All posts in “Partnerships”

Overhaul of how the needs of children with special educational needs (SEN) are assessed and met

This year and next new reforms will overhaul how the needs of children with special educational needs (SEN) are assessed and met.

This December the new Additional Learning needs Bill was presented to the Welsh Assembly and pass through several stages before becoming Law next Autumn. This will begin several years of replacing SEN statements with Individual Development Plans. Changes to assessment are designed to place the child and their family at the centre of consultations with Schools and  local authorities (LAs)and make the whole process more integrated, collaborative which should facilitate early, timely and effective support

A fair and transparent system of resolving concerns

Many families have concerns that LAs as pre-destined to deny families the provision they want or feel their child needs, and cast statutory assessment as a fight of David versus Goliath proportions. Perhaps inevitably, battle-lines get drawn in some minds before they even approach the LA.  The new process will hopefully change this ‘fight’.

SNAP Cymru has always provided measured guidance for parents who are dissatisfied with school or LA’s responses and our intention has always been to help families avoid the prospect of legal action or costly, stressful disputes over what ought to be a collaborative process between families and professionals based on the best interest of the child.

The new Bill and code of practice (which will follow next Spring/summer), suggests a move away from the widespread default model.  It emphasises the significance of “high quality teaching” and high aspirations for children as part of a ‘transformation programme’ and workforce development. http://gov.wales/topics/educationandskills/schoolshome/pupilsupport/additoinal-learning-needs-reform/?lang=en

When the English reforms took place from 2014 onward, and statements were changed to Education and Health Care plans the English government announced a £30m scheme to train “independent supporters to assist parents through the SEN process and their request for an EHCP. No such money on the horizon here just innovation funding for LA’s to plan for the process.

The Welsh Government Law will describe a fair and transparent system for providing information and advice, and for resolving disagreements, although there are concerns that Local Authorities may take this opportunity to reject independent support and advice preferring to take services ‘in -house’ as happened in Pembrokeshire.  Whilst these service are informative (many appoint ex SNAP Cymru  staff)  it can never offer a reliable  independent perspective.

For the time being, local authorities and all those who work with children and young people with SEN, must ensure that they continue to comply with the duties placed upon them by the Education Act 1996. They must also continue to have regard to the SEN Code of Practice for Wales, (The SEN Code of Practice can be accessed on our website) and must continue to accept requests for Statutory assessments  and write and maintain Statements of Special Educational Needs.

You could help shape this Bill

SNAP Cymru will be supporting the Welsh Government Children, Young People and Education Committee to ‘hear’ parent’s voices to assist them with the scrutiny of the Bill.  If you are a parent of a child with SEN,  informed about the reform so far, passionate and have a real interest in sharing your perspective with the AMs on this committee – give us a call or send us an email- we may be able to offer you place to have your views heard.

You can also contact your local AM who can feed your views into the process.

If you’ve received a great service from SNAP Cymru and are concerned about the potential loss of Independent support and Parent partnership from the Bill and COP or the way in which this could be weakened- let your AMs know.

There is an exciting time ahead for SEN,  moving from one system to another and replacing statements with IDPs could be great news, but it also has the potential to cause anxiety for lots of parents.  SNAP Cymru is here to support family concerns through this process.  If you are worried or have any questions, please contact us through our helpline 0845 1203730 helpline @snapcymru.org or directly to training@snapcymru.org or 01554778288.

 

 

The SNAP Cymru & Merthyr Tydfil AmberGreen Inclusion Scheme

Children and families judge their inclusion far more on the warmth of welcome than on whether all the ramps and handrails are in place. Inclusion is about valuing all individuals, giving equal access and opportunity for all and removing discrimination and other barriers to participation. To be included is to belong and that’s exactly what Merthyr Tydfil and SNAP Cymru want to encourage through their new Amber Green project.

We are really pleased to be working with Merthyr Tydfil LA to roll out this exciting new scheme which recognises and helps develop inclusive practice across Merthyr.

The scheme developed with Welsh Government Family First funding offers a structured approach for organisations to develop, and evidence their inclusive practice with the aim of providing choice and equal opportunity for all children, young people and families across Merthyr Tydfil…… irrespective of their additional learning need.  Signing up to the AmberGreen Inclusion Scheme:

  • Demonstrates an organisation’s determination to deliver inclusive activities
  • Provides a checklist for organisations to consider their own practice
  • Can be used as a development tool for advisers and those supporting settings
  • Be a guide for parents, children and young people seeking a welcoming inclusive setting
  • Be a measure for professionals seeking appropriate inclusive placements

 “The single most important factor in a successful inclusive setting is a ‘can do’ attitude. Positive expectations, flexibility and a commitment to accessibility and inclusion underpins high quality services.” ESTYN

The AmberGreen Inclusion Scheme takes the social model of disability as its starting point, builds on existing good practice, and then offers a structured approach which  guides each setting through the stages of preparation, development and review. The process of working with the scheme is itself designed to contribute to the inclusive development of settings.

