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Sandwell SEND Updates

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SEND and High Needs Block (HNB) Funding Review and Consultation.

Sandwell LA is reviewing its SEND provision and how it uses funding (The High Needs Block) to fund it. To find out more details of the review and how you can contribute to please visit the dedicated SEND and HNB Review page.

Latest news

The information on these pages has been put together to enable parents who have a child with special needs and/or disabilities (SEND) to find the information they are looking for in one place. 

There is information on a wide range of subjects and organisations. Information on this page relates to the latest news in the field of SEND both locally and nationally. It is organised in monthly sections.

To find specific information about organisations in Sandwell that support young people with SEND and their families please click on the 'SEND Organisations' link on the SEND Local Offer home page.

During the current pandemic information relating to Covid-19 and how it relates to families of children with SEND can be found here.

Updates - October 2021

Sandwell Community Safety Consultation

We would like to know your thoughts, feelings and concerns about community safety, as part of Safer Sandwell Partnership’s online consultation, which runs until 6 November 2021

The consultation will be used to update Sandwell’s Community Safety Strategy, and will help inform actions to tackle the issues identified by local people. The Community Safety Strategy Consultation is also part of the annual autumn Safer 6 campaign.

The Safer Sandwell Partnership wants to hear from people who live, work or study in Sandwell about:

  • how safe they feel
  • the crimes that they are most concerned about, and
  • what they think is needed to crack down on these and increase their feelings of safety.

You can access the consultation here

October Activities from Sandwell Parents for Disabled Children (SPDC)

SPDC has announced details of activities for its October Family Club as well of details of activities for October Half-Term. You can also read the October 2021 Parent/Carer Newsletter 

Email spdcbookings@yahoo.com to book your places by Friday 8th October @ 9am.

Updates - September 2021

Autism Confident - Black Country

Autism West Midlands is bringing its Autism Cofident course to the Black Country. This is an opportunity to learn about autism in a small, supportive group. You can share experiences and identify strategies that can help in your everyday life. It is a six-session course that will take place in all four Black Country boroughs including via Zoom for any adult particpants. 

For more details email blackcountry@autismwestmidlands.org.uk or phone 0121 450 7575. Alternatively, you can download the flyer in the downloads section of this page. 

Services and Upcoming Events from Autism West Midlands (AWM)

Autism West Midlands has a number of events coming up as part of its Family Support offer in Sandwell. 

  • AWM family Support Group (via Zoom - no diagnosis required) - Friday 8 October 6.30 - 7.30. This will be facilitated by an Autism Outreach Worker
  • Telephone Advice Sessions. All face to face appointmets have changed to telephone sessions because of the pandemic. Please get in touch to arrange an appointment.

For more details contact Donna (07881 109525 or donnab@autismwestmidlands.org.uk) or Sue (07808 730519 or suemorris@autismwestmidlands.org.uk). You can find out more details of the services provided by AWM on the AWM website.

September Activities from Sandwell Parents for Disabled Children (SPDC)

SPDC has released details of their activities for September 2021. You can find more details and access the September 2021 newsletter on the SPDC website.

Updates - August 2021

Aged 14-18? Start Your Pathway into Healthcare

NHS Cadets is a new scheme created in partnership with the NHS providing opportunities to explore roles in healthcare. It is aimed at young people aged 14 to 18 who are from communities currently under-represented within the NHS and St John Ambulance including those with learning difficulties and disabilities. For more information visit the St. John's Ambulance website or read the leaflet in the downloads section.

Updates - July 2021

New National Strategy for Autistic Children, Young People and Adults

Information from the Department for Education:

"Improving the lives of autistic people is the focus of a new multi-million pound strategy launched by the government today. Backed by nearly £75 million in the first year, it aims to speed up diagnosis and improve support and care for autistic people. The funding includes £40 million through the NHS Long Term Plan to improve capacity in crisis services and support children with complex needs in inpatient care. It also includes £600,000 to fund training for staff in early years settings, schools and colleges, to improve the experience of autistic children in the education system and prepare them for adulthood. "

You can find more in formation on the GOV.UK website

Young Carers prioritised for Covid-19 vaccination

Young carers and young adult carers aged 16-24 in Sandwell are eligible to receive a Covid-19 vaccination. You can find more information about how to access this service on the Sandwell Young Carers website.

Survey re impact of Covid-19 and lockdowns on families of children with SEND

A new study has been launched to learn more about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and associated lockdowns on children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

Over the next six months, the project team will work with children and young people with SEND their parents/carers and professionals to co-develop key priorities for the future to reduce the long-term effects of COVID-19 and lockdowns for these children.

The study, funded by the National Institute of Health Research, is being led by researchers from Liverpool John Moores University, Edge Hill University, the University of Liverpool, Liverpool Health Partners and a steering group of key stakeholders, parents and children and young people with SEND.

You can find more details on the study website. The survey itself can be accessed here.

Parent Carer Activities from Sandwell Parents for Disabled Children (SPDC)

SPDC has published its July 2021 newsletter giving details of parent/carer activities during the month.

