By SARAH BOWELL
For families with children with SEND – special educational needs and disabilities – there were important reforms in 2014 with the introduction of EHCPs – Education, Health and Care Plans.
In theory, these plans should offer a great way for pulling together all the support and services to help children and young people with SEND. One big advantage over the previous system of statements of special needs was that they should be available, where needed, to those up to the age of 25.
But like anything, it is in the delivery of these documents thar will really make the difference.
One other change was the need for councils, including Croydon, to have a Local Offer. This should act as a hub where all information can be easily found.
The Croydon Council website’s Local Offer page currently has a link, where parents and carers can complete an Ofsted survey.
Ofsted says, “The local area will publicise details of meetings that the inspection team will hold with anyone affected by the inspection.”
Despite this, families of children and young adults with SEND in Croydon may not have heard about these meetings. I could not find them advertised anywhere on the Local Offer, a place where you might think it would be ideal to reach out to all. By the time I had heard about the meetings, I was unable to book a place as “they had reached their capacity”.
If you were unaware of these meetings taking place, then please let the Ofsted team know.
I also would have expected to see an easy link for children and young people to give their views to Ofsted, but I couldn’t easily find this information, either. I find this worrying, as surely accessibility should be key with anything regarding SEND?
I can’t change things for my son, as his EHCP is now ceased, but Ofsted want to know views from all families in Croydon from the time when EHCPs were introduced. These views and experiences may help those going through the system now, and I would urge everyone to complete the survey or email the inspection team.
Anyone who had to wait 20 months for an “annual” review, anyone who tried to get relevant reports for transitions and anyone who simply tried to get an appropriate education for their child should let the inspection team know, in the hope that Croydon will have a SEND department in which we can take pride, and consequently have generations of youngsters who reach their aspirations.
The under-publicised survey is only open until midnight tonight, October 5.
Please use your voice.
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