You said, we did
We publish your comments about the special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) local offer.
You can see:
- feedback about the SEND local offer website
- feedback from young people including videos and projects
- what people say about our services for children and young people with SEND aged 0 to 25
- the action we've taken based on your comments
We are always happy to hear your comments or ideas for improvement.
Get in touch with the Buckinghamshire Family Information Service and tell us what you think.
Your annual feedback summary
Your feedback from 2022
You said: Neurodivergent young people in the CAMHS Article 12 forum reviewed the Dynamic Support Pathways threshold tool and proposed a series of changes.
We did: The Dynamic Support Team incorporated the changes into a new version of the threshold tool. This is now a working document that is pending review by commissioners.
You said: That the Autism Toolbox video puzzle piece is disliked and rejected this is within the Neuro divergent community.
With most preferring the use of a gold or rainbow coloured infinity symbol.
Even most of the large charities have stepped away from the puzzle piece due to its connection with the view that Neurodivergent is not broken and doesn’t need fixing.
SEND Local Offer Group parent
We did: Updated the Autism Toolbox promotion video removed the puzzle piece image and added a rainbow-coloured infinity image instead.
You said: The requirement on your LO page https://familyinfo.buckinghamshire.gov.uk/send/education-and-send/help-education-children-and-young-people-special-educational-needs-or-disabilities-send/education-health-and-care-ehc-plans/ that if a school submits a request for EHC needs assessment then they must have a parental signature. Whilst I agree this is good, desirable practice, it is not a legal requirement and a refusal to accept the request or agree to assess based on lack of parental signature would undoubtedly be ruled unlawful on appeal.
Independent SEND Consultant, SENDCo, National SEND System Leader, and MCCT.
We did: We reviewed the SEND Code of Practice and agreed, and removed the sentence regarding parental consent.
You said: These templates are excellent (VCS) and we should all be championing them within our organisations and with other organisations in our networks. Thanks so much for sharing them with us. Ian, Pace Centre.
We did: Produced best practice guidance for VCS providers following young people’s feedback.
You said: 197 SEND Young People replied to a survey asking them what information they would need to help them attend an activity, run by Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) organisations. You told us the information that you need on service records in our directory to help inform your decision to attend an activity.
We did: We produced best practice guidance based on the young people’s feedback, and an example service template, and sent these to 130 plus VCS providers, 119 already listed in our directory, to encourage them to provide the information that young people need to inform their decision making.
You said: The information on our website does not advise that a signed parental consent form is required for an EHCP needs assessment to proceed.
We did: We have amended the Education, health and care plans (EHCP) webpage to include the fact that parental consent is required for the EHC needs assessment to proceed.
In March 2021, parents and carers of Children and Young People with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities in Buckinghamshire were invited to complete a survey being conducted by FACT Bucks and Buckinghamshire SENDIAS.
The survey received more than 600 responses. The information was collated and reviewed by FACT and SENDIAS. A report arising from the survey, alongside the complete data output was published.
Copies of the report and data have been shared with key colleagues across Education, Health and Social Care as part of the SEND Improvement work.
A year on we have produced a You said, We did based on the feedback following FACT and SENDIAS 2021 Survey because we recognise parents and carers feedback is a vital part of our improvement journey.
You said: That 77% of people asked had never used the Local Offer.
We did: We have a full communications plan in place with lots of different activity to help raise awareness of the Local Offer with families and professionals. We have developed strong links with Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) impact group to promote the Local Offer to VCS providers and encourage them to register on the directory. Survey results have established a baseline of knowledge of VCS services among families. Next, we are looking at pathways to help raise awareness of the Local Offer and VCS providers with families.
Activity to review the published content, identify gaps and create new content has happened. Joint work is underway to ensure changes and new content is created to reflect the offer (for example, post-16 information).
You said: You do not feel that the SEN support plan is enough to meet your child’s needs.
We did: A new initiative targeting SEN Support is the development of a SEND Toolkit, which is intended to offer a ‘one-stop shop’ for teachers and other professionals to access guidance, resources and signposting related to SEN Support.
Ordinarily Available Provision is at the heart of the toolkit; it seeks to build capacity and confidence of school staff in delivering support to children and young people with special needs, without recourse to EHCPs – helping settings to embrace the principles enshrined in the SEND Code of Practice including ‘all teachers are teachers of SEND’.
