Council puts the voices of children, young people and their families first with the “SEND and Alternative Provision” strategy
Today (21 September), Telford & Wrekin’s cabinet approved the 2023-2028 “SEND and Alternative Provision” strategy, which re-enforces the council’s commitment to achieving the best possible outcomes for children and young people in the borough with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and those accessing Alternative Provision (AP).
The council, NHS and PODS (Parents Opening Doors) charity have developed the “SEND and Alternative Provision” strategy by working closely with children and young people with SEND and those accessing alternative provision*, their families and carers.
Councillor Eileen Callear (Lab), Telford & Wrekin Council’s Cabinet Member for Education, Employment and Visitor Economy said:
““We are extremely proud of the existing support available for our children and young people with SEND in Telford and Wrekin. The recent Ofsted and Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspection report highlights that children and young people in our borough with SEND are visible, valued and included in the Telford and Wrekin community and that this council and other local organisations are actively taking action where improvements are needed.
“We understand the importance of communication, listening to the voices of parents, carers and children, and working together with them to make our services the best they can be.
“Telford & Wrekin Council has also been recently selected by the Department for Education (DfE) to lead a new SEND and Alternative Provision pilot programme for the West Midlands - which demonstrates the strength of our Children’s Service, and the confidence government has in them.”
“While we absolutely value all of these achievements, we want to reassure our residents that we are not complacent.
“Over the next five years, we are committed to continuing to provide better experiences and outcomes for our children and young people with SEND.
“We recognise that many young people, who access Alternative Provision, also have SEND - that’s why we have unified our approach in a borough-wide, “SEND and Alternative Provision” strategy.
“This strategy sets out our ambitions over the next five years to continue to develop our services and make improvements where it matters most, by closely involving our children, young people and their families.
“By working together with the local NHS and PODS, we will provide even better opportunities and improved services for families, by making services more inclusive, easier to access, closer to home and more adaptable for individual needs.”
Jayne Stevens, Strategic Co-ordinator PODS (Parents Opening Doors) Parent Carer Forum, said: "We welcome the development of the SEND and Alternative Provision Strategy.
“It's important to our families that they are heard and that the services meet the needs of their children and young people in education and Alternative Provisions.
“The strategy values our families’ feedback so far and we will continue to provide experiences to ensure they access the right support, in the right place, at the right time.
“We continue to work with our parent carers and wider family community and our partners across education, health and social care.
“We are pleased that the “Working Together Charter” is embedded within the strategy and links with the priorities and outcomes, building on key messages and strengthening trust".
Gareth Robinson, Executive Director of Delivery and Transformation for NHS Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin, said:
“I welcome the “SEND and Alternative Provision” Strategy which has been driven by the passion and commitment of local partners and families in Telford and Wrekin.
“We will continue to work together to put this strategy into practice and to support children and young people with special needs and those in Alternative Provision to lead healthy and fulfilling lives, by enhancing the health, education and social care services they receive.”
To download the “Working Together for better SEND and Alternative Provision (AP) outcomes in Telford and Wrekin” strategy, visit Telford & Wrekin Council’s website
*Alternative Provision supports children who need extra help to stay in and enjoy learning at their mainstream school, or provides specialist places and support for those who would benefit from spending time away from their school.
Photo caption (from right): Jayne Stevens, Strategic Co-ordinator PODS Parent Carer Forum with Councillor Shirley Reynolds (Lab), Telford & Wrekin Council's cabinet member for Early Years, Children and Young People (second, centre) and PODS members of staff and volunteers