Message to all Headteachers from Integrated SEND Service


Dear all,

We are approaching the end of term, and I wanted to ensure that I write out to you all before schools officially close this week.

I want to thank you for all of your hard work over this past year enabling children and young people with special educational needs to work towards increasingly aspirational and stretching outcomes.  It has not been an easy year; we have dealt with more change and churn both professionally and personally given the circumstances linked to the pandemic than ever before.  I have been impressed by the creative measures taken to support our children and families during this time, and the renewed focus of collaboration, co-production and mutual respect and recognition developing between schools and the Local Authority when it comes to this area.

We have seen a real ‘spike’ in presenting need which has put huge pressure on you all, on my service of psychologists, teachers and EHC coordinators, and on other services, and most significantly the families we serve.  I have personally felt inspired and grateful for the opportunity to work closely with school leaders and other leaders across the local area on collaborative solutions to address the issues we are collectively facing, and am looking forward to doing this further in the future.

The Buckinghamshire SEND Local Offer

We have had a revamp of our Local Offer, working with families, schools and professionals to ensure information is presented in a more user-friendly manner.  Please ensure you signpost young people and families, as well as other professionals, to this site, as it contains a real wealth of support and advice for families.  A link to a useful video is below, and if this could be added to your parent newsletters in September, I would be most grateful:


Shout Out For SEND CYP Conference 13th October 9.30am-2.30pm at The Caledonian Suite, Adams Park, High Wycombe

On 13th October, we will be delivering our Preparation for Adulthood Shout out for SEND conference, which involves key post 16 providers across Buckinghamshire Local Area. It is an exciting opportunity for young people with SEND to learn more about the options available by subject matter experts and share key messages with their peers.  Please note, this conference is for Year 9 and above students only, with the invite attached.  Please get booking places as soon as possible!

CYP Conference SEND Letter Invite FINAL July 2021

The following providers will be delivering workshops:

Adviza: Will be provide impartial careers advice and guidance to young people by providing them with a bespoke package of comprehensive information about apprenticeships.

Schools can access a variety of support including:

  • Student awareness sessions
  • Continuing Professional Development (CPD) for teachers
  • Parents events (face to face and virtual)

ASK Apprenticeships | Adviza

Bucks New University:  Widening participation: Interactive workshops on the day. Student Ambassadors will also support as it supports young people with their lived experience.

Talkback: Volunteering and work experience

Bucks College Group: Options at College and sixth form

Stoney Dean: Delivering sessions surrounding the options on Supported Internships and meeting other young people currently completing Supported Internships.

BuDs: Raising awareness and options available surrounding supported Internships

Young people will be allocated workshops that interest them based on recommendations with their school.

Education, Health and Care Plans

EHCP rates (Schools’ Census Jan 21):

  • Bucks has increased 0.3% from 3.5% to 3.8%
  • England and the SE region have both increased 0.4% to 3.7% and 3.9% respectively.
  • Bucks is now ranked in the middle of our Statistical Neighbours – 6th out of 11.  Historically, Bucks had higher %s that both national and the SE region, but we are now more in line with these markers.

EHC Needs Assessments

We have seen a sharp increase this term in the number of requests coming through for EHC needs assessment; this is an increase of 18% for the same period (Jan – June) in 2020, and a 10% increase compared to 2019.  We have been working hard to meet the requirements of such an influx of the statutory services, and appreciate the pressures that schools are facing currently in relation to this.  We will continue to monitor this trend and update you further when possible to look at whether this is a continuing trend / what this increase relates to (e.g. effects of the pandemic).  We are working with Local Authorities across the south-eastern region to map this increase as well, given all authorities are seeing this significant increase currently.

In terms of compliance with 20 weeks for the full EHC plan process, we currently stand at meeting this in 84% cases for 2021.  The rate for last year in Buckinghamshire was 74% and nationally was 58%.  We are focusing further on the co-production of assessments, as well as the quality of EHC plans.  As part of this work to streamline the process and enable a greater focus on quality, we are introducing a new portal, that should make the submission of requests for EHC needs assessments easier.  Huge thanks to those schools that were a part of the pilot of this project over the last term.  SENCos have already been informed of the upcoming training (dates below) and the plan to roll out across the county subsequent to this training be delivered via the weekly SENCo updates sent out by iSEND Area Team Managers:

  • Aylesbury  23RD September  3:30 to 5:00pm
  • CSB  29TH September 3:30 to 5:00 pm
  • Wycombe  30th September 3:30 to 5:00

Annual Reviews

We currently have over 5200 children and young people with EHC Plans in Buckinghamshire.

