The following information and attachments have been provided by Hero Slinn Head of Integrated SEND Service for Buckinghamshire Council to support SEND Governors in schools across Buckinghamshire.
SENT FROM HERO SLINN, HEAD OF INTEGRATED SEND SERVICE
I am writing to you today to provide you with some key SEND Updates, both to the service, but also to the national guidance which I hope you will find useful.
It is with great pleasure that I am able to share with you the formal launch of the Schoolsweb pages for SEND and Inclusion. We hope this will be a useful resource, a ‘one-stop shop’ of information, including specialist teacher training sessions, key forms to fill out when requesting an EHC needs assessment or holding an annual review, and specific advice for supporting children with additional needs in schools.
Do let me know what you think! The team pages I hope you will find particularly useful, to check who your EHC Coordinator is or what projects the Educational Psychologists are currently working on that you might be interested in. There are also specific escalation procedures included in there and a clear ‘who does what’ within the Integrated Service, that I hope will be of use when you are looking for support.
Alongside this launch, we have also launched our new SEND Local Offer, a statutory requirement, providing information for children, young people and families in relation to SEND services in Buckinghamshire:
We would be most grateful if you could promote this with your families as a useful source to find information. There are also links from the Local Offer to Schoolsweb for those families that require more detailed information to access.
As ever, both sites are ever evolving and we will continue to regularly update them both.
As we know, the COVID pandemic has brought about many challenges, not least for the continuity of programme delivery for our children, such as Speech Link in our Primary Schools. As a jointly commissioned project by the CCG and Buckinghamshire Council, we have recognised this, and I am pleased to share that this commissioning arrangement has now been extended until July 2022. I hope this will provide some certainty and enable you to ake best use of this programme to support our youngest pupils at the earliest point.
Supporting Children into School
We all recognise what a year this has been for our children. It is likely that many of those with additional needs might be experiencing higher levels of anxiety that can translate into behaviours that you are now starting to see in your school settings. I urge us all to have patience and perseverance with this and to resist reactions against these behaviours such as exclusions wherever possible. This is always a last resort I know, but in these circumstances, even greater empathy and awareness is required from all staff working with our children.
Local Area Inspections
As some of you may be aware, the Local Area SEND Inspection programme was paused for most of the past year. Inspections will be resuming however from next term, with full inspections starting in June for those who have not yet been inspected, of whom Buckinghamshire is one! For further information in relation to this, please do click on the link below:
Clinically Extremely Vulnerable Children
From Thursday 1st April, shielding guidance will be paused for clinically extremely vulnerable people (CEV). From that date they will no longer be advised to shield and must continue to follow the national restrictions that are in place for everyone.
From Thursday 1 April:
- all CEV children should attend early years provision, school, college, wraparound childcare and out-of-school settings, unless they are one of the very small number of children under paediatric or other specialist care and have been advised by their GP or clinician not to attend.
- CEV students who are enrolled in practical, or practice-based (including creative arts) courses should return to in-person teaching.
- CEV staff are advised to continue to work from home where possible, but if they cannot work from home, they should now attend their workplace.
- There is guidance to assist school leaders in actions they should take to minimise the risk of transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19) in their setting. This includes public health advice, endorsed by Public Health England (PHE).
Testing for Staff
Where staff and pupils or students are undertaking asymptomatic testing at home, this should continue over the Easter period. It is important for staff and students to keep testing through the Easter holidays to manage the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), as part of a regular habit of testing at home every 3-4 days (twice a week). NHS Test and Trace will be supplying sufficient test kits to schools and colleges to enable this to happen.
For schools and colleges, a letter template has been added onto the secondary schools and colleges document sharing platform to support communications to parents and carers. This covers testing for pupils over the Easter holiday and reporting results, as well as a reminder of the offer of parent and household testing.