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Integrated 0-25 Special Educational Needs and Disability Service

To support the implementation of the wide ranging reforms in the Children and Families Act 2014, associated regulations and the requirements of the revised Code of Practice July 2014, South Gloucestershire Council established a new integrated 0-25 Special Educational Needs and Disability Service. The service is designed to deliver joined up working across education, health and social care for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities up to the age of 25. The service’s responsibilities include jointly commissioning services and resourcing specialist provision in mainstream and special schools and the development of a Local Offer. The Local Offer ensures better access to information, and advice and support for parent carers, children and young people as well as practitioners working in the field, and the personalisation agenda that puts children and young people and their families at the heart of the decision making process.

a.)      Access to Curriculum

All schools are responsible for providing a broad, balanced and inclusive curriculum for all pupils, including for disabled pupils. The local authority and its partners support schools to respond to individual needs of pupils and training needs of staff with a range of specialist services, commissioned services and traded services as follows:

  • School improvement in South Gloucestershire

Provides support to maintained schools as part of the Universal Offer. The service is available to all phases and settings, whether mainstream, academies or special schools and includes:

  • Support in preparation for Ofsted inspection
  • Advice and support in the development of guidance relating to policies such as SEND policies.
  • Educational Psychology Service and School Inclusion

This service aims to promote improved attainment, inclusion and wellbeing of all children and young people in South Gloucestershire. The service also has targeted and specialist functions and delivers services principally through visits to schools and settings. A significant amount of time is spent working in a multi-agency context, in the early identification of pre-school children, who may have additional or special educational needs. Work in schools will focus on early intervention, removing barriers to learning, building capacity in schools and raising expectations and achievement. The service is delivered principally through consultation with school staff, parents, pupils and other services and agencies, to help address and support the concerns raised. It is accessible to users independently of schools and the service operates within the Council’s Equality and Diversity Policy. Increasingly, educational psychologists will work in schools to help deliver integrated support to children and young people with additional needs via the Common Assessment Framework (CAF).

  • Sensory Support Service
  • Special Educational Needs Inclusion Support Service (part of 0-25 service)

This service enables individual pupils with a range of needs to access the curriculum with specialist advisory teacher support and inclusion support workers. The team also delivers training to schools to ensure improved participation for all pupils is achieved from a whole school approach.

(vi) Speech and Language Therapy Service

The Children’s Speech and Language and Therapy Service provides an assessment, diagnosis and intervention service to children and young people with speech, language and communication needs and/or with eating drinking and swallowing difficulties.

(vii) Outreach Support

The local authority commissions outreach support for pupils in mainstream schools, with a range of special educational needs and disabilities to ensure greater access to the curriculum.

The council provides support to schools to help them implement their accessibility plans. This includes:

  • providing training and awareness opportunities to staff, governors and parents
  • sharing good practice and teaching support
  • subject specific guidance
  • encouraging collaboration between groups of schools to share expertise
  • ensuring that schools are aware of support services that provide advice to schools and staff
  • providing specialist help to identify ways forward in increasing the inclusion of all pupils.

The Inclusion Handbook for schools contains detailed guidance on removing barriers to achievement and improving participation in the curriculum together with guidance on the Equality Duties.

As we gain momentum in the implementation phase of the reform agenda the council will continue to support our schools to work together and with parent carers to ensure our specialist and outreach services are designed to maximise inclusion.

Specialist training, equipment and resources

The council works in partnership with health services to provide a range of specialist aides, equipment and ICT to promote disabled pupils’ access to the curriculum. We are committed to developing our partnerships with health services and other agencies to seek opportunities for joint working and pooling of information and resources, to promote access to appropriate provision for pupils with disabilities. Our SEN Support Services (SENSS) are instrumental in forging these links.

Access to the school day, to the extended curriculum and short breaks

The normal school day is determined by the school governors and the headteacher and as far as possible all children should be enabled to have access to that full provision.An extended school is one that aims to meet the wider needs of children, young people, their families and the local community by providing a range of activities and services in addition to the taught curriculum, often beyond the school day. The equality duties apply to the extended curriculum.

b.)      Access to the environment

Investment to improve the accessibility of our schools has been sustained at varying levels over the course of two decades. In previous years priority work focused on the physical access to central facilities and teaching accommodation as well as the provision of any specialist facilities such as toilets. The initial strategy developed a range of barrier free mainstream schools in each locality across South Gloucestershire and targeted investment in our special schools and specialist resource bases. Many of our schools now have a high level of accessibility. Schools will continue to be responsible for any adaptations required to comply with requirements of the Equality Act 2010 for the community hire of their premises  As a minimum, the adaptations should meet the requirements of Part M of the Building Regulations and the British Standard ‘code of practice’ BS8300.  All schools should complete an annual self-audit questionnaire designed to assess the current accessibility of their premises.

A capital budget continues to be available to help secure minor access improvements to existing provision and these are often secured in conjunction with other priority works on school site resulting in an overall cost benefit. The council’s capital programme includes the provision of new schools and additional accommodation all of which comply with the legislative and regulative framework governing the accessibility of school buildings. Designs are also developed in consultation with specialists to ensure that all facilities are fully inclusive learning environments. The current capital programme is supporting significant investment in our special schools as determined by the council’s SEN Places Strategy.

The council is committed to developing a range of provision and recognises that investment in buildings supports improved access to a full curriculum for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities.

Definition of basic accessibility

The minimum requirements for accessible provision in all schools are set out in the DfE publication Building Bulletin 102 ‘Designing for disabled children and children with special educational needs’ and Building Bulletin 93 ‘Acoustic design for schools’. These bulletins set out in more detail the requirements for each phase of education provision but the general principles for this are:

  • circulation routes as a basic requirement for accessibility
  • sufficient accessible toilet provision to meet the needs of pupils with disabilities with a minimum of one centrally situated accessible toilet and changing provision
  • access to specialist areas: PE (sports hall), science laboratory, D&T, ICT and any other unique specialist facility provided at that school
  • access to general classrooms to be sufficient to timetable the curriculum. This may mean considering the management of space rather than adapting space to fit in with previously established practice, for example, using general teaching space for different subjects from one academic year to the next or for pupils in a different year group to fit in with the requirements of the individual with the disability
  • access to a quiet area or small group room
  • access to recreation areas, sports fields and social spaces
  • access to extended school facilities.