived-experiences of mental illness and come from the same communities and backgrounds of the people they will support.

So far we have been able to fund the first two cohorts of peer support workers, for two years. Cohort one, supporting Early Psychosis, recently started in their posts; cohort two, supporting the Eating Disorder Service and Birmingham North community hub, are currently training, cohort three will expand this further. Fight For All The Feels – Mental Health Is Worth The Fight.

Birmingham Parent Carer Forum Update

Since the start of the new year, we have been involved in various Birmingham City Council events such as the Parent Engagement Events which we helped co-produce with the council. During the event we looked at how families would like to be involved in co-production and what that would mean for services going forwards as well as talking about some changes that could be made to the Local Offer website to make it easier to navigate and get the information you need to you as quickly as possible. These were great events and we have been able to gather some important feedback and we look forward to seeing more families as these continue into the next half term. You can find out more about them here:https://www.localofferbirmingham.co.uk/ofsted2021/co-production/

On Friday 28th January we held an Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs) workshop with the help of Special Educational Needs Solicitor, Victoria Federico, Senior Associate at Penningtons Manches

Cooper LLP. The workshop covered how to get the content of your child’s EHCP right first time, preparing for adulthood, appeals to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal and much more.

Look out for details of a second workshop.

As a result of the findings of the May 2021 revisit, the Department for Education (DfE) appointed a Commissioner, John Coughlan CBE, to hold the Local Area to account to deliver the required improvements.

At the start of the term John asked Birmingham Parent Carer Forum to put on an event where he could meet parents and carers in Birmingham. We hosted John for this Question-and-Answer session on Thursday 3rd February. Parents and carers had the opportunity to ask questions about John’s role and the Future of SEND services in Birmingham. We are also looking to arrange another Q&A with John and other with Councillors and officers in the future.

We also continue to make sure we flag concerns raised to us to the relevant parties in Health, Education and Social Carer.

We thank you for your continued support. We wish you all the best for 2022.

BCPF Social Media update

We have now created a private Facebook page which is a safe space for parents to share experiences and support each other. Follow the link to join and to ensure this is a safe space please make sure you answer the questions. Birmingham Parent Carer Forum Private Group | Facebook

www.facebook.com/BirminghamPCF/

Birmingham Children’s Trust – making a positive difference to SEND

Birmingham Children’s Trust exists to make a positive difference for children, young people and families in the city.

We work with more than 10,000 children and young people in our city every day. It is our job to work with the most disadvantaged children and young people of Birmingham and keep them safe, happy and healthy.

Disabled Children’s Social Care (DCSC) is part of our service and is focused on supporting families who are caring for a child aged 0-18 with substantial, complex and critical needs. We are working alongside our partners in health and education to improve the SEND offering in our city; we look forward to updating you on progress in the coming months.

For more information on the Statutory services that Birmingham Children’s Trust provide please visit www.birminghamchildrenstrust.co.uk

SENAR Update - 10th February 2022

Progress to date

We are exploring introducing a duty rota which means that parents and carers will always be able to contact a team manager, senior case worker or caseworker from their area team, whilst we build a fully sustainable service

We have realigned the business support teams to mirror the service and they now function in 4 area teams: North, South, East & West.

The business support teams are being provided with phones so that they can also be a point of contact.

We aim to provide this information by the end of March 2022 when the service is more stable.


Impact/Green Shoots

We are looking at developing a new EHCp needs assessment process which we hope will make the process more robust.

We are looking for parent/carer volunteers to support our teams with the development of this process in co-production so that we get it right for everyone.

If you would like to be part of this group can you please contact senar@birmingham.go.uk and clearly label your email as Assessment Pilot Volunteer.


Common Issues & Queries

Still one of the main issues for parents and carers is communication with the service; so whilst we look at the providing individual contact numbers for officers and implement the changes please do continue to contact Parent Link service for support.

Our parent link service helpline on 0121 303 8461 or email parentlinkservice@birmingham.gov.uk. Alternatively you can email the central SENAR team who will direct your query to the appropriate officer at senar@birmingham.gov.uk


Next Steps

To develop a pilot group of parents/carers, health partners, social care colleagues, schools/education settings and SENAR staff looking at the EHC Needs Assessment process to create a more comprehensive and compliant process in line with the SEND Code of Practice 2015.

