‘Making it Better Together’ for Special Educational Needs and Disabilities

A dynamic event centring on support in Somerset for young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEN&D) welcomed over 150 delegates in Taunton today (29 September).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe ‘Making it Better Together’ conference, coordinated by Somerset County Council, brought together young people, parent carers and public sector staff supporting children and young people with SEN&D. These included senior Council managers from education, health and social care, elected members, NHS representatives, Somerset Parent Carer Forum and the Department for Education.

Reforms in the way children and young people with SEN&D receive support were introduced as part of the Children and Families Act last autumn, and aim to introduce more choice and control.

Among the ways this is being achieved, is through supporting children aged 0-25 to achieve their aspirations, planning for the future, and preparing them for transitions and adulthood.

A year on, today’s event looked at what has already taken place and plans for the future to meet the requirements of the Act.

The reforms also mandate a commitment between public sector partners, such as the NHS, Children’s and Adults’ Services, to work with parent carers and young people to design, plan and commission services.

SEND puzzle piecesCllr Frances Nicholson, Cabinet Member for Children and Families at Somerset County Council, attended the conference. “I’d like to thank everyone who attended this conference today, and for contributing to its success,” she said.

“This event captured the spirit of the work which has been on-going since last autumn to support children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities. The team has forged a strong relationship with the young people and parent carers, and we look forward to continuing this close working relationship for the benefit of Somerset’s children.”

Jemma Lang, Engagement and Participation Officer at Somerset County Council said: “Today has been such an inspiring day, and a great way to promote the work we are doing in Somerset to ensure the children and young people with SEN&D have their voices heard.

“We are hosting meet and greet events across Somerset this October and want to invite young people aged 13-25 with SEN&D to come along so that we can make things better together.”

If you are or know a young person interested in attending these events, please book your place for one of the following dates by Friday 9 October:
• Monday 26 October: 10am to 1pm, Frome YMCA, 16 Bath Street, Frome, BA11 1DN
• Tuesday 27 October: 11am to 2pm, George Williams House, Fiarn Avenue, Bridgwater, TA6 3RF
• Thursday 29 October, 11am to 2pm, Reckleford Children’s Centre, Eastland Road, Yeovil, BA21 4ET
• Friday 30 October, 11am to 2pm, SCIL Cheddon Road, Taunton, Somerset, TA2 7QP.

Children and young people need to be able to manage under group supervision or will need to bring a parent carer or guardian for extra support.

To register your place phone Jemma on 01823 359868 or 07469 413359, or email jxlang@somerset.gov.uk