SEND improvements benefit children and families

Improvements in the way SEND services are delivered across Somerset are already bringing benefits to children, young people and families, Somerset’s latest Health and Wellbeing Board heard.

Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group and Somerset County Council are working closely together and investing heavily in their shared commitment to improve the lives of children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) in Somerset.

The Board heard last Thursday (18 March) how understanding children’s and families’ ‘lived SEND experience’ is at the heart of improvement work and decisions made.

Through more parents and young people getting involved to help shape services, families are able to see how their feedback is influencing SEND improvements – and decision-makers are gaining greater understanding of what’s important to them.

The Board heard how early progress has seen the following key improvements:

· Increasing the capacity of the SEND Casework Team and the SENDIAS (Special Educational Needs and Disability Information, Advice and Support) to ensure education, health and care plans are produced in a timely manner.

· More parents and children are signing up to help in the design of improved services

· Relaunch of Early Help Processes in Schools which ensures families and schools know where and how they can access the right support to need their SEND needs.

· Launched a pilot app called ‘MeeTwo’, which provides peer support for young people experiencing mental health difficulties.

· Mental Health support teams are now working in pilot areas across Somerset to support schools and pupils with emotional health and wellbeing as part of a Mental Health Trail Blazer project.

James Rimmer, Chief Executive, NHS Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group said: “When we developed the written statement of action for Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities (SEND), we made a promise to the children, young people and families of Somerset that we would do more to listen, engage and involve them in helping to shape services which make a difference. It is important that the work we do, and the decisions we make have their ‘lived experiences’ at the very core. This report demonstrates the positive steps already taken and shows the commitment of all involved to continue this journey of improvement.”

Cllr Frances Nicholson, Lead Member for Children’s Services at Somerset County Council, said: “We and our Health partners are working more closely than ever with children, young people and their families, and investing heavily to improve our services for all children and young people with Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities (SEND) in Somerset. We want them to be happy, healthy, and prepared for adulthood, with fairer life chances and opportunities. Somerset’s Health and Wellbeing Board clearly heard how this joint commitment and determination is already leading to rapid early improvements for children, and lots more will be done over the coming months.”

For more information and advice about Somerset SEND services, from what local support is available to education or childcare – or to share your feedback on your experiences – please visit the Local Offer website at or email

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