To continue to work on the introduction of the NEXUS system including the parent portal. We will be in touch with you shortly to ask for parent volunteers to develop and test the system.

We are working on providing individual contact numbers for officers to support young people and families.

We aim to provide this information by the end of March 2022.

SENAR Update - 24th January 2022

SENAR Staffing increase

We have created positions for 40 new staff; SEN caseworkers and more posts for Senior case workers (principal officers), Team managers, Tribunal officers, resolution officers and parent link officers.

We now have 70 officers working in the service. The introduction of significant numbers of staff has resulted in a service that can drive improvement alongside the completion of business as usual activity.

We still have several vacancies that we are actively recruiting to fill that will also support with the backlogs of work in the service.

See new SENAR staffing structure.

Area Teams

We have split the service officers into 4 area teams: North, South, East & West

*If your young person is in a school the area team is determined by the school/setting postcode

*If your young person is out of school the area team is determined by your home postcode

In the coming weeks/months your case workers and Senior case workers (principal officers) will be reaching out to you to identify themselves and many of you are already working closely with the service officers to resolve any issues you may have.

Improved Communication

We still have a long way to go to improve the service and we are working on the improvements in processes as well as how we communicate effectively.

One of the key areas we are focusing on is being able to contact all members of the service and as such we are investing in giving all officers access to be able to make and receive phone calls.

Whilst we integrate this into the system, we would like to remind you that should you have any queries that you would like to talk to a member of the team about, please contact our parent link service helpline on 0121 303 8461 or email parentlinkservice@birmingham.gov.uk. Alternatively, you can email the central SENAR team who will direct your query to the appropriate officer at senar@birmingham.gov.uk

Next Steps

Looking at the EHC Needs Assessment process to create a more comprehensive and compliant process in line with the SEND Code of Practice 2015.

Introduction of the new case management system – NEXUS. This is the system we use internally to hold all of your young person’s information. We have upgraded the system which includes a parent portal that can be accessed online, so you can see progress on activity and communicate directly to your caseworker. We have gone through the IT development stage and we will be calling for parental support shortly to help us co-produce the pathways and the processes ready for the system to go live.

PDF of SENAR Update

Coronavirus: Information and advice for parents / carers of children with SEND

This page is being regularly updated with the latest information and advice for parents and carers of children and young people with special educational needs or a disability (SEND) during the pandemic.

Returning to school

Your child may have returned to school, or you may be preparing for your child to return to school. We understand that you may feel anxious about this – please be assured that we are working closely with schools across Birmingham to help make the transition as smooth as possible.

If you have any queries or concerns, contact the Parent Link Contact Line on 0121 303 8461.

The Birmingham SEND Youth Forum shared their thoughts about returning to school with us. You can see the video they recorded about the return to school here.

Keep in touch

For wider information about coronavirus, read Birmingham City Council’s daily update on the city’s response to Coronavirus.
You can also follow us on Twitter:  @A2Education

Visit the NHS website for medical advice and the official Government pages for the latest government advice.

SEND Partnership Newsletter - November 2021

You can read this newsletter here: 

SEND Newsletter

SEND Improvement Update - Oct 21

Update on Progress since the May 2021 Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) Revisit undertaken by Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) – October 21

In these updates we will commit to giving:

  • A transparent update on progress that has been made as well as on areas where we have not made as much progress as we might have liked
  • A ‘You Said, We Did’ update that gives an update on feedback we have received and what we have done about it
  • Information on priorities for the next term
  • Information on opportunities for co-production or feedback so that we can hear from children and young people, families, schools and other stakeholders

Birmingham City Council and the CCG take the findings of the Local Area (Council and NHS) revisit extremely seriously and are working to make immediate and long term improvements.  In order to keep you up to date with those we are producing regular termly updates on progress made to improve our services for children and young people with SEND.

*There is more detailed information on the progress that the Local Area has made following earlier family feedback further in the document.


Inspection Revisit and Immediate Next Steps

Department of Education Commissioner appointed to support Birmingham

The Inspection Revisit took place in May 2021 and identified that insufficient progress had been made by the local area in all but one of the thirteen areas of weakness identified.

