Foreword from Kirsten Harrison, Director of Education
We are delighted to engage with you prior to the completion and launch of Gloucestershire’s Inclusion and Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) strategies 2022-2025.
We are engaging with everyone until May 4 2022 and will consider your feedback in final versions towards the end of the month. We have shared the links to the respective draft strategies and look forward to your feedback.
In Gloucestershire we have achieved positive and impactful work to date to enable children to have an Inclusive Education, meet the needs of children with SEND, and enable communities to meet the range of needs of Children and Families in Gloucestershire.
This has been through effective partnership working and collaboration to deliver against the Joint Additional Needs Strategy.
We know there is more to do. These strategies are the next step on and will further build our partnerships, take learning from areas of continued development, and build on areas of strength.
These strategies have built on the work from the Joint Additional Needs Strategy which was developed collaboratively with parents, young people and health and social care partners. We have the shared vision and priorities to continue our journey to enable children to live remarkable lives and keep children at the heart of what we do.
These are timely, as we start to emerge from a global pandemic that has had an unprecedented impact on all our children and young people, and particularly the most vulnerable.
Nationally and locally, we have seen the impact for children that have missed the developmental benefits provided by timely and available Education, Health and Social Care assessment and provision.
The early life, early identification, and early intervention support from multi agency services that support children and families was limited due to the pandemic. This coupled with parental confidence to use services that were available, and the current economic position has created a complex landscape of need for Gloucestershire to respond to.
An example is the socialisation and learning that children benefit from in attending early years’ settings. Due to the restrictions placed on all of us by the pandemic we have seen increasing needs of children in the early years stages of their lives with significant gaps in speech and language development, impacting on the preparation for school and wider community participation
that we have previously perhaps taken for granted.
The lost learning and opportunities being part of a cohesive community for children and young people in our primary, secondary, special post-16 and colleges is also challenging, but again not as much as the loss of structure, socialisation, and personal development that education and community access provides for our young people.
Education is also a protective factor for many of our most vulnerable children; a place that isn’t just focussed on learning but providing holistic support for their well-being and personal development.
Consequently, we are seeing a rising number of vulnerable children and young people that need support across Education, Social Care, Health and the community and voluntary sector.
This rise builds on the increased demand we have across Gloucestershire of children and families needing early support, interventions that have a meaningful impact from all services and a rise across all areas for statutory assessment and plans.
The two strategies we share with you here have been produced together, to ensure that we take a joined-up approach to address this rising level of need in all settings. They share common goals to ensure that:
- Locally we grow together and work collaboratively in a structured way with a shared vision that works in the best interests of children and young people
- Local funding is supporting earlier identification and intervention and that we address barriers that prevent access to earlier intervention
- Local specialist support is of high quality and available when its needed
We are proud of the work that our services and teams undertake to support the children and young people in Gloucestershire. We believe that the vision and priorities that are set out in the strategies focuses our work on enabling children, young people, and their families to be able to access the information and the support they need to thrive.
We welcome and value your feedback.