In 2018, inspectors looked at services for children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities in Newcastle. They found a number of areas where services need strengthening, so we are working with colleagues at Newcastle City Council to make improvements and address these issues.
Our involvement team has worked closely with education colleagues to ensure that children and young people, as well as parents, carers and families, have their voices heard as we work to improve services.
Choosing a new member of staff
One important step was to recruit a new member of staff to help children, young people and families have their say on the improvement plan – and young people played a key role in the decision.
All the candidates worked with a group of young people in a planning exercise. The young people then used a scoring system to agree how well each candidate worked with them, and their ratings were used as part of the selection decision.
Children’s champion events
Working with Newcastle City Council, we linked with children and young people to plan engagement events in both primary and secondary schools in Newcastle.
We then supported two events where children could share their views around their support needs throughout their education and as they get older. These took place at Wingrove Primary in the West End, and Sir Charles Parsons School in Walker, and received positive reviews from many children who attended.
Children at the Wingrove event took part in activities to identify good and bad feelings about days at school, and agreed that they would like to be ‘children’s champions’ and help run their own workshops.
At Sir Charles Parsons School, children considered good and bad days, and came up with ideas for creative ways to show what they’d like their life to be like when they’re older, such as a photo wall and a graffiti wall.
Getting it Right Together Improvement Plan
As part of the improvement plan, we have been busy engaging with young people, children, parent and carers to ensure their voice is heard. Below are some of the engagement projects:
Getting It Right Together Local Offer Plan 2020- 2021
Here’s Jill Bauld, Wellbeing Officer (SEND) Newcastle Council telling us all about the importance of working together, to get it right together and explains what the local offer is all about whilst providing an update in December 2020, click here to view the video.
Getting it Right Together – Education Healthcare Care Plan Process (EHCP)
The ‘Getting it right together’ quality process has been established. An online workshop has been created with supporting documents for staff delivering the sessions and for parent/carer’s and children/young people to explain how it will work and what to expect. Four families will be involved in a workshop each term.
An online version (survey) has been developed in response to parent/carer suggestions of several different methods for involvement.
A short video advert has been created to encourage participation and this will be sent out along with correspondence from the Assessment Team.
The Parent/Carer forum have also advertised on their facebook page.
One online workshop has been delivered with positive feedback from the parent/carers and the child.
Some research has been delivered into the use of Wikis and Mind of my Own App which are both tools that could help staff to embed the voice of the child within practice across all SEND delivery and planning.
Getting it right together Improvement plan – a workshop with parent/carers was held to design an improvement plan for EHCP processes and culture change approach.
Please see illustration below which sets out the key findings from the workshops.
The Local Offer
The Local Offer is a website where you can find out about services for 0-25 year olds with special educational needs or disability (SEND). It is also a place where you can help and support.
Newcastle City Council is currently undertaking a full review of the Local Offer website by working in partnership with our parent/carer forum, as well as other stakeholders
NCC has agreed to bring the Local Offer in-house (as part of the Newcastle Support Directory) and it is anticipated that the new website will launch on 1 September 2021.
You Said, We Did Process
Involve children, young people and parents/carers in the planning, commissioning and reviewing of services for SEND.
SEND services- A survey was created with input from the Voice parent/carer communication group, this was distributed widely through SEND networks and the results have influenced the review and restructure of SEND services.
Speech and Language Therapy services (SALT) – We have reviewed the SALT commissioned services influenced by the issues raised by parent/carer’s and have started working with the team to look at practice.
We have delivered a ‘firestarter’ session to enable the team to look at co-production, what it means to them, what they do already and what they can develop and embed VOICE in their practice. A service plan has been produced and further sessions were planned but postponed due to Covid19.
16-25 Preparing for Adulthood (PfA) Strategic Plan
A group of young people’s champions from Project Choice have come up with a plan of delivery for a workshop event/ approach to be delivered to SEND post 16 young people.
Due to Covid 19 the event was changed to a workshop and online survey that asks the same questions as the face to face work shop.
Post 16 providers are helping to deliver the workshop and also to promote the survey to those young people with access to IT.
Additionally Resourced Provision/Additionally Resourced Centres Review (ARP/ARC
An ARC/ARP is an additionally funded specialist provision based in a mainstream school. It provides teaching and support staff with specialist knowledge, skills and expertise in a particular area of SEND. A request for a place will be made by the local authority. An ARC/ARP is an integral part of the school.
