You Said, We Did – 2018 to 2019

Local authorities must publish comments about their Local Offer received from or on behalf of children with SEN or disabilities and their parents/carers, and young people with SEN or disabilities. You can read more about this from page 65 in the SEND Code of Practice: 0 to 25 years.  Below is a summary of the comments we received from 2018 to 2019 and what we have done or are doing about them.

We gathered feedback from:

  • Essex Family Forum
  • SEND Engagement Survey 2019
  • POET Survey 2019
  • SEND Young Commissioners Review 2019
  • Multi School Council Review 2019
  • Appreciative Inquiry

If you would like to comment on the content or accessibility of the Essex Local Offer, then we would love to hear from you. Email: essex.localoffer@essex.gov.uk.

Read comments from previous years here.  We will publish a summary of comments received from January 2020 onwards once we have gathered feedback over the course of the year.

The usefulness of the information on the website

You said

We did or are doing

You will see

Some of the information is clearly for practitioners and it is not useful for young people and parents. 

 

 

The Essex Local Offer team worked with Essex County Council SEND teams to work out what information is more relevant for practitioners.

Information that is for practitioners was gradually moved to the Essex Schools Info Link (ESIL) and deleted from the Essex Local Offer website.

We will also edited content on the website to make sure it is written for you and not teachers, doctors or social care workers, for example.

We hope that all the information on the Essex Local Offer will be useful for young people with SEND and their parents or carers.

 

 

Some of the information is out-of-date. It is the responsibility of the provider to provide up-to-date information but they don’t always remember!  To help this, we started a section-by-section review to check that services still exist or contact details are up-to-date. We hope that contact details will be correct, information is relevant and the services that are on the website are services which still exist.
The list of special schools on the Local Offer is incorrect and out of date.  The only way of finding out which schools are available has been by a process of elimination, by visiting or calling the schools.

There is a difference between the age that schools are registered to admit children and the most appropriate age for an individual child to be admitted. So, for example a special school may be registered to admit a child from the age of 5, but the child’s needs may be best met in a mainstream school at the age of 5.

We checked the SEN school pages using the most up-to-date information from our admissions schools list. This represents the ages that a school is registered to admit children.

We hope that there will be less confusion for parents around the ages for which a special school accommodates.

 

The accessibility of the information of the website (how easily is it read and understood)

You said

We did or are doing

You will see

Some of the content is written in a way that is not accessible.

The Essex Local Offer team attended training by the Digital Content team on how to write content that is more accessible.

When providers ask to be listed on the Essex Local Offer website, we provide them with a template that includes hints on how to make their information accessible.  E.g. using plain English, writing in clear and short sentences and avoiding technical terms where possible.

The Digital Content team at Essex County Council also supported the Essex Local Offer team to re-write the information on the website.

We hope that the information will be written in a way that meets accessibility standards set by the government as best as possible.

The Essex Local Offer team will be more knowledgeable about how to write and present information that is accessible so that any new information will also meet standards as best as possible.

We would like more pictures, videos and colour on the website.

We agree. As part of new regulations around consent we have had to remove a lot of photos from the website as they contained faces. Going forward, we still want to use pictures and images but in line with the regulations.

We are in the process of redesigning the website. As part of this, we are going to include more images, videos and colour to go alongside the written content.

We hope that the website will be more welcoming and engaging for families and young people.
It is hard to find information.

We know that our search function doesn’t work very well and we appreciate this must be frustrating when you don’t have time to spend searching.  There is lots of helpful information on the Essex Local Offer and we want people to see it.

We use online tools and parent feedback to find out the type of language people use when they use the search function.  This helps us to rename pages so that can be found more easily.

In designing our new website, we made sure that an effective search function is a priority too.

We hope you will able to find information easily and quickly.

 

The quality of provision on offer and gaps (how good settings, schools, health and social care services are at meeting needs)

You said

We did or are doing

You will see

We would like more information and services for mental health

We developed a a universal training offer called Trauma Perceptive Practice (TPP) to support schools and settings in understanding behaviour and supporting emotional wellbeing. This was put together from current research, and evidence based practice.

It is offered to all schools and settings in Essex, by a combination of local authority staff working alongside staff from a range of Essex educational settings who have been trained.

The Multi Schools Council also offers free training on mental health to schools.

We are developing a tool for mapping Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health (EWMH) services/resources so that we can develop better access to information and signposting for children, young people, families and professionals across Essex.  We are also exploring more effective ways of identifying gaps of EWMH support so this can be addressed.

We are developing a common language and understanding around EWMH across Education, Health, Social Care, Youth Services and the voluntary sector.

All EWMH projects will be co-developed by forums including children and young people, families, providers and settings within the 0-25 age range.

We hope that more and more settings and schools will update their policies and practice.  This will mean schools and settings will become more supportive environments for both wellbeing and mental health.

We will have a better understanding about what is and is not available across Essex.  This will help us plan and commission more effectively.

We hope that a consistent approach to language about EWMH across all services will make them more accessible to families and reduce the stigma around mental health.

Mainstream schools do not have enough SEN training. It should be mandatory if they are taking SEN pupils. As part of the SEND organisational redesign, a training programme is being developed for schools and settings.  This will support them in making reasonable adjustments and meeting the needs of pupils with special educational needs. We hope that schools will tell us that they feel more confident and that you feel more confident in their skills and knowledge around special needs.