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National news on SEND

This page features the latest news and developments in SEND within England and Wales, and the top stories from the rest of the UK and overseas.

Disclaimer

SEND Advice is not responsible for articles or events provided by third parties. Any views or opinions are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the SEND Advice Service.

SEND Advice takes no responsibility for the content of external websites accessed through ours, and encourages visitors to review each site's privacy policy before disclosing any personally identifying information.

"Your Rights, Your Future"

The Council for Disabled Children have developed a resource aimed at providing training to children and young people on what the Children's and Families Act 2014 means for them. Use their 'Your Rights, Your Future' toolkit to find out more.

New website for children and young people

The website is aimed at Children and Young People - supporting them to understand what their rights are (in the context of IAS) and how they can access support (all IAS Service details are on this website). Visit the IAS website for more information.

Childcare for families with disabled children

Families with disabled children often find it difficult to access the free childcare that is available to all three and four-year-olds, and some eligible two-year-olds. A new guide, has been compiled by Irwin Mitchell Solicitors for the charities Contact a Family, Every Disabled Child Matters and The Family and Childcare Trust, as part of 'Levelling the Playing Field: the Childcare Campaign for Disabled Children'. This guide is designed to help families understand their rights to free childcare for disabled children, and to help them challenge decisions by local authorities and childcare settings, if access to free childcare has been denied.  

You can download the guide from their website

A short survey on families experiences in accessing sufficient childcare is being undertaken by the charities mentioned, give your feedback. 

Government research suggests physical activity in 5-11 year olds improve health

This new government study provides clear evidence that physical activity in 5-11 year olds improves their health. This report could be useful to organisations providing activities for young people, not least for evidence in funding applications. What is also of note from the study is that physical activity is positively linked to academic achievement. 

Children and Young People's Mental Health Transformation Programme

The recent report of the Children and Young People’s Mental Health Taskforce Future in Mind, jointly chaired by the Department of Health and NHS England, establishes a clear and powerful consensus about how to make it easier for children and young people to access high quality mental health care when they need it. A letter to CCG's from NHS England can be read.

Care Act: An Easy Read

The Department of Health have produced an easy-read booklet to help parents and young people understand what they are entitled to and what councils have to offer. It also gives guidance and information for councils on how to use the Care Act appropriately. To read more visit the Council for Disabled Children website.

For Children and Young People: Understanding the EHC Plans

A recent video has been created to explain as simply as possible Education and Health Care Plans.

Young carers to get more support from schools

Young people who care for a relative are set to receive more support from their schools as part of a major initiative being launched nationwide.

There are an estimated 700,000 young carers in the UK. 

As part of a project jointly managed by the Carers Trust and The Children's Society, called the Young Carers in Schools Programme, schools will be able to sign up to receive guidance and tips on how to support young carers.

Regional networks of schools will also be established in order to share innovative work and training.

It is expected that hundreds of schools will sign up for the programme in the first wave.

Youth workers witness surge in mental health problems

Youth workers are experiencing a marked increase in numbers of young people with mental health problems, the head of a major youth organisation has warned.

UK Youth has warned that increasing numbers of young people are experiencing mental health problems. 

Anna Smee, chief executive of UK Youth, said her organisation is increasingly hearing concerns about young people's mental health being raised in youth work settings.

Smee told CYP Now that young people are “facing increasingly complex decisions”, and has called for mental health issues to be taken as seriously as physical issues. “I think the first thing we need to acknowledge is that this is a serious issue and you cannot treat anything unless you recognise there is a problem first," she said.

“There are ways of treating mental health problems and we need to make those treatments and support available for all young people.”

Further information is available about the resource pack, from UKYouth.

Documents relating to child and adolescent health and wellbeing

A number of documents have been published by Public Health England relating to child and adolescent health and wellbeing.

Below are three of those documents:

Building children and young people's resilience in schools - Working with parents to improve family relationships can build resilience in young people

Improving young people's health and wellbeing and attainment - Research suggests that children and young people who are aerobically fit have higher academic
scores.

The link between pupil health and wellbeing and attainment - A survey of young people's views on what matters in health produces key results. Of which includes this statistic: the two most popular activities that helped coping were talking to family (53%) and doing something creative (49%)

MPs call for national parenting support programme

There should be national co-ordination of parenting support with local authorities playing a more active role in evaluating provision in their area, a parliamentary inquiry has concluded.