A variety of training is available related to SEN Support. For instance, training for SENCOs regarding SEN Support practice is part of the free iSEND Training Offer to schools. Regular training is also run by the iSEND Service focussing on how to embed Ordinarily Available Provision within schools and settings.
For Buckinghamshire primary schools, a sub-group of the SEN Support Impact Group is running a trial peer auditing programme, using a nationally recognised self-evaluation tool to assess SEN Support practices at a whole-school level. The trial involves triads of mainstream primary schools undertaking peer audits using the tool (that is, two external staff auditing a third school, and then rotating this process within the triplet), with mentoring support and guidance provided by trained staff from Buckinghamshire Special Schools, who are familiar with the audit tool having used it in their own settings previously.
You said: Parents, carers, and young people were not involved enough within the EHCP process.
We did: Our new Co-production Charter has been signed at the highest level by the Council, the CCG and FACT Bucks, committing each organisation to co-production at every level in relation to developing, delivering, and improving services for children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND).
- Publish and promote the Co-production Charter and pledge on the Local Offer
- Embed a culture of co-production at all levels across Buckinghamshire
- Review and increase the number of co-production meetings that take place with families as part of the EHC planning process
You said: Social care advice with your plans when open to social care, was incorrect.
We Did: Through our quality assurance impact groups, we are working to improve the quality of social care advice in both new EHC plans and those that need updating via an annual review. In February we will be updating the social care advice in Plans, for children currently open to social care through the annual review process.
You said: There was not enough focus on Preparation for Adulthood year 9 onwards.
We Did: We have now updated the Annual Review paperwork, to ensure that Preparation for Adulthood is discussed routinely at all annual reviews from year 9 onwards. We have also updated the EHC plan to include long and short-term aspirations.
We have been working with the Bucks Careers Hub to ensure schools access impartial careers guidance. 16 Buckinghamshire schools have accessed a £1,000 grant to help support them improve in this area.
All special Schools in Buckinghamshire are now part of the Careers Hub. We will be working with them to align careers guidance with the annual reviews to ensure that the young people’s aspirations are part of transition planning post 16.
We are developing a transition document for post 16, which will help families navigate through the different post 16 pathways with the relevant advice and support. The content will also be updated within the Local Offer on this subject.
You said: The quality of EHC plans was not good enough, particularly section B. You also felt that outcomes were not smart.
We Did: We have been working hard to improve the quality of all sections on new EHC Plans. We carry out audits of a sample of Plans every month to check on their quality and make improvements where they are needed. Between May 2021 and December 2021, 74% of plans quality assured were Good or Outstanding.
- We are planning to expand the number of Plans we quality assure to give us further reassurance that quality is improving.
- We are working with professionals across Education, Health and Social Care to improve the quality of the advice that informs the Plans.
- We are implementing a new Annual Review Strategy and part of this includes auditing existing Plans that are updated as part of the Annual Review process. This will help us improve the quality of older Plans.
You said: Waiting lists for Community Paediatrics were too long.
We Did: We recognise that this is a concern for parents. To help reduce these waiting lists we have:
- Developed and agreed an action plan with the service provider to reduce the waiting list for the Community Paediatrician service.
- The service has implemented online or telephone appointments to complement face-to-face delivery. This offer will depend on the needs of your child but allows for easier access to the service and improves the efficiency of clinics.
- Acceptance criteria for the Community Paediatrics have been reviewed and will be communicated to the range of professionals who refer into Community Paediatrics.
You said: 85% of the meetings agreed changes in the EHC plan, but in more than half of those cases (45% of all meetings) the revised EHC plan has not yet been issued.
We Did: We have now drafted an Annual review strategy that aims to ensure EHC Plans are updated within a reasonable timescale following annual reviews. We will take a phased approach to this:
Priority 1 – Vulnerable Groups
Priority 2 – Phase Transfers
Priority 3 – Annual reviews that are over two years out of date
We are working with 3 special schools for children and young people in priority 1 to update and amend their plans to ensure they are of a high quality across Education, Health and Social Care.
You said: Access to children's therapy provision (in particular, for speech and language therapy and occupational therapy) was problematic.
