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Shake – up improves special needs services

Published Thursday, 04 September 2014

A comprehensive guide to all the services and support available for children or young people with Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) is now available from Enfield Council.

Known as the ‘Local Offer’ it is one of a number of reforms in the Children & Families Act 2014 which came into force on Monday (1 September).

As part of the biggest shake up in SEND for 30 years, Enfield Council has produced its ‘Local Offer’ which describes how local services aim to put children, young people and their families at the heart of a support system so they have more choice and control over their lives.

A key change to services is the replacement of statements of Special Educational Needs (SEN) with a new statutory Education, Health & Care Plan (EHCP).

Unlike statements of Special Educational Need, where professionals working in health and special education drafted the statements, new EHCPs are produced with parents and children where experts pay full attention to their contributions to the plan.

These plans set out the extra specialist support a child may need to do well at school, stay healthy and safe, enjoy themselves with friends and to develop independent skills which can lead to longer term opportunities such as higher education and employment.

Cllr Ayfer Orhan, Enfield Council’s Cabinet Member for Education, Children’s Services & Protection, said: “Parents and young people are at the heart of our special education and disability needs services and we are determined to do the very best we can for them using the new plans as a guide.

“Statements of Educational Need will be gradually replaced with the new plans as they are reviewed. This will take place over the next few years.

“The new Education, Health & Care Plans, will give parents and young people the opportunity to tailor services to their needs so they can be supported in living independent, fulfilling lives.”

The ‘Local Offer’ is available online here or hard copies can be picked up at the Joint Service for Disabled Children at Cheviots Close, Baker Street, Enfield; Libraries, Children’s Centres and schools.
Over 30 local authorities and 2,000 families piloted the new reforms in the last 18 months.

Findings from the pilots show that:

• Parents feel more empowered and supported and are happier with the services they are receiving, with 88% saying their views had been taken into consideration.

• Professionals are overwhelmingly supportive of the new approaches and feel they bring about a more family-centred way of working.

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