As a result of the findings of the May 2021 revisit, the Department for Education (DfE) have appointed a Commissioner to hold the local area to account in the required SEND improvements.

As a result of the revisit, the Department for Education (DfE) has appointed a Commissioner, John Coughlan CBE, to hold the Local Area to account to deliver the required improvements. John is a well-respected and experienced Director of Children’s Services, former Council Chief Executive and a respected Commissioner. He knows Birmingham well, having spent some of his childhood and part of his early career here and plans to be in the City as much as possible.  We met with John on September 14th; first task is to write a report for the Education Minister which will consider the Council’s ability to ensure that SEND services will improve – this must be completed by 31st December.

Accelerated Programme Plan – how we are going to improve the service

The DfE, in conjunction with NHS England, have also requested that the Local Area, in conjunction with parents and carers, prepare an Accelerated Progress Plan (APP), which will have to demonstrate how the local area will resolve the 12 outstanding areas of significant weakness identified in the original inspection in 2018.

The APP will have clear targets and milestones and will be regularly monitored and approved by the SEND Improvement Board (make up and chair yet to be announced) in order to ensure that it is improving the experience of children, young people and their families and improving outcomes.

_______________________________________________________________

Together We CAN – new programme title

Following feedback from the SEND Youth forum/RISE Youth Forum – who do not feel the term SEND represents them, they have asked that we join their campaign to replace it with Children with Additional Needs (CAN). 

The partnership has agreed to this and we will begin to use CAN in all appropriate situations. We will continue to use SEND where it is currently required under the Code of Practice.

We have heard the strong message from parents and carers ‘Nothing About Us Without Us’ and will commit to ensuring parent and child voice is heard, valued and informs our work.  It is a priority that we work together to deliver our commitment to co-production and to ensure that the voices of children and young people and their families is at the heart of all we do – Together We CAN.

________________________________________________________________

Some issues which require more urgent attention are already being addressed. In particular the restructure of the Special Educational Needs Assessments and Review Service (SENAR) operations team where we are appointing more case workers currently. This will enable parents to have direct named contacts in the service and better communication between the service and schools.

Further detailed reading can be found below.

*The following summarises the progress that the Local Area has made following previous family feedback: 

Since May 2021, the Local Authority has been working on improving the Special Educational Needs Assessments and Review Service (SENAR). In September 2021, we asked families what the most important improvements they would like to see were. From what families fed back, we did: 

You Said  We Did/ Are Doing 
Improve communication: answer calls and emails 
  • We have appointed a Head of SENAR Operations to work alongside the current Head of Service to transform the SENAR service, by improving processes, increasing the service capacity and working more closely with families and professionals. 
  • We have received significant investment from Cabinet in July, which means that we are able to hire more people to work in the SEND Service and carry out vital casework.  We are currently recruiting for several case workers and senior case workers to ensure that all young people are assigned their own officer. We are carrying a high number of vacancies at present, so we are recruiting both internally and externally to cover this.  
  • We are working on a comprehensive accurate communication plan to all young people, families and schools so you know who to contact and where to go. We will publish this information as soon as it is finalised.  
  • We are reducing the number of contact points into the service by closing unnecessary email accounts and aligning the new contact points to our communications strategy 
  • We have realigned all the interim staff to permanent senior case officers and team managers. 
We need a named, accessible plan co-ordinator for Education Health and Care Plans (EHCPs) 
  • We have moved the SENAR team back into locality teams – North, South, East & West – with a clear management structure in each team. The area teams have been allocated schools and young people dependent upon postcodes. This will ensure that there is ownership of cases within the service. We will communicate this to families and education settings soon. 
  • We have aligned our Parent Link service alongside our resolutions team to provide further support to parents and young people when they have an issue – we are looking at how parents can use the service to find resolutions to their issues as quickly as possible. 
  • We have realigned our business support structure to facilitate better support to the service and we are in the process of recruiting for support staff.  
Professionals need better data, so that errors happen less frequent 
  • We are reviewing the case management system (NEXUS) to establish new more streamlined processes. A project is underway to tackle this. This will also include a parent portal and schools’ portal. More information will be shared in our next update on dates for these.  
Ensure that there is timely and appropriate provision and support 
  • We are working through the internal processes around reviews and assessment to ensure that we streamline the work to help us achieve 100% compliance with the timelines set in the SEND Code of Practice and have a more positive outcome for families and young people. 
  • We are developing our decision-making process to ensure consistency of outcomes are managed by professionals and experts within the SEND arena – working in partnership with Health & Social Care. Giving autonomy for smaller decisions back to the senior case workers who know the young person rather than everything being held up in a multi-agency panel. 
We need coproduced fit for purpose EHCP plans  