We did: We recognise that this is a significant concern for parents particularly where there is statutory provision in place as part of an EHCP. To improve the access to appropriate therapy provision, we have:
- Undertaken a full review of children’s therapy provision in Buckinghamshire
- Shared the outcome of that review with professional stakeholders within a system-wide workshop
From the recommendations of the review and from discussions with system partners, we have drafted an action plan to tackle some of the key challenges for therapy provision locally.
Additional funding has been allocated for 2021-22 academic year to support both delivery of statutory delivery and to support early intervention for SLC needs.
You said: Physiotherapy provision was excellent.
We did: Thank you. Whilst current provision is under pressure, it is helpful to hear about the positive experiences of children and their families.
You said: Access to EHCP assessment for therapy needs was difficult with lack of clarity as to why an assessment was declined.
We did: Requests for EHC needs assessment are triaged by clinicians as to whether statutory assessment is indicated. This is based on submitted referral information.
Following triage, the Local Authority and parents are advised if needs have been identified and these can be met through non-specialist support (otherwise known as ordinarily available provision or OAP).
You said: Sensory support was needed especially within schools.
- Introduced Occupational Therapy training around sensory differences within the universal training offer to schools.
- Recruited a clinical lead for autism and sensory difference within the Children’s Integrated Therapy Service.
You said: More hours of therapy provision with specialist therapists would be more helpful for your child.
We did: We understand that some parents and carers will feel this way.
The current provision available in Buckinghamshire is based upon the Balanced Model which includes lower-level support being offered in universal settings; for example, within a school setting and offered by an appropriately trained teaching assistant. This allows the use of the highly limited number of qualified therapists for the provision that only they can provide.
The children’s integrated therapy service also supports children’s settings to provide targeted and universal support through a thorough training and support package, making therapy more accessible to children across Buckinghamshire.
You said: You were disappointed in the lack of continuity of therapists and that support was being provided by teaching assistants rather than specialist therapists.
- continued to recruit therapists where possible
- uplifted agency rates to be competitive with surrounding areas
- contacted higher education colleges to help recruit graduate therapists into Buckinghamshire
- investigated options to 'grow our own' therapists through apprenticeships and cadetships
The current provision available in Buckinghamshire is based upon the Balanced Model which includes lower-level support being offered in universal settings; for example, within a school setting and offered by an appropriately trained teaching assistant. This allows the use of the highly limited number of qualified therapists for the provision that only they can provide.
The children’s integrated therapy service also supports children’s settings to provide targeted and universal support through a thorough training and support package, making therapy input more accessible to children across Buckinghamshire.
You said: You felt that it was a challenge to access mental health support for your child and that you don’t feel you have the skills to support your child.
This plan says that we will:
- Offer more parent training opportunities
- Develop the training offer to schools via CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service)
- Re-establish young carers’ staff training to enable them to identify young carers during assessment/ whilst in the service.
- Use the Mental Health Support Teams to support schools to identify and support young carers within the school
- Ongoing involvement of young people in the development of local mental health support services
You can get in touch with CAMHS in Buckinghamshire. There is also a range of helpful information for parents on the Buckinghamshire Family Information Service website.
Buckinghamshire CAMHS is part of a 4-week wait pilot scheme and work is being undertaken to review referral pathways and identify ways to improve waiting times.
You said: You have concerns about whether children's mental health is a priority.
We did: Children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing is included within plans as a priority area across the Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West (BOB) Integrated Care System.
In addition, there is a local transformation plan for Children’s and Young Peoples Mental Health and Wellbeing in place for Buckinghamshire.
There has been additional investment each year from NHS England and from Buckinghamshire CCG into the local CAMHS to enable the service to reach a larger proportion of young people. This has included:
- the provision of support via digital platforms
- in-reach into schools
- increasing the workforce within CAMHS
You said: Some interventions such as the Buddy scheme should be delivered over a longer period of time.
We did: Thank you for the feedback provided in relation to the CAMHS/Barnardo’s buddy service.
We are in the process of undertaking commissioning activity to review the current service provision to consider what the service should look like over the next 3- 5 years. Commissioners will take into consideration your thoughts in relation to the length of time a worker provides support to a young person as part of this work.