The AmberGreen Inclusion Scheme is twofold:

Amber Award – Get Ready

Supports and evidences that a setting is reviewing their  current practice and are working towards becoming fully inclusive

Green Award – Go

Supports and evidences active Inclusion for all

Once an organisation has ‘signed up’, the Inclusion Development Officer will meet with them, agree any support and offer a range of training sessions to support your progress.  There are no timescales in which to complete the checklist and each organisation may require different levels of support at different times. Following a process of review, the setting and the Inclusion Officer will determine your level of award.

The project has many benefits, not least that it helps settings

  • promote a positive image of disability and equality
  • Demonstrate to Inspectors, such as ESTYN and CSSIW, that you treat all children with respect and equal concern
  • Ensure each individual child or young person’s needs are planned for and provided for
  • Improve their reputation
  • be more responsive to the community you serve

Benefits for children and young people are also tangible:

  • Children and young people with disabilities educated in inclusive settings have significantly better outcomes. They enjoy a better quality of life, including a sense of belonging, better social connections, increased community involvement, and greater earning potential.
  • All children and young people benefit from inclusion, everyone does better educationally and socially when attention is focussed on how best to meet the needs of all children.
  • Including children with additional needs is a major contributor to tackling discrimination. Inclusive education embraces the concept of equality of opportunity for all children.

 “We moved our son here because they are different; they see our son for the whole child he is.”

Lots of different organisations have signed up so far, nursery and early years settings, youth services and even dental practices , the one thing they have in common is that they want to demonstrate how inclusive and welcoming they are and each one belives that all children and young people should have access to good quality services in their own communities.  What’s not to like.  If you are interested in learning more about the scheme and how to join please contact Teresa.bradley@snapcymru.org

Inclusive Play training proves to be a great success

SNAP Cymru, in partnership with Groundwork Wales Sustainable Play Programme, have been delivering free training on Inclusive Play as part of the Welsh Government Children’s and Families Delivery Grant.

Inclusive play is primarily about all children and young people having equal access to – and equal participation in – local play, childcare and leisure opportunities. Having choice and the right to choose freely.

 “Play is a vital part of a child’s upbringing and development which benefits   their health, happiness and well-being. I am very proud the Welsh Government took the lead on this issue, making Wales the first nation in the UK to legislate on play.’’

Lesley Griffiths AM, Minister for Communities and Tackling Poverty

However, despite the range of legislation and guidance supporting the child’s right to play and to be included, disabled children still face many barriers, both social and environmental. Environmental barriers that exclude children with impairments, such as uneven surfaces and narrow gates, can easily be changed. Social barriers such as fear, embarrassment and lack of confidence amongst providers also need to be tackled so that an accessible play space is also an inclusive one in which disabled children and their families feel welcome.

To support sustainable and inclusive play opportunities, the  Welsh Government have provided a Children’s and Families Delivery grant to SNAP Cymru in Partnership with Groundwork to increase the accessibility and quality of children’s outdoor play opportunities in areas of high deprivation. Over 11,500 children are expected to be involved in the programme’s play activities delivered by Groundwork, with SNAP Cymru providing specialist support and training to widen participation and access for all.

Everyone regardless of background, age, gender, ability should have the same opportunities in life to explore and achieve. To support this ethos we believe in the social model of disability. In other words, disability is a socially created problem and it is up to all of us to make the environmental and attitudinal changes necessary to allow for the full participation of people with disabilities in all areas of social life.  SNAP Cymru’s intention throughout the project has been to support play providers across Wales to consider the ways in which we all think about disability and impairment and how this can colour our decision making. We hope providers will see that they can develop a wide range of activities for children with different needs.

Last year we delivered 30 courses across Wales in twelve different counties and we will be delivering another 60 over the next two years. As well as delivering to different Local Authority play development teams, we have provided several sessions for PACEY for their registered Childminders and Early Years Providers across Wales, the GISDA Rhieni Ifanc project for young single parents in Gwynedd, other private nurseries and we are now forming a partnership with Cardiff City FC Foundation for staff and volunteer training for their inclusive football sessions.

