6. Family Support Group Weekly Drop-in: You Said We Did

The SEND Navigation Leads and many Parent Support Groups across the county, have come together weekly during the pandemic, on the Virtual Parent Support Group Drop-in sessions.

The purpose of these sessions has been to improve communication and access to Education, Health and Social Care colleagues and to answer questions and queries that can be feedback directly to parents within short timescales, so that we are very much responding to issues as they arise.

After each session we produced a ‘Virtual Pin Board’ to feedback the information and services highlighted each week.

This week’s pinboard is a collation of issues raised over the six sessions. We have summarized the issues (dark blue) and added the solutions provided (light blue). This is part of the ‘you said – we did’ approach that we have aimed to establish throughout the sessions.

There were also some ongoing identified needs, which we plan to work on with the group to prioritize and take forward.

There is a PDF version of the You said – We did Pinboard if you would like to share with other families and groups, as well as the text version below.

You said:
Need for increased direct communication with Essex County Council (ECC) leaders.
We did:
Held weekly Parent Support Drop-in Sessions with a range of professionals from Health, Education and Social Care available to answer questions.

You said:
Information from these sessions also needs to be available to the wider family audience.
We did:
Published the Question and Answer (Q&A) sessions on the Essex Local Offer and promoted through the Essex Local Offer Facebook account. Weekly information and updates also sent out to schools.

You said:
Schools are cancelling One Planning and Annual Reviews.
We did:
Quadrant Education staff have been supporting schools to ensure One Plans and Annual Reviews go ahead as planned, even if they are virtual. One Planning training has been redelivered to all schools.

You said:
Families need to be clear about how to raise a concern if they feel they are not getting the needs for their child met.
We did:
Together with Education Quadrant Managers, the SEND Navigation Leads put together a flow chart to map out the process for raising a concern. This was also published on the Essex Local Offer.

You said:
Concerns about children’s anxiety and well-being and the return to school.
We did:
The Essex Wellbeing service was created and went live in March 2021 to support families. Return and recovery training for both schools and families was made available to all. Barnardo’s webinars information was shared on the Essex Local Offer.

You said:
Clarity needed about the use of direct payments during the pandemic.
We did:
Social care provided clear information around the flexible use of direct payments at this time, during the drop-in session, and added to our Hot Topics Week One (theme 5).