You said: Waiting lists for assessment for ASD and ADHD are too long.
We did: We recognise that this is a significant concern for parents.
To work to reduce these waiting lists we have:
- undertaken a full review of the collaborative pathway which was implemented in February 2019
- taken recommendations from that review to inform an action plan which aims to reduce the waiting list over the next 3 years
- implemented weekly meetings to review the action plan and work collaboratively to improve performance
- allocated additional funding to provide additional assessment resource by Healios
- worked with the voluntary sector locally to develop a pre-diagnostic support offer to provide support and advice for families awaiting diagnosis (starting in March 2022).
You said: You felt that there was insufficient information made available to you at the point of diagnosis.
We did: As part of the review of the neurodevelopmental assessment pathway, support after diagnosis was identified as an area of concern. We currently experience poor take up of this offer following diagnosis and the action plan includes asking children, young people and their parents and carers how this offer could be adapted to better suit their needs.
Specialist Teaching have piloted Early Bird Plus training in the Autumn Term 2021 for those with children aged between 4 and 8 years with a diagnosis of autism. Specialist Teachers will routinely liaise with parents to provide advice/support.
In addition, there has been a significant shift in making support available before a diagnosis is made:
- All school staff can access support from the Specialist Teachers and no diagnosis is required.
- The Neurodevelopmental Collaborative (CAMHS & Community Paediatrics alongside Integrated Commissioning and Education) have developed a pre-diagnostic offer for ASD and ADHD with Autism Early Support and PACE. This is due to go live in March 2022 for 5 to 19 years with the development of a 0 to 5 offer in planning currently.
You said: You would like more overnight and full day respite available.
We did: We have continued to work with the provider of short breaks locally (Action for Children) to increase their range and duration of community short breaks. Access and provision of overnight short breaks is determined by Children's Social Care and disability criteria is set out in our Service Statement.
The Children's Short Break Strategy is to be reviewed in 2022 which will include a range of opportunities for parents to feed in their views.
You said: You would like a greater range of school holiday clubs.
We did: We have been working with our short breaks provider to increase the range and number of community short breaks which includes holiday periods, although progress with this has been slower than desired due to the impact of covid.
Your feedback from 2021
You said: Schools don’t always know where to signpost parents for information.
We did: We are developing our communications plan and have a section for schools to see how else we can help them know about the Local Offer, such as talking to the SENCo and Special School Heads groups, and sharing information more regularly with schools.
You said: You advised that some of our information wasn’t clear enough on our educational, health and care plans (EHCP) page.
We did: We consulted with you and updated the page content so that it was clear and easy to understand by parents and carers.
You said: Feedback from the young people’s survey ‘your experience as a young person with SEND’ showed the types of activities and organised events that local young people are interested in.
We did: We will use this information to encourage more activity providers to register and to promote the activities we know young people are interested in.
You said: Young people told us through the survey what information they want to know before joining a new club or group.
We did: We are going to use this feedback to create a guide for activity providers to help them think about the information they add to their record on the Local Offer directory to encourage young people to try new things.
You said: Young people told us how they would look for information about things to do locally.
We did: We are going to set up some focus groups in special schools in September or October to ask young people how we can better promote the Local Offer to help them find out about activities and things to do.
You said: Parents and carers told us that they could not find information on Social, Emotional and Mental Health Support (SEMH) on the website.
We did: We collaborated with the SEMH impact group to review our information on our website, and updated out content to provide information on schools that support children and young people with SEMH and the range of health services available.
You said: Having spent recent weeks trying to use other local authority Local Offer pages, I feel ours is so strong – transparent and clear! We don’t “hide” contact details, if you want to find the email address for iSEND or Early Years you can. It seems so obvious, but I spent almost an hour this morning trying to track down the equivalent of myself on another local authority’s local offer.
From an Early Years SEND Advisor.
We did: Ensure that our local offer content is transparent, and parents and professionals can quickly find the information they need.
You said: I was looking for SEND information, local services and organisations, and support for young people.
I found the website to be helpful. It was inviting, easy to navigate, shows everything available - love that it’s all in one place and can find everything easily.
The pictures and colours and relevant and inviting. Everything is laid out so well and I can find anything I need much easier now.
