Thousands of North Yorkshire children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities are set to benefit from an updated strategy.
The strategy has been developed in partnership with children and young people, their families and education settings, as well as Humber and North Yorkshire Integrated Care Board (ICB) and West Yorkshire ICB.
This new Local Area Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) strategy sets out to improve outcomes for children and young people and their families.
It aims to improve the lived experiences of children and young people with SEND across the county by identifying needs early, providing timely and effective support and ensuring children and young people are prepared for adulthood.
The Strategy is focussed upon all children with SEND and how identification of those children sooner, and support their educational needs.
This includes those at SEND Support level (prior to Statutory Assessment) and those with an EHCP following an assessment.
Priority 1-Identifying needs of children early is all about addressing the concern raised. This priority is focussed upon building the knowledge, skills and expertise within education settings, health and social care services to be able to identify SEND and respond to it prior to statutory assessment. That will also mean that those who need statutory assessment for an EHCP are also known earlier and those assessments can then be carried out at the most appropriate time for each child. We will also be working with Health services to reduce waiting times for specific assessments and diagnosis and to provide support during that process.
Statistics show that around 10,000 North Yorkshire pupils aged up to 25 years receive SEN support, while more than 4,500 children and young people in addition have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP).
North Yorkshire Council’s executive member for children and families, Cllr Janet Sanderson, said:
Children and young people are at the heart of everything we do.
This new strategy will be delivered in real partnership between the health service, the council and parent-carers to ensure that every child and young person in North Yorkshire has access to the right support to develop their independence and to become confident adults leading fulfilling lives.
Our ambition is that children and young people with SEND have the correct support to achieve their aspirations and the best opportunities to achieve their goals.
Helping children and young people to achieve good outcomes in education, health, employment, relationships and participation in social activities is central to this vision.
The new local area SEND strategy focuses on five key priorities, which are:
- Identifying the needs of children and young people early.
- Working together – improving communication, co-production and engagement.
- Improving outcomes for children and young people with SEND.
- Preparing young people for adulthood.
- Achieving best value.
Young people, families, schools and professionals from services in areas such as education, social care and health took part in a consultation process to develop the new strategy, which has included work with children and young people to identify what is important to them.
NHS Humber and North Yorkshire Integrated Care Board’s place director for North Yorkshire, Wendy Balmain, said:
We have worked with parents, carers, professionals and young people to identify what is important to them, what is working well and what our priorities need to be to ensure this strategy will provide an effective way forward.
Some of our key areas of focus will be children and young people with autism and those with social, emotional and mental health needs.
It is important that we continue to listen to and act on the lived experiences of children and young people and find out how best we can support these individuals to help them achieve their ambitions.
Bradford District and Craven Health and Care Partnership Board, a committee of NHS West Yorkshire Integrated Care Board, has also contributed to the new Local Area Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) strategy.
Christina Holloway, from the Bradford District and Craven Health and Care Partnership, said:
We remain committed to working with partners to ensure we can continue to listen to the voice of children and families so that services are as responsive as possible to their needs.
The new and improved SEND strategy will run from July 2023 to July 2026.