The changes afforded by the SEN reforms have been much heralded. Consultation has been ongoing since the SEN Green Paper – ‘Support and Aspiration: A new approach to special educational needs and disability‘ was published in 2011. Here we are however in March 2013, waiting for the publication of the final version of the revised Code of Practice which at the time of writing this is still in draft and are all busy in our individual authorities and schools ensuring we are ready for September implementation of the changes.
This blog focuses on the development of our own ‘School Offer’. It is not a proposal of a right or wrong way of doing things – in fact, the thrust of the SEN reforms is that within a consistent framework, Local Authorities and in turn schools, respond in a way that is most relevant and pertinent to the local community they serve. This has been / is our way of doing it……………………
As part of the preparations for implementing the changes afforded by the SEN reforms / revised Code of Practice, Camberwell Park School has established their ‘School Offer’ which is now published on the school website.
The themes for the offer were established in line with Manchester Local Authority suggestions as: Teaching and Learning, Keeping our children safe, Annual Reviews, Health, Home-school Communication, Working together, Help for Families, Transition to High School and Extra Curricular Activities.
The school was keen to ensure the information in the school’s offer was clear and accessible to parents / carers and those seeking information about the school and therefore visual icons were used as signposts to the different sections in the offer, plain language has been used in each section and relevant quotes included from Ofsted and parents/ carers used where relevant and appropriate to support the statements made about the provision offered.
The offer on the website is based on the school’s current provision and will be updated in line with any developments e.g. a planned move to a new school building in March 2015 which will bring enhanced provision opportunities.
Governor and parent /carer feedback
Governors and parents / carers have been consulted by the school about the offer with an overwhelmingly positive response including that the information is clear, relevant and informative. Some parents commented that it was easy to read without getting lost in jargon and one commented on the helpful size of the print! Many commented on content of particular sections in the offer and how it was helpful seeing a summary of the school provision in one place on the website. One parent commented “I feel the school offer shows real care for the children at the core which is reinforced by the Ofsted comments”. Another commented on how having the sections in PDF format made it easy for them to save and to print.
Governors / parents and carers also have made a number of helpful and supportive suggestions for further development of the School Offer which the school plans to take on board including more use of photographs within the sections on the offer. As far as additional content, parents / carers have asked for some information about what happens in different classes to be included and for more information about what other agencies provide within the school such as speech and language, physiotherapy etc. as well as more info about the specialist resources in the school such as the sensory room.
As in all local authorities, at the time of writing this piece, Manchester is still working on a range of aspects of SEN reforms including developing the format of Education, Health, Care Plans ( EHCPs) and the provision of personal budgets .
Regarding Education Health Care Plans, (EHCPs), Camberwell Park School is working with the Local Authority on piloting a primary EHCPs with four families within our own school during the summer term 2014 in order to plan for rolling out the programme over the following year and senior school staff are being trained to run ‘Person Centred Planning’ reviews. I am also the special school head teacher representative on the Local Authority strategic working group planning the roll out of EHCPs across the authority.
Busy, but interesting times ahead which will hopefully do as intended and support us to work in more co-ordinated way with the needs of our children / young people and their families firmly at the heart of what we do.
I will blog again on other aspects of the #SEN reforms as things develop.
9th March 2014