Its modern and inclusive through the pictures and services available. Brilliant!
Professional from Oxford Health
We did: Ensured that our website and content including SEND is easy to navigate, in plain English, and parents and professionals can find the information they need.
You said: The FACT Bucks SEND Survey report showed that 77% of respondents hadn’t used the Local Offer but 56% had heard of. Those who had used it gave a mixed response about the helpfulness of the information.
We did: The survey was run in March, just when the new website was launching. We hope that the new website reflects all the feedback and user research received to date so that the information is more useful and easier to find.
We will make a new communications plan to keep promoting the Local Offer so that more families know about it and we will ask other organisations and professionals to help us do this.
You said: You told us about your experiences as young people with Autism and Social Emotional and Mental Health needs (SEMH). You made a video putting forward your ideas on how support could be improved.
We did: watched the video at a council board meeting. Buckinghamshire Council's Director of Education, Simon James, made a video thanking young people who have recently provided feedback and explains himself, what the council plans to do next. In May we published this video.
You said: changes you'd like to see in:
- annual reviews
- communication between teachers and students with SEND
- GP appointments
- the way professionals speak to young people with SEND and words to use instead
We did: worked with young people to make a video giving tips to professionals like teachers, health professionals and social workers. We shared this with professionals and made it available online.
Watch the video: Tips on involving children and young people with SEND (April 2021).
You Said: Young people with special educational needs or disabilities (SEND) made a video telling Buckinghamshire Council what's on their minds.
We did: Timothy Jones, Principal Educational Psychologist responded on behalf of services and organisations that are working on the improvements.
If you're a young person with SEND and want to give your feedback, email [email protected]
You said: The website content should be easy to understand. There should be a summary of information with links to more content. Information should be set out like a pathway that follows the journey of a family.
We did: The new website content has been re-written so that it is much simpler. There are links to further information. All the content on the Local Offer has been written for families and the layout is much clearer.
Your feedback from 2020
The Code of Practice says that there are things that must be published on the Local Offer. The Local Offer Advisory and Impact Group members told us where they would expect to find these things on the website. This helped us to put information in the most useful place to help families find what they are looking for.
You said: There should be tile on the Local Offer called ‘getting started with SEND’ to help families who might not know where to start. This should include basic information, useful contacts and a summary of useful links to the rest of the Local Offer.
We did: We created a tile on the new website.
Our Local Offer Advisory and Impact Group members looked at the menu headings in the Local Offer and shared ideas to make changes on the new website. The changes were to make the language easier to understand and to have headings that will help families easily find the information they are looking for.
You said: SENDIAS shared some of their frequently asked questions, like “how do I apply for an EHCP” and “how can I make an appeal about an EHCP”?
We did: We used these questions to make sure this information on the new website was easy to find.
You said: Mental health information in the SEND local offer should be more prominent and more diverse as many people don’t meet the criteria for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS).
We did: This will be considered and improved as we continue to develop new SEND local offer pages. There are more services being registered in our directory and promoted via social media, including the Kooth app and YoungMinds.
You said: Peopletoo has been working with local young people in Buckinghamshire to rewrite information to help them prepare for adulthood. This should influence your published SEND local offer information.
We did: We have spoken to Peopletoo and gone to some of their feedback sessions.
We used Peopletoo's findings when developing the new SEND local offer preparing for adulthood section, and we will continue to follow their advice when working on new website pages for young people with SEND.
You said: Some parents find it easier to watch videos to access information, rather than reading web pages.
We did: Our Integrated SEND Service (iSEND) team is considering making videos to cover key topic areas and help families.
You said: Members of the Local Offer Advisory Group, which looks at how our SEND local offer can be improved, have started to look at the menu titles used on the SEND local offer landing page. They have made suggestions to help improve them, and have looked at other local offer websites for inspiration.
We did: The suggestions of the Local Offer Advisory Group have been shared with the people who are helping us to update the SEND local offer website, along with examples from other SEND local offers.
You said: I wanted to give some positive feedback on your SEND coronavirus page. It’s a useful and comprehensive resource which has been promoted to special schools.
Could you add the following link to SENDcast: The Special Needs Podcast. It has a couple of coronavirus episodes that are good listening.
