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SEND 0-25 Service Newsletter (February 2020)

14th February 2020

Welcome to the February edition of the SMBC Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) newsletter.



The SEND Strategy review is underway and two work shops are planned to involve key partners in this process;

25th February 2020 10am – 2pm (Parent / Carers)

27th February 2020 9.30am – 4.30pm (Professionals)

Further details will follow ASAP.


REMINDER – Parent / Carer, ‘Drop ins’

The purpose of this drop in is for parent / carers to be able to come in and talk to me and / or other managers about any concerns or issues they have with the EHCP process. I have arranged the following sessions:

4th March 2020 12.30-2pm Council House
23rd March 2020 10am – 2pm Elmwood Place
21st April 2020 10am – 2pm Council House
14th May 2020 10am – 2pm Elmwood Place

At each venue, please go to reception and ask to speak to Ann Lowe. My extension number is 2372. I will then come down and see how I can help.



SEND 0-25 Service

Interviews have taken place for the Assistant Director for Inclusion and Alternative Provision. The Solihull Parent Carer forum was involved in the interview process as were other key partners. I am pleased to announce that an appointment has been made. Details will follow ASAP.


Unfortunately it was not possible to recruit to the StART Team Manager post when interviews took place on 10th January 2020. The vacancy is being re advertised and the current Interim Team Manager Paul Crulley will remain with us for now.

I am also sorry to announce that one of our senior plan coordinators, Bianca Sankey, will be leaving us at the end of February 2020. Bianca has been an asset to the team and we will be sorry to lose her but she has been fortunate in securing a promotion within another authority. All our best wishes go with her. Interim arrangements will be made to cover the vacancy whilst recruitment to this post takes place.


Communication with the StART Team

Evidence suggests that whilst there is still room for further improvement, communication is better than it was and complaints about communication have reduced over the last quarter.

Plan Coordinators are now scheduling ‘co production’ meetings at an earlier stage of the 20 week process, to ensure proper co production of plans and therefore a better quality, ‘draft’ EHCP that takes less time to finalise.

The Team is also developing, ‘Way forward’ meetings (You will hear more about these soon) the intention is, that if there is a, ‘No to assess, or No to an EHCP’ decision made at panel, parents will be offered a meeting with appropriate professionals. This, ‘Way forward’ meeting will clarify why the decision was no and detail what action should be taken by the school, other professionals and parents as an alternative. Of course, challenge through Tribunal remains an option, but we hope that, ‘Way forward’ meetings will provide a clearer explanation and an alternative course of action that will reassure parents their child’s / young persons needs can be met without an EHCP.


Good News!

The timescales for completion of EHCP’s have required improvement for some time. Greater capacity in the service has enabled us to focus on this and new processes are in place to influence the progress of 20 weeks. The chart below shows that 83% compliance was achieved for December 2020. The January data is currently being finalised and this will show similar compliance. Whilst we cannot guarantee compliance in the 80% + every month, I DO expect the team to be achieving in line with England / Statistical neighbours.

The service knows that whilst improved timeliness is good, quality of plans is equally as important and work is also underway supporting this.


Parent Carer Forum

I have continued to meet regularly with the Chair of the PCF Sue Hawthorne Slater, attend coffee mornings and PCF meetings.

PCF has supported with the beginning of the SEND Strategy review and they are also currently helping us to look at the EHCP format to see if we can make it clearer and more child focussed.

The PCF AGM is taking place on Thursday 27th February 2020 at the Renewal Family Centre; Vulcan Road, Solihull B91 2JR (Behind the Renewal Church building) Arrival is 6.30pm for a 7pm start. Please come along and support the PCF who will be electing the Chair and committee for the next twelve months.

The next PCF Coffee morning is on 6th March 2020 9.30am – 11.30am, again at the Renewal Family Centre (Address above) please come along if you can.


Specialist Inclusion and Support Service (SISS)

The SISS Annual Report 2018 / 2019 has been finalised.

Detailed reports for each individual team, including impact of work completed and key areas for development are available on the Local Offer


Educational Psychology

In addition to the statutory provision to the EHC plan process, 70% of schools are trading with the Solihull Community Educational Psychology Service (Year 1) the service is currently going out to schools the traded offer for April 2020.  This enables the service to determine what the take up of their service by schools will be and plan service delivery for the next twelve months.


High Needs SEMH Team

This new non traded service is a joint SISS / CEPS venture that provides fast response support for young people with High Needs SEMH who are at risk of exclusion. It is still early days in terms of evaluation but current feedback suggests that certainly four young people have been stabilised within their current school placement following intervention from the team.



Let’s hope we can look forward to some better weather as spring approaches! After storm, ‘Ciara’ at the weekend, the rain is lashing down against the office window and I am hoping that sunshine is not too far away!

Kind regards

Ann Lowe
Head of Service
SEND 0-25