We have had a significant effort on ensuring annual reviews are completed in as timely a way as possible, with SENCos and EHCCos working closer together than ever before.  We recognise that this is still a significant way to go on this area.  We are currently working on ensuring the data management system that now tracks this process is fully updated over the summer break, with a view to begin the regular reporting on this from the autumn term.  I am intending to write to Headteachers once a half-term with an update specifically on this area, following a discussion with the lead from the Aylesbury Headteachers liaison group to ensure you are all updated on the progress within this area.

Education SEND Sufficiency

The consultation in relation to Education SEND Sufficiency has now closed.  We have had a really large response rate into this, and would like to extend our huge thanks to all of you that have responded.  We will take time over this next few weeks to read the feedback carefully, with the aim to framing a strategy ready for sharing in the autumn term.

SEND Support Offer

SEN Support rates (Schools’ Census Jan 21:

  • Bucks has increased 0.1% from 10% to 10.1%
  • England has also increased by 0.1% to 12.2% and SE has increased by 0.2% to 12.2%
  • Bucks rate remains low compared to England and SE
  • Statistical neighbours have an average of 11.7%. Bucks is ranked 2nd lowest behind Wokingham at 9.5%

We still have some work to do in terms of early identification for those receiving SEND Support in schools.  We are working with the teaching school at Dr Challoner’s School for Boys to ensure that the training offer for schools on SEND is as comprehensive as possible.  This information will come out in September with a range of free and chargeable training sessions that we know will support school staff to support children, so please ensure that you look out for this and signpost staff accordingly.

Also from September, we will be proud to introduce our widening non-statutory EP offer, with further communication coming out then to let you know of the detail.  A public consultation will also be launched to look at the way we currently deliver specialist teaching, to see if a greater focus can be put on early intervention, so again, please look out for this and ensure you do respond with your thoughts.

Mental Health

One of the key areas requiring increasing attention is the support for mental health in schools, so am using this opportunity to signpost you to some developments in this area.

The Department for Education (DfE) is offering a senior member of school or college staff the opportunity to get a grant for training to develop the knowledge and skills to implement an effective whole school or college approach to mental health and wellbeing in their setting.

The grant is a contribution to the cost of training and the hiring of supply staff whilst leads are engaged in learning. We think this is a real opportunity not to be missed, so please follow the link below to ensure you are able to access this:

We have also commissioned the Primary PRU to extend their offer to a needs-led request for support, that now includes both children with or without EHCPs, so please do use this support as needed.

We are also very pleased to be opening in September 22 the new SEMH unit for students with EHCPs at the new Kingsbrook Secondary School in Aylesbury, with placements being agreed through the phase transfer process for Year 7s.

The Integrated SEND Service

We have had some changes to staff this term as you may be aware.  We will be updating schoolsweb over the summer holidays so that all is in place and accurate, ready for the start of the term.  However, I would just like to take this opportunity to outline the key named people that make up the iSEND Management Team.

iSEND Management Team

Hero Slinn – Head of iSEND

Tim Jones – Principal Educational Psychologist

Aylesbury iSEND Team:

Area Team Manager – Christine Preston

Senior EHC Coordinator – Vanessa Croxford (starting with the service on 2nd August)

Senior Educational Psychologist – Jenny Feeney

Interim Senior Specialist Teacher – Jane Lewis

Senior Specialist Teacher for Hearing and Multi-Sensory Impairment – Hannah Morgan


Area Team Manager – Hayley Nowley

Senior EHC Coordinator – Scott Strand (replacing Alex Potts, joined the service on 19th July)

Senior Specialist Teacher – Rupinder Ahluwalia

Senior Educational Psychologist – Shami Rait

Designated Social Worker for SEND – Lucy Perren

Wycombe iSEND Team:

Interim Area Team Manager – Alex Potts (Ian Peters has now left the service)

Interim Senior EHC Coordinator – Mike Pearson (Katherine Hipperson has now left the service; Andrew Bunker has now moved within the service as a specialist teacher)

Interim Senior Specialist Teacher – Sue Morley

Senior Educational Psychologist – Keith Willsher

Senior Specialist Teacher for Visual Impairment and Physical Disabilities / Equipment Lead – Nicola Davidson

We are also currently recruiting to a new post within the iSEND management team to sit under the Head of Service, for a Business Manager.  The advert is currently live so do pass on to anyone you think might be interested!

I think that’s all for this year!  Take good care of yourselves and please do enjoy a well earned rest over the summer period.


Best wishes,





Hero Slinn

Head of Integrated SEND Service

Buckinghamshire County Council

County Hall

Walton Street,


HP10 1UA