From Keerin Hossain, Enterprise Coordinator, Bucks Skills Hub (via email)
We did: We added the SENDcast link to the page.
You said, at the SEND Youth Forum in December 2019:
- in your content about transitions in adult social care, the purple icons down the side of the page are meaningless as they don’t always match up to the section they are next to. Photos would be much more eye-catching and useful
- Connexions is no longer running
- the website content needs to be improved
- these icons were removed from the page, which is no longer published in our SEND local offer. At the moment we can’t add photos as you've suggested, but we will continue to consider this idea as we develop the new SEND local offer website
- all references to Connexions have been removed
- we are working with teams to update their content and make sure all information is up to date
Your feedback from 2019
You said, at the south east local offer peer review:
- you should improve the SEND local offer mental health information
- you should publish more personal budget information
- there is no information on travel training
- we reviewed our mental health content by bringing together information that was spread across multiple pages, now published as mental health support for children and young people with SEND. This page contains the most relevant links to further information
- we have published new pages on personal budgets and direct payments. We also created a new money and benefits section in the SEND local offer. We will continue to work with colleagues to publish further information as and when it is available
- we have published information on independent travel training, including links to travel training by Talkback. We will work with colleagues to expand our travel training information in future. We have also published information for young people with SEND on the travel discounts they can get
You said, at a local event in October 2019 where young people were asked about the SEND local offer:
- there should be more information in the SEND local offer on becoming an adult
- the local offer should be easier to understand
- there should be more adrenaline sports on your website
- we improved our preparing for adulthood section by making it easier to navigate
- we have made our SEND local offer pages easier to read by simplifying the text
- we emailed local activity providers to ask them to add their holiday activities to the website, including sports activities
You said: Parents at the countywide Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) parent support group said they were not aware of the Buckinghamshire Family Information Service (BFIS) or the SEND local offer.
They felt disappointed because they could have accessed the information earlier if they knew about the service.
Parents asked if GPs, social care services and schools were aware of BFIS, and could help to promote the service.
We did: We recently visited all social care teams to remind them about the SEND local offer and BFIS.
As BFIS is now part of the new Family Support Service, we will be working with partners across the county to help raise awareness.
There will be a revised SEN newsletter for schools and partners. We are also going to work with our communications team to put together a mini-campaign to remind professionals about the SEND local offer, so they can direct parents to it.
The SEND local offer has previously been advertised on screens at GP surgeries, and we will ask that this happens again.
You said: What does the 'all needs met' filter mean? (This filter appears under the heading 'Type of Special Educational Needs', alongside search results.)
We did: Originally, 'all needs met' referred to a broad group of needs.
In the SEND Code of Practice: 0-25 years, this was divided into:
- communication and interaction
- cognition and learning
- social, emotional and mental health difficulties
- sensory or physical needs
Because schools and early years settings looked at all these needs to identify what action to take to support their pupils, they met all these needs.
This is why the 'all needs met' filter was created.
As more services, organisations and activities have joined the SEND local offer, some now offer support for additional needs not covered by the 'all needs met' filter.
We have reviewed the use of this filter, and in the future 'all needs met' will only apply to:
- early years settings
To find support for a particular need, you should select a need from the checklist under 'type of special educational needs'.
You said: There are not enough social activities happening in the evenings and on Fridays.
We did: We will continue to encourage providers to add their activities to the SEND local offer.
We will also continue to raise the profile of local groups and activities by sharing activities via our Facebook page, and encouraging the use of the Bucks local offer and SEND group as a place to share and discuss activities that are happening locally.
You said: There is not enough information on epilepsy in the SEND local offer.
We did: Facebook posts were published in April, May and June 2019 to show how people using the SEND local offer would like to see more epilepsy related services.
The posts are relevant to people who work for epilepsy services, or anyone who is familiar with epilepsy services and can recommend they join our SEND local offer.
We will continue to encourage local organisations to add their organisation or service to our website.
You said: There is no information on epilepsy and local support on your website.
We did: We will continue to encourage local epilepsy organisations to register with our SEND local offer.
Your feedback from 2018
You said: When they heard about our feedback pages, an attendee at an Aylesbury Grammar School coffee morning told us, "I'd have loved to have had this information years ago!”
