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SEND 0-25 Service Newsletter (November 2019)

7th November 2019

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

The Service intends to produce this brief Newsletter every month and it will be published on the SEND Local Offer.

The intention is to provide prompt, clear information about service changes and development and to highlight National information about SEND.


The SEND Review

Five years on from the Children and Families Act the government has announced the launch of a review of SEND. The review will look at the how the system has evolved over time, how it can be developed to work best for all families and ensure quality of provision is consistent across the country. it will also explore the role of health care in SEND in collaboration with the Department of Health and Social Care.

Extension of national Trial to extend powers of SEND tribunal to 31 August 2020

In April 2018, the Department for Education began a national Trial to extend the powers of the SEND Tribunal to hear appeals, and make decisions about, health and social care aspects of Education, Health and Care plans. The Trial was due to end on 31 March 2020. The Department is extending the Trial until 31 August 2020.


Staffing Headlines


 In acknowledgement of the need to hasten progress within the SEND Service a Specialist Consultant, David Graham has been recruited on an interim basis until the end of March 20120. David is already making a difference in the service and he will be available to meet with parents at the Parent Carer Forum Coffee morning on 15th November 2019 at the Renewal centre.


The StART Team Manager Liz Egginton has now left the service. Thank you to those parents who expressed their appreciation for the work Liz has done on behalf of children and young people with SEND in Solihull over the past 2 + years. I know that she very much appreciated the kind messages she received before she left.

A recruitment process to fill this post is underway and, in the meantime, Interim Team manager Paul Crulley has been recruited. Paul will be joining me at the Parent Carer Forum coffee morning on 6th December 2019, also at the Renewal Centre.

Administrative Support

Recruitment to the StART administrative roles is underway and we are pleased to report that two new staff will be joining us by the end of November 2019 with a further three vacancies out for recruitment. This will enable significant support with the EHCP process.

Communication in the StART Team

Communication is critical and we recognise that we have not been getting this right for Parent / carers who were finding it challenging at times to get through to the StART Team. A daily duty system has been set up to improve communication. There is now a Plan Coordinator available every day to take calls and answer queries about Education Health and Care plans, that cannot wait for a response from the usual Plan Coordinator.

If the Duty worker is already taking a call when you ring, you SHOULD receive a call back that day if you leave your contact details.

It is early days but initial signs and feedback are that whilst there is still room for improvement, communication is improving.

Parent Carer Forum

I meet regularly with the Chair of the PCF Sue Hawthorne Slater. Between us, and with the support of the wider Parent / Carer group, we do our very best to answer queries and concerns from parent / carers and to work together in respect of the development of services for young people with SEND in Solihull.

Please support your Parent Carer Forum and, if you have not done so already, join in and make sure the voice of parent carers is heard across Solihull.

The annual Parent / carer survey has just been published in relation to EHC Plans. Please take a few minutes to complete this as the information that you provide helps to shape further developments.


I do my best to regularly get to PCF and North Parents support group coffee mornings, to meet with parent carers and young people and to respond to any queries or concerns. I am really happy to attend other coffee mornings or support groups where this would be helpful and also to bring other colleagues along to share SEND related matters.

Please let me know if this would be helpful.

Until December!

Kind regards

Ann Lowe
Head of Service
SEND 0-25