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Letter from Liz Mills, assistant director schools and learning

Re: EHCP improvement workshop - thanks for your participation I just wanted to thank the parents and carers who joined us and a range of our partners, including head teachers, SENCOs and health colleagues, for a workshop aimed at improving the experience of families during assessments for Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs). The two-day workshop (24-25 January) was very constructive and enabled us to come out at the end with a tangible plan.

The atmosphere was brilliant, with families and colleagues from across different professions contributing enthusiastically to honest and challenging conversations. It is very important that practitioners can have these exchanges of views with parents and carers, who are the experts on their children and young people. By building relationships in this way we can all gain valuable insights and achieve better results for our children and young people.

The workshop also highlighted how much we have to do to build trust between professionals so that we work together as one team to improve outcomes. So thank you for your involvement, and I look forward to similar opportunities in future for such events.

While on the subject of EHCPs, which have not always been of the standard and consistency that we would have liked, I'd just like quickly to highlight some of the work going on to address areas of concern. A team of colleagues led by Julie Stockdale, Strategic Lead for SEND, has been reviewing nearly 90 cases of children with complex needs who have EHCPs and were awaiting school placements. In addition, the SEND area teams have analysed all outstanding EHCPs and cleared a large proportion of the backlog of plans, with the others expected to be completed shortly. I am pleased to say we are starting to make progress in the time taken to complete new EHCP assessments, although there is more to do.

Finally, work is well under way on the SEND Written Statement of Action that we have to submit to Ofsted and the CQC (Care Quality Commission). This is a result of the inspection of our SEND services last October, and will set out the additional focused activity required to increase the pace and scale of our progress so far. More on that over the coming weeks.

Please do contact us if you would be interested in participating in any future engagement events relating to SEND services.

Best wishes

Liz Mills

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