We did: We told attendees that our feedback form could be used at any time to send us feedback. We will continue to share information on how to provide feedback.
You said: An attendee at an Aylesbury Grammar School coffee morning said, “You should use school newsletters to get the message out and tell more families about the SEND local offer."
We did: We will continue to use school bulletins for communications, and leaflets where possible.
You said (about our Autism Toolbox for parents and carers):
- I like the clear, concise listings of different topics and external links to more information
- I like the use of videos to illustrate the points and topics in question
- I like that it has a variety of different topics covering the most important issues
- I would suggest having options for different font sizes, colour changes and backgrounds, to help people with visual perceptual challenges or dyslexia
We did: Check out our accessibility page to find out how our SEND local offer pages can help people who have challenges reading content online.
You said: I heard about the SEND local offer through Bucks partnership boards.
I like how it gives all the information you need in one place. It's an excellent service and comprehensive. You could help more families know about the SEND local offer by renaming the service. The name does not tell you what it's about.
We did: The name local offer came from the government, and our co-production group decided to keep it to benefit from national promotion. We call it the SEND local offer to help people understand what it’s about.
You said: The option to contact the Buckinghamshire Family Information Service (BFIS) for a new Max Card on the Pinpoint page is not obvious.
We did: We moved the 'contact BFIS' link onto its own line, to make it easier to spot and click.
You said: There are many links on the Education 0 to 25 years (SEND) page and it can be confusing.
We did: The SEND local offer education section has been updated, and we will continue to improve the pages so they are as helpful and useful as possible.
You said: We consulted with young people at the SEND Youth Forum and Aylesbury College about what preparing for adulthood means to them.
We did: We will use the feedback you shared with us to ensure that our pages cover everything that young people with SEND need to know.
You said: I have not been able to find information on physical activities my autistic children can take part in. Can these organisations can outline their activities for the special educational needs (SEN) community?
We did: We encourage activity providers to complete their directory listings with as much information as possible, and show how they cater for particular needs.
Unfortunately, we can only encourage providers to do this. But we will keep reminding our partners how important this is.
You said: You asked us for a new look SEND local offer homepage.
We did: We worked with our web developers to add ‘tiles’ to the SEND local offer homepage, to make it look more attractive and easier to navigate.
Our Local Offer Advisory Group helped us to review the titles and pictures.
You said: Can you make special educational needs and disabilities coordinator (SENCO) contact details easier to find?
We did: We added two new fields to our SEND local offer form so that settings and schools can add the name and contact email for their SENCO.
This will be published in each school or setting's directory listing on our website.
We created a case study with Laura, who goes to the SEND Youth Forum.
Laura told us: The SEND local offer has helped me because I now go to more clubs and have met new people.
I also get the right help and support at college.
You could make the website more colourful and include more videos. There is also too much jargon.
We did: Our new SEND local offer homepage 'tiles' have made the website look more colourful, and we will continue to use videos whenever possible.
We regularly review our pages to try and make the information more simple, but this will take some time.
Your feedback from 2017
You said (via Facebook): Can you let us know what's going on with the SEN Team (now Integrated SEND Service) in Buckinghamshire? We've had 2 SEN officers since September, and the second one has just left. No one called to let us know.
We did: We spoke to the Integrated SEND Service, and a SEN officer contacted the family on the same day to discuss their concerns.
The parent came back to us and said, "Thank you for getting involved, we got allocated a new officer that same day."
We held two sessions in special schools to get young people's feedback on the website.
You said: I've been searching for the Young People's SEND Forum on the SEND local offer, but I couldn't find it.
We did: We added keywords, so it should now come top of the search results.
You said: I would like to know about more activities over the summer holidays.
We did: We added 156 activity and event directory listings over the summer holidays, which were viewed a total of 1956 times.
Following a celebration event to showcase our local offer activities film, you said: A big thank you to your team for giving my child the chance to be in such a brilliant film, and also for the generous gift and certificate!
Our child is thrilled, and we are proud parents.
Things like this have a huge impact on the lives of children with special educational needs (SEN), and I pray that your department will organise more opportunities and events like this.
In response to the annual specialist teaching service schools survey, you said: It is difficult to find time to talk to specialist teachers as they are all so busy.