We have been thrilled with the responses we have received so far. Here’s some feedback from participants:

“My outlook towards disability now completely different”

“The course has dramatically changed my approach to working with people with disabilities”, “I can now think of lots of different activities for children of all different abilities”

“Will now assess my own anxieties in regard to risk taking to allow a more healthy and inclusive approach”

“One of the activities was the most powerful activities I’ve ever taken part in – fantastic way to show importance of listening to families and & multi-agency communication”

We have three different courses we are running – ‘Disability Awareness’ (which can be accredited by Agored Cymru), ‘Healthy Risk Taking’ and ‘All Children Can Play’ – see our training page for further details on each.

The courses are free and can be delivered across Wales in both Welsh and English. They are particularly suited to new rather than experienced play workers and the courses can be adapted for all settings and age groups.

Please contact us at training@snapcymru.org or call 01554 778288 to book a course. Places are filling up fast and are limited, so contact us as soon as possible in order to secure sessions for your play workers.

Additional Learning Needs Parent Information Sessions

SNAP Cymru in partnership with the Additional Learning Needs Transformation Leads for South East Wales, South West & Mid Wales and North Wales are delivering a series of information events for parents intended to help families understand how the new system that supports children and young people with Additional Learning Needs will work. The events are being held at the locations below and can be booked by contacting Amanda 07587 187 430 or amanda.daniels@snapcymru.org

Or book on:  South West & Mid Wales    Eventbrite               

South East Wales and North Wales  Eventbrite 

Carmarthen

Wed 21st November 2018

10.00 – 1.00 p.m.

Outdoor Bowling Club

St. Peters

Carmarthen

SA31 1QP

 

Neath Port Talbot

Fri 23rd Nov

1.30 – 3.30

Owain Glyndwr Community Ctr

Waunceirch

Neath,   SA10 7BZ

 

 

Torfaen

Tues 27th Nov

11.00 – 2.00

Brecon House

4a William Brown Cl

Cwmbran

NP44 3AB

 

Swansea

Wed 28th November

10.00 – 1.00

ITEC

250 Carmarthen Road

SWANSEA

SA1 1HG

 

Newport

Thurs 29thth Nov

11.00 – 2.00

Leisure Centre

1 Kingsway

Newport

NP20 1UH

 

Swansea

Fri 30th Nov

10.00 – 1.00

ITEC

250 Carmarthen Road

SWANSEA

SA1 1HG

 

 

Conwy

Wed 5th Dec

10.00 – 11.30pm

Clwyd Suite

Parc Eirias, Eirias Rd

Bae Colwyn/Colwyn Bay

LL29 7SP

 

Conwy

Wed  5 Dec

2.00 – 3.30

Towyn Community Centre

Ty’n y Coed, Towyn Road,

Towyn

LL22 9ES

Denbighshire

Thurs 6th Dec

3.00 – 4.30

Willow Room

Oak Tree Centre

Ffordd Las

Rhyl LL18 2DY

Denbighshire

Thurs 6th Dec

10.00 -11.30

Eirianfa Community Centre

Factory Place

Dinbych/Denbigh

LL16 3TS

 

Powys (1)

Mon 10th Dec

10.0  – 1.00

Media Resource Centre

Oxford Rd

Llandrindod Wells

LD1 6AH

 

Powys (2)

Mon 11th Dec

10.0  – 1.00

COWSHACC

Olford Lane

Welshpool

 

 

Ceredigion

Wed 12th Dec

10.30 – 1.30

Y Ganolfan Integredig

Boulevard de Saint-Brieuc

Aberystwyth

Ceredigion

SY23 1PD

 

Caerphilly

Wed 12th Dec

11.00 – 2.00

Bryn Meadows

Ystrad Mynach,

Caerphilly

CF82 7SN

 

For further information or to confirm your attendance at one of the parent events opposite, please contact Amanda Daniels on:

07587 187 430 or amanda.daniels@snapcymru.org

 

Working with disabled young children and their families in Anglesey

Finding out your child has a disability or medical condition can be difficult and bewildering. Parents of disabled children need support, information and advice as early as possible.  Obviously all families are different, so at SNAP Cymru we provide a range of support for families through our Parent Partnership and Dispute Resolution services and also more directly with families through our Welsh Government  Family First funded projects. One such service is our Sir Fôn Portage service which essentially provides an opportunity for children to develop through play – a service which gets a big thumbs-up from most parents

What does a Portage Home Visitor do?

Our Anglesey Portage workers Sian and Sandra offer key-working support for parents with young children from 0 to starting school age who have an emerging diagnosis of disability or severe and complex medical condition in order to promote better understanding and access to all the available services to families. They also provide regular support in the home to parents/carers of children from 18 months to 3 &1/2 who have a moderate developmental delay utilising the Portage model. Central to this approach is empowering families so they can help their child develop.

