I hope you and your family are managing to keep well and safe in what continue to be challenging times; it has been a very busy start to the Autumn term in our schools and across our Local Area.
I am writing to parents and carers of children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) to let you know what the local authority, health services and education settings are doing to improve outcomes for children with SEND and their families. The Local Area is committed to transforming Special Educational Needs and Disabilities provision in Bury.
We recognise the key role Bury parents and Bury2gether have as strategic partners in this transformation journey. Some parents have continued to raise concerns about our Education Health and Care Plan assessment process and wider SEND pathways; we recognise that there is a need for SEND Transformation in Bury.
Bury Council is currently engaging with the Department of Education who are working with a small number of authorities with the highest Dedicated Schools Grant deficits nationally, of which Bury is one, in a national programme called Project Safety Valve. The SEND transformation programme, is an opportunity to build the foundations over the next two years to truly transform how we meet the desired outcomes for children and young people with SEND in Bury, and raise expectations for families from their Council, their schools and their health services, particularly in respect of inclusivity, co-production and enabling independence. The key aims of the transformation are:
● Bury’s early years settings, schools and colleges and other providers are able to support children to live, learn and grow up locally and achieve their full potential.
● Communities are at the heart of everything we do; the voices of our children, young people and families are heard so they can shape and inform how we work together to achieve the best results.
● There is an increased focus on earlier intervention and prevention to offer help and meet needs at the earliest opportunity, reducing the demand on high cost and sometimes ineffective interventions.
● Communities are empowered to act to prevent escalation to statutory services.
● Investing in areas of most need, and where it has most impact - for example: developing local provision for children with autism and speech language and communication difficulties; improving provision for children and young people with social, emotional and mental health issues; and ensuring early intervention for a wide range of SEND to allow children to continue in mainstream education wherever possible.
This transformation will be successful if we undertake it in partnership, by establishing clear roles and responsibilities across education, health and social care and adopting a true spirit of co-production with children, young people, their parents and families and schools, colleges and settings.
We look forward to working with you on this challenging programme in which we are committed to making a real difference to the future of so many children and young families with SEND in Bury, and providing a service within Bury that we can be truly proud of.
We welcome the challenge and scrutiny from Bury2gether and we will be working closely with them, with schools, with their SENCOs and other providers throughout the transformation programme. We are very interested to hear your views as to the priorities.
If you wish to influence this transformation programme we will be holding parent/ carer engagement events which we will advertise through the Local Offer and Bury2gether. Myself and other colleagues will be available on monthly webinar question and answer sessions. I will update you through the Local Offer.
If you feel you would like your voice to be heard, please contact your representatives at Bury2gether by emailing email@example.com or the council SEND team via PAS.CYPC@bury.gov.uk.
In addition Special Education Needs and Disabilities was an agenda item at the 7 September Children and Young People’s Scrutiny Committee and will be again on the agenda in March 2022 to update on progress. You can read the reports to the committee on the council’s website. You can also watch a webcast of the meeting.
Director of Education and Skills