Updates - June 2021

OfSTED Publishes report on the Imapct of the Pandemic on Children and Young People with SEND

Ofsted has published a report about the experiences of children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and their families during the coronavirus pandemic, in the context of the SEND reforms over the last 10 years.

Invitation to Parent/Carer Meet-ups from the New SEND Parent Forum in Sandwell

Sandwell Parents Voices United, the new SEND parent forum in Sandwell, has published its schedule of meetings for the rest of 2021. Meetings are on Monday (for parents/carers only via Zoom) and on Thursday (agenda meetings with visiting speakers). For more details see the flyers in the downloads section.

Report on the Impact of Lockdown on Disabled Children and Young People

The Council for Disabled Children (CDC) has produced a report, following consultation with disabled children and their families, about the impact of lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic. You can read the report on the CDC website.

New SEND Strategy for Sandwell

Sandwell has produced its strategy for children and young people with SEND covering the years 2021-24. To access the strategy click on 'Updates from the SEND Strategic Board' in the Related Pages section of this page.

Upcoming Events from Autism West Midlands

Autism West Midlands (AWM) has announced details of two upcoming virtual coffee mornings on Friday 18 June and Tuesday 13 July both starting at 10.30. For more details and to see what else AWM can offer families in Sandwell visit the AWM website

Activities from Sandwell Parents for Disabled Children (SPDC)

SPDC has published details of parent/carer activities in June 2021. It has also published details of family activities for June and July 2021

Safeguarding Children and Young People with Autism

The National Autistic Society has produced a guide that explores safeguarding and child protection with specific reference to autistic young people. It outlines what all professionals should consider when they have concerns about a young person's welfare or safety. The material draws on national statutory guidance.

New Parent Forum for Sandwell

Every Local Authority has a parent forum which encourages the participation of parents in the development of services for children and young people with special educational needs and / or disabilities. Sandwell Parents Voices United is the new parent forum in Sandwell. If you would like to be part of the group it can be contacted on hello@spvu.org  or by phone on 07306 364106. You can follow them on Twitter (@VoicesParents) or on Instagram . You can also watch a short video which gives more details of the forum.

Earlier Updates

New BUZZ website for Deaf Children

The Buzz website has officially launched. This is the only website for deaf young people aged 8-18 in the UK and has been co-created with deaf young people and National Deaf Children’s Society. 

National Autistic Society (NAS) - Latest Newsletter

NAS has published its latest newsletter. It has a focus on the importance of physical activity at school.

Mind Over Natter - Supporting Your Child's Mental Health

Sandwell CAMHS has produced a podcast - Mind Over Natter in which there is discussion about how parents can support their child's mental health. There is a particular focus on lockdown and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. You will need an up to date browser to access the podcast. Alternatively, you can find it on Apple Podcasts.

Extended Funding for Supported Internships

The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) has confirmed that students taking part in a supported internship who are unable to attend their work placements due to coronavirus (COVID-19) can apply for Access to Work funding until the end of August 2021 for work-related activities where: a job coach leads the activity and the activities develop employability skills. Access to Work funding is available for employability activities that are delivered face-to-face or via digital methods. You can contact the Access to Work helpline on 0800 121 7479, and further information is at: Get support in work if you have a disability or health condition (Access to Work)

Over £42 million to extend projects for children with SEND

The Government has announced over £42 million of funding to extend projects working with children with SEND and their families. It includes £27 million for The Family Fund which supports low-income families raising children with SEND to purchase equipment, goods and services which they might not otherwise be able to afford. There is also increased funding for local parent-carer forums. More information can be found on the GOV.UK website.

Home Schooling Advice from the National Autistic Society

The National Autistic Society has advice on managing home schooling for autistic students. This includes hints and tips from parents themselves.

Youth Healthwatch Sandwell

Statement from Healthwatch Sandwell re the establishment of Youth Healthwatch:

'Healthwatch Sandwell has established a Youth Healthwatch to ensure the views of Children and Young People on the health and social care services they use are heard. We wish to be a forum to enable Children and Young People to help shape and improve future services. We are recruiting young people to be part of Youth Healthwatch in a formal volunteering role or by individual projects that are important to a group of young people.'

'We would be happy to support any school project around Health and Social Care, maybe your school council would like to make a difference in a particular area? We wish to ensure everyone is heard and particularly wish to recruit young people who have a long term medical condition, disability, have a social worker or care for an individual.'

Digital Skills Training for Young People with Autism

The organisation Caudwell Children is offering young people with autism aged 18-25 an opportunity to join their Digital Skills Programme aimed at upskilling and introducing individuals to the world of work within the digital economy. Visit their website for more details including eligibility and how to apply.

Support for Young Carers

Sandwell Young Carers contines to offer support to young carers during the current Covid-19 pandemic. However, the services have had to adapt to current restrictions. Look in the download section for details of services currently on offer.