The VOICE communication group of parent/carer’s have helped to create an online survey for those parent/carers, children and young people who use the ARP/ARC.
This has been distributed and will influence the service specification of the new provision as well as how best to embed VOICE.
There has been an initial planning meeting to look at approaches to reviewing the Short breaks offer and how best to influence new commissions and embed VOICE.
A survey has been designed with input from parent/carer’s and children/young people about activities and the best way to receive communication and get access to opportunities.
Social Emotional Health Needs (SEMH)
Workshops have been designed with young people and rolled out across different cohorts:- 16+ project choice, Trinity school years 6,7 and 8, Sacred Heart school for girls all secondary year groups and Wingrove Primary school.
Recipe for Perfect School
Workshop Information and Tools
Health services and the Local Authority, who support the delivery of specialist services to schools, want to hear the views of children and young people with SEMH.
We need to know how school has been for them up until now, what have their experiences been and how can we learn from them?
We want to ‘get it right together’ because we know that hearing the voice of the child is a truly emotive way to get adults and organisations to change the way they do things.
We all want to have excellent services delivered and especially to our most vulnerable young people.
By helping with this workshop you are helping us to get it right
We will use all of the things the students tell us and feedback what we will do differently as a result of what they have said.
The ground rules sheet is a great way to set up the start of the small group work session.
This sends a message that everyone’s input is valued, develops listening skills and gives permission for creative thinking and ownership of the session.
Good day/bad day
This can be used 1-1 or in a small group.
Print off the workshop sheets and you can use these to get the students to add comments, or as the workshop facilitator you could write for them (everyone loves a scribe!)
Not all young people will want to do it that way though.
If you have creative craft materials, magazines/ newspapers or just paper and coloured pens you could ask them to create a picture that expresses what a good day/ bad day at school is like for them.
The detail about this will come when they explain their pictures.
You might have to use open questions to get more information ‘What do you mean by that?’ ‘How did that make you feel?’
You could ask their permission to record them speaking about their pictures or you could take notes.
Please be as creative as you like with this, there is no wrong way!
The main focus is giving the young people an opportunity to talk through their experiences in a safe environment.
The Dream School activity
This can be done individually or as a group work activity.
This can be done by making a model or drawing a plan, like a big map.
The workshop sheets might help with ideas to get started.
Each member of the small group might have a task, be responsible for making or drawing certain areas.
As you do this activity you could take notes as there will be reasons for decisions that are made about the layout etc.
Open questions will help to get more information about why you would need certain things in a certain way.
The object of this activity is to get an idea through creating a Dream environment of the things that haven’t worked in school and the reasons why. (for instance – ‘nowhere to go when you have a meltdown’ or you ‘just need to be on your own’, how that makes you feel etc etc)
Design a Teacher
This activity should give us a positive look at what qualities make a great teacher.
At the same time it will allow the student to explore when things haven’t been right, when teachers have said and done things that haven’t helped the student to feel valued or safe.
Get them to say how a teacher should Think, Feel and Act, there will possibly be other things that will come out of this as well
This should be a quick fun activity but with a serious purpose.
The results of this activity will help teaching staff across the city to understand the needs of SEMH students.
This activity can be done in a creative way, using what materials you have to hand.
Explain to the group that all school children and young people have strengths and needs. Strengths can be things that you are good at, that you find easy or that you really enjoy. Needs can be things which you find difficult and for which you need some help and support.
This section is helpful for us to get more information about how we support difference, how we use language to describe that (labels) and what that means to them. How does that make them feel?
Some questions could be: –
Have you heard the phrase Social emotional and mental health needs?
What do you think it means?
What other words could we use instead?
What things could be put in place in your Dream school to help children who find it hard to talk about how they are feeling?
What one thing could we do to help someone who is finding it hard to cope with things going on in their life?
3 videos have been created from the workshop feedback and the other materials have been used to inform the SEMH review.
Speech and Language Therapy – Getting it Right Together
Link to survey and advert for online workshop for the Speech and Language Therapy review.
Please see the main findings from the workshop outlined below:
Young People’s Conference 2020
A conference was held at the civic centre and workshops delivered. This conference was an opportunity to feedback that Health and Newcastle City council had listened to what the young people had said.
One of their key things was that there was no one who would champion their views. The new role of Community Wellbeing Officer for SEND was funded by NCC and health as a direct response and was able to let the young people know that their views really mattered.
To find out how to getting involved, please contact our involvement team.
To find out more about services for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities, visit the Your Health section of this website.