 

  • We have recruited an expert in the SEND Code of Practice to ensure that all staff are acting within the guidelines set within the code – this officer is building a comprehensive training programme for all current officers alongside an induction programme for all new starters. 

 

Health (CCG) Progress Update 

In Birmingham Healthcare services work together, alongside their partners to best support Children, Young People/Adults and their families and improve Health services across the City. From what families fed back, we did: 

You Said  We Did/ Are Doing 
Waiting lists are too long for Community Therapy services and Autism Assessments.  

 

 

  • Extra resources have been used to support with reducing all waiting lists 
  • Transformation work is taking place to support Speech, Language and Communication Needs (SLCN) services 
  • There is active involvement in progressing a whole system autism pathway 
  • Services are using virtual ways of assessing for autism and offering therapy appointments  
  • Trialling a faster way of completing assessments for autism for children under 7yrs 
  • Services are completing reviews of the children on the autism waiting lists  
  • All waiting lists are regularly monitored to try and make sure the plans are working 
  • The average waiting times for Speech and Language Therapies initial assessments have reduced from 24.1 weeks (March 2021) to 7.6 weeks (August 2021). 
  • The maximum waiting times for Speech and Language Therapies intervention have reduced from 128 weeks (March 2021) to 95 weeks (August 2021). 
What support is available for families that are waiting?  
  • Advice lines are available for families whilst on the waiting list for all therapy services 
  • Information advice and guidance is available online 
  • Linking with the iKnow project to make intervention / support packages available for families during their wait (link with Birmingham university) 
  • https://www.bhamcommunity.nhs.uk/childrens-healthcare/services/ 
We need better access to Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) support services.  

We need more support post diagnosis 

  • A Pre-Post Autism Diagnosis support offer is in development  
  • Health are working with the Communication and Autism Team (CAT) and a few mainstream primary schools in the city to pilot ‘Autism in schools project’ 

 

Out of hours support for Mental Health crisis does not always meet the needs of Children and Young People with Learning Disabilities and Autism.  
  • Forward Thinking Birmingham (FTB) offer 24/7 Mental Health crisis support to 0-25 year olds in Birmingham 
  •  They are currently reviewing how their out of hours Crisis provision supports people with Autism and Learning Disabilities  
  • Work is happening with partner agencies to ensure that all children and young people are supported well at the right time by staff who have the right knowledge and expertise 
  • During weekday hours (9-5) FTB teams have duty lines. 0300 300 0099 
Invest more in MH support for parents and children 

 

  • Investment in Mental Health Services has taken place and is ongoing 
  • NHS, voluntary and other services are working together to make sure investment leads to better outcomes for children, young people and adults in Birmingham and Solihull  
What is the update on health appointments and social distancing guidance?   

 

How much is virtual now and what can parents expect? 

  • Most Health providers in Birmingham are offering a mix of face to face and virtual or telephone appointments  
  • The type of appointment offered to a child or young person and their family is typically based clinical need, whether it is possible for it to be virtual and if it is safe for it to be face to face.   
  • Many providers still have a one visitor/parent/carer policy for appointments however; if this is not suitable it is often possible to request for others to attend by getting in touch ahead of time.   

Birmingham Children’s Trust Progress Update 

Birmingham Children’s Trust (BCT) have invited the Local Authority and Health partners into the SEND Early Help hub, that is being established and want to deliver early November – this is where professionals can sign post families, offer EHCP advice and the help with navigating the local offer. 

Also, please follow the link https://vimeo.com/600112846/645c6b4225 to hear a podcast from Alison Montgomery, Assistant Director – Disabilities, on the redesign of the Disabled Children’s Service. 

How Can You Feed in Your Views? 

If you would like to comment on any of the above, please complete this survey monkey below. We very much want to hear from you.  

https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/XLLCWLW