Hull City Council, along with Hull NHS Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), is working to involve families of children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) in all aspects of shaping services, and making sure they are aware of the support available.
The council and CCG work closely with Hull Parent and Carer Forum, who have produced an animation about how SEND services are developing and improving. The video aims to explain changes in everyday language and provide context for families.
Councillor Shane McMurray, portfolio holder for children’s services said: “There have been many changes over the last few years and central to this is involving families using the services, and coproducing them. We wanted to illustrate the changes to families and also inform them of what still needs to be done, and what better way than with an animation.”
The animation outlines areas of change including the reduction of waiting lists for speech and language therapy, training on autism to all secondary schools, listening events to hear the experiences of families, concerns and ideas, a new Local Offer website so it’s easier for families to find information they need and development of a coproduction charter.
It also highlights areas which still need further development, such as making it easier for people to access and get referred to neurodiversity services such as autism and ADHD, and ensuring families feel listened to and valued.
Laura Jones, lead for Hull’s Parent and Carer Forum said: “We would like to say a huge thank you to all the parent carers who have engaged with us and fed back their views, or participated in events to share their experiences.
“We know only too well as parent carers ourselves that the SEND world can be exhausting to navigate and we are passionate about working with our local partners to use our members’ vast knowledge and lived experience to help shape improvements.
“We are really pleased that positive steps are ongoing and that families experiences are a key part on the journey.”
A progress review took place in January 2022 of SEND services, by the Department for Education. The review found relationships with schools have improved, speech and language therapy continues to improve, autism waiting lists have reduced and there has been a more personalised approach by services. Northcott Outreach