Advice on What to Do if Your Child is Ill During The Pandemic

The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) has published a set of resources to help and support parents if their child is taken ill during the current pandemic

Information for Parents from High Point Academy, a New Free Secondary Special School in Wednesbury

High Point Academy is a new free special school due to open in Wednesbury in September 2021. It will cater for students aged 11-19 with autism and associated moderate learning difficulties and communication difficulties. Admission to the school is dependent on the school being named in a child's EHCP. You can read information about the school here. The Trust is happy to receive contact from prospective parents/carers who wish to find out more about this new school. Be aware that, in September 2021, the school will be admitting pupils only into years 7 to 9. It can be contacted at:

enquiry@highpoint.fet.ac or enquiry@fet.ac

Statement of Provision from High Point Academy, a New Free Secondary Special School in Wednesbury

High Point Academy is a new free special school due to open in Wednesbury in 2021. It will cater for students aged 11-19 with autism and associated moderate learning difficulties and communication difficulties. You can read the statement of provision here.

Support for Young People's Mental Health During the Pandemic

Mental Health has very much become a live issue during the lockdown. There are services available to support young people with issues such as loneliness and anxiety. Two of them are:

  • Kooth - Kooth.com is a service, fully commissioned by The Children's Society. It is a free, safe, anonymous and non-stigmatised way for young people to receive counselling, youth support, advice and support online. Visit Kooth.com or click here to read the flyer 
  • Sandwell Youth Services - Sandwell Youth Services offer a support service for young people's mental health. Young people aged 11-19 (up to 25 with SEND) can email questions (anonymously, if you wish) which will be answered on a Facebook Live feed every Thursday. Click here for more information.

West Midlands Police Advice on the Safer Use of Tik Tok

Tik Tok is a social media app that is very popular with young people. As with all apps of this kind there are things you can do to support its safe use. This flyer from West Midlands Police gives some tips on how to support your child to use Tik Tok safely. Click here to see the information

Maintaining Hearing Aids and Other Assistive Technology during the Pandemic

Maintaining a hygiene regime during the pandemic is important. But how should hearing impaired young people do this at the same time as ensuring that hearing aids and other technology work effectively. Here is some advice from the Sandwell Sensory Support Team.

Finding Information While Staying or Self-Isolating at Home

It can be difficult to find useful information while staying at home during the coronavirus lockdown. Here is a selection of organisations, both local and national, which provide useful advice:

This is not an exhaustive list and we will continue to add details of more organisations in the coming days and weeks.

Government Resources to Support Children aged 0-5 while at Home

The Government has gathered together a number of resources for simple, fun activities to support parents who are staying home with children aged 0-5. Access the 'Hungry Little Minds' resources.

SEND Initiatives and Strategies

The Local Authority (along with central government and organisations from the private and voluntary sector) is constantly striving to improve its support for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and their families. To that end strategies and initiatives to address different areas of SEND are regularly produced which have been produced invariably in collaboration with parents and young people. Details of these initiatives will appear here. 

You can see which strategies and initiatives have been produced, access the associated documents and submit any queries you may have.

SEND Annual Report

Each year we will publish an annual report which details the developments that have taken place in the field of Special Educational Needs and Disability during the preceding year. The latest report refers to the calendar year 2019. 

Click here to see the 2019 SEND Annual Report.

The EVOLVE Strategy and Special Provision Plan

The EVOLVE strategy follows on from a review of SEND provision undertaken in 2016. It provides 'a vision, a mission and a strategy' which will lead to significant improvements in provision for the most vulnerable children and young people in Sandwell. In order to achieve this goal Sandwell will make use of the capital funding it has been given by the Department for Education and which amounts to approximately £2.65 million pounds over the three years to 2021. This funding is intended to allow the Local Authority to develop and improve provision for pupils with Education Health and Care Plans. It can be used to create new places or to improve facilities for pupils with SEND at existing schools.

Preliminary information about how the capital funding will be spent are contained in the Evolve 3 strategy while details about specific projects and plans can be found in the Special Provision Plan.  

View the EVOLVE strategy documents. The latest Special Provision Plan can be accessed via the downloads section of this page.

The CLASS Initiative

The Communication, Language, Autism and Social Skills (CLASS) Initiative was produced in 2016 and was designed to detect, identify and intervene early with children who experience significant social communication difficulties and have problems talking. It was a joint initiative with Children's Centres in Sandwell and Sandwell Public Health.

View the CLASS Initiative documentation

 

SEND Employment White Paper

For a young person with SEND finding employment can be challenging. This white paper from the Challenge Board sets out ambitions to improve employment opportunities for young people with SEND in Sandwell. The Challenge Board is made up of young people with SEND and makes sure that the voices of young people are heard when plans and strategies are being drawn up. They are supported by the organisation Changing Our Lives.

View the employment white paper

 

OfSTED/CQC Information

Action Planning for Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND)

In March 2019 the Sandwell area was visited by OfSTED and The Care Quality Commission (CQC) to monitor our progress towards the goals identified in our recent SEND action plan .

They found that Sandwell had made sufficient progress to allow for the lifting of the requirement for a written statement of action and the ceasing of monitoring visits by OfSTED and the CQC.

Click here to see the letter from OfSTED and the CQC about the progress made in Sandwell.