Our portage workers visits families regularly at home to offer help, advice, and guidance and give practical suggestions about what families can do to help their child. The help offered will vary according to a child’s needs, but things like, toilet-training and bedtime routines; information about what extra help is available (Family Fund, DLA etc) arranging a place for summer play scheme etc. Sian and Sandra use play to support children’s development, give family members ideas for activities they could try with their child at home, including support for parents to introduce their child to a range of sensory play and messy play experiences.

The service is not just for children with special educational needs – it can help any child who needs help with developmental issues. Our portage workers will help assess what the child can do across all areas of development and decide with the parent or carer on some long term targets broken down into small step activities

SNAP Works closely with other professionals helping the child or family and sometimes makes joint visits with other professionals involved with the child.

For example; our Portage worker was able to form a close relationship with a family during weekly visits. As a result, the parents were assisted to keep on top of appointments and sessions were delivered for the parent and little girl, as she had missed so many of her nursery sessions. Our portage worker also came up with a very effective but simple solutions to help the parents continue attending the child’s appointments; a pin board and bright coloured post-it notes. This particular child has speech and language difficulties and although our Portage worker is currently using a visual materials symbols for instructions the long term goal is still to develop the child’s ability to speak.

In addition, the child has been re-referred to speech therapy and appointments with a Community Paediatrician and Community Dental Practice have been re-arranged. By arranging a transfer to a school within the family’s catchment area, her attendance at nursery has improved.  A crucial relationship was formed through working with the Nursery’s with the SEN Early Years Co-ordinator, pre-school Education Psychologist and with Uned ABC and concerns about the little girl language development were shared.

SNAP’s relationship with Barnado’s locally allowed us to provide support during an initial meeting regarding Mindfulness sessions focusing on depression and anger issues.

In addition in order to address the Mum’s low self-esteem a volunteer with SNAP Cymru met up with the mother to research opportunities for returning to further education or finding employment.  Mum think the “service is brilliant!”

The International Dimension – Cardiff Council and SNAP Cymru Collaboration

Cardiff Council, SNAP Cymru and a group of schools are delighted to announce that we have been successful in achieving European Funding for a Family and Community Engagement project where we will be working collaboratively with colleagues in Warsaw, Poland and Ferrol, Spain.

As a result of the advice and support schools have received from Cardiff Council over recent years participation in the International Dimension has grown significantly.   Cardiff Council now has its own International School Linking Officer supporting schools across the Central South and South East Consortia.  Together with partners from all over the world they have seen the development of teachers and young learners as global citizens and work completed has impacted on standards and engagement across our schools.  They have welcomed guests from across the world, enriching the classroom experience for our young learners and teachers.  Staff have benefited from CPD opportunities and have visited partners in very many countries sharing good practice and bringing new and exciting approaches to teaching and learning into our schools.

In 2013 Cardiff Council, SNAP Cymru and a number of schools across Cardiff embarked upon a 2 year project with partners in Nuremberg, Germany which looked at shared understandings of inclusive teaching and learning.

We are working together to:

  • develop modules for common learning processes focusing on standards
  • share materials and approaches to working in partnership with families
  • create activities to further develop teachers’ training

Both regions have different levels of development in inclusive practice. So we are learning from each other in addition to developing common strategies, concepts and modules.

Family and Community Engagement.

Following on from the success of this project Cardiff Council, SNAP Cymru and a new group of schools applied for funding from Europe to look at Family and Community Engagement.  We are delighted to announce that we have been successful in our application and between now and 2016 will be working collaboratively with colleagues in Warsaw, Poland and Ferrol, Spain.

In line with European priorities we will be working together to identify strategies for improving the attainment of young people, particularly those at risk of early school leaving and with low basic skills (migrant pupils and disadvantaged pupils). We aim to achieve a greater understanding and responsiveness to social, linguistic and cultural diversity and encourage our families to become more active in society.  We have seen a huge increase in the number of ethnic minority groups in our regions.  Many of those families have little or no experience of education and the importance in education for their children.  This growing demographic is coupled with a growth in the number of disengaged families amongst our indigenous population.  All regions involved in this project have already begun looking at how we can engage with families and ultimately their young learners in education but we recognise that more needs to be done.   We have planned a project through which we can work together with partners from varying regions pooling our resources and ideas to so we can engage more successfully with families and their children who are harder to reach.  Through collaborative working, teacher training, accredited training opportunities for parents and developing student voice we believe we can work together to improve aspiration and engagement.