MPs have called for the creation of a national parenting support programme

The inquiry into parenting and social mobility recommends the creation of a universal parenting programme that is available to all parents across the UK and which is delivered on the ground by public, private and voluntary sector organisations sharing resources and expertise. 

The Family and Childcare Trust has more information available on its website.

New app to get more parents to support their children's learning

Parents of disadvantaged children aged between two and five years old will be able to download the free app to their smartphones and iPads where there is currently a bank of 22 games to play alongside their children.

Run by organisation Character Counts, the app, known as EasyPeasy, aims to get more parents to support their children’s learning and development, and provides support though a virtual network and messaging service.

You can learn more about the App on the Voluntary Works website

Department of Education has announced new grants scheme

This spring edition features details on these grants which would be provided to support SEN issues. To find out more, please visit the Council for Disabled Children website

Parents to get a clear picture of child's development

The government has announced funding for local authorities to implement their ‘integrated review’, bringing together assessments given by the Department of Education and the Department of Health.  This will provide over £2 million to support joined-up checks on education and health development and parents will now get an integrated picture of their child’s development for the first time. Read more about this on the Voluntary Works website.

Delaying children's school entry linked to poor academic performance

New research by the University of Warwick has indicated that delaying school entry for children could cause poorer academic performance. Many parents are keen to hold their children back a year if they were born prematurely or in the summer months; however, the new research suggest this may not be the best option.

Free Afasic information events for parents

Afasic are holding free parent information events around England from February to March 2015 so that parents and carers can learn more about speech and language difficulties, how they can support their children, to understand how the SEND reforms will work, and navigate their way round the system. Please visit the Afasic website for more.

Duchess of Cambridge records child mental health message

The Duchess says that stigma around mental health means that many children do not get the help they need and is calling for more support for children with mental health problems to prevent greater difficulties in later life.

Ofsted 2015 questionnaire

Ofsted has now launched its 2015 online questionnaires. They’re open until the end of 4 May 2015. The questionnaires are Ofsted’s chance to hear the views and thoughts of children and young people, parents, professionals and other users about their children’s homes, residential family centres, fostering services and adoption agencies. People can get the questionnaires from their individual providers and if they can’t, for whatever reason, they can contact Ofsted directly on 0300 123 1231 or enquiries@ofsted.gov.uk and we’ll make sure they have a chance to give us their views.

Failure to tackle children's problems costs 17bn a year

Social problems affecting young people are costing government close to £17bn a year, a major study by the Early Intervention Foundation (EIF) has found.

Analysis by the organisation found that almost a third of the bill came from the annual £5bn cost of looking after children in care, with a further £4bn a year spent on benefits for 18- to 24-year-olds not in education, employment or training (Neet).

Please visit the Voluntary Works website for more on this. 

SEND Reforms: SEN Minister Interview

The video below features an Interview with SEN Minister, Ed Thompson. He talks about the spirit of the reforms and culture change

Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists and when to see them

Royal College of Psychiatrists have issued guidelines on when a child or adolescent should see a Psychiatrist. These guidelines have been written for commissioners, providers of mental health services, child and adolescent psychiatrists, patients and clinicians when patients should be seen by a child and adolescent psychiatrist to ensure that they receive safe, high-quality, evidence-based care.

Education and training

Apprenticeship starts up across all ages

The Skills Funding Agency has released statistics showing that apprenticeship starts amongst 16-18s were up almost 9,000 during the first quarter of 2014/15 compared with the same period last year. The provisional figures also show that starts across all ages increased almost 40,000 on the previous year. However, it suggested that some increases could be attributed to problems with reporting data at this time last year, which affected final figures.

Health

Health Policy Influencing Group calls for cross-government strategy on health and wellbeing. The Children and Young People’s Health Policy Influencing Group is calling on the next Secretary of State for Health to develop a cross-government strategy for improving the physical, mental and emotional health and well-being of children and young people. It sets out nine action points that should be an immediate and urgent priority for the next government.

PHE report encourages organisations to address the health needs of young people

Public Health England has published ‘Improving young people’s health and wellbeing’ framework to address the health needs of young people. The aim of the framework is to provide valuable practical support to councillors, health and wellbeing board, commissioners and service providers and encourages an approach focused on wellbeing and resilience.

SEND

The views and experiences of children in residential special schools

The Office of the Children's Commissioner for England has published two reports based on understanding the views and experiences of children and young people with special educational needs in residential special schools. A key finding of the research, conducted by the Institute of Education, is that children reported not being listened to when important decisions were made on their behalf.