We did: Having discussed this with a number of schools, the specialist teaching service launched a 'record of visit' form, which records all sessions in school for a named pupil, and lists the objectives they are working towards.
In response to the annual specialist teaching service pupil survey, you said: The survey is too complicated. The language is hard to understand.
We did: The team is looking at how they can make the survey more friendly for pupils and are working with pupils to get feedback on how best to write the next one.
In January, our SEND local offer was reviewed by a council officer, a parent and 2 young people from Hampshire.
They used a set of questions to measure how well our SEND local offer meets the criteria set out in the SEND Code of Practice: 0 to 25 years.
We have created an action plan to show how we are going to address their feedback.
You said: You claim the SEND local offer has been developed in conjunction with children, young people, parents, carers and local services, but you have not told us how.
We did: Our About the local offer page shows how parents, carers and young people can get involved with the development of the SEND local offer.
You said: I was not able to find your find accessibility strategy.
We did: You can read more about our accessibility strategy.
You said: Your feedback form has no mandatory fields. Has this caused any issues?
We did: This was a deliberate choice so people are not put off from leaving feedback if they don’t want to leave contact information. We always provide a direct response where people have left their details. We have now updated the feedback form with a 'tick if you would like a response' box, which will make contact info mandatory if ticked.
Your feedback from 2016
You said: Dean Beadle, an autism speaker, is coming to High Wycombe. Please share this information with colleagues and parents.
We did: We promoted the talk on our SEND local offer Facebook and web pages.
You said: I am an educator whose priority is getting young people with learning disabilities into employment. But when I look at the SEND local offer, I do not see anything that refers to employment.
We did: We now publish information for young people with SEND on the employment options they can consider after they leave school.
You said: Some information about direct payments in the SEND local offer is out of date.
We did: We worked with the direct payments team and updated the content.
You said: The council's complaints procedure is missing.
We did: You can now read about council complaints procedures in the SEND local offer.
You said: Can you make the SEND local offer more obvious on the Buckinghamshire Family Information Service homepage.
We did: We now have a SEND local offer link on our homepage.
Your feedback from 2015
We reviewed the feedback from our online scenario survey, which we had on our website from April to December 2015.
Many of the issues were resolved with the launch of our new website in June 2015.
Talking about videos in our SEND local offer, you said:
- I think the videos are good because they show people what young people can do
- I think the videos are informative
- I think the videos are good and fun to watch. It’s good to see people talking about their life and achievements
- I thought it was put together really well, but it was a shame about the sound
We did: We are looking into the possibility of making more videos for young people with SEND.
You said: Some parents don't know about the SEND local offer.
We did: We are reviewing our communications plan, and have produced an advert that will be shown in libraries and GP surgeries to promote the SEND local offer.
You said: We went to a special educational needs and disabilities coordinator (SENCO) liaison meeting, and the professionals we met there said it would be helpful to run some sessions so they can find out more about the SEND local offer.
We did: We set up 3 sessions in November for SENCOs and other professionals to come along and ask questions.
You said: When you new mobile website went live, some of the links were broken.
We did: As soon as we realised that links were broken, we fixed them as quickly as possible. If you find anything that is not working, please let us know.
You said: Please may I record my thanks for the support offered to me during the education, health and care (EHC) needs assessment for my daughter.
The professionalism and timely advice from advisers at SENDIAS and Carers Bucks provided me with much-needed confidence and encouragement.
We ran SEND local offer workshops with 52 young people. Topics we covered included:
- SEND local offer awareness for young people
- information young people with SEND would like to see included on the website
- how young people with SEND searched for information
Eight YouTube workshops were hosted in schools to create short films to support and provide information on the SEND reforms for disabled children and young people, and those with SEN, and their parents.
The Children’s Partnerships Team worked with young people from Chepping View School to support with the design of the SEND local offer postcard. A drawing competition was also held, with over 30 entries.
With the support from the Children’s Partnership team and Youth Service, 52 young people received Assessment and Qualifications Alliance (AQA) certificates for their SEND local offer participation work.
We undertook a SEND pathfinder review, which looked at the content we should provide in the SEND local offer.
As a result, we moved all information on education, health and care (EHC) plans to the SEND local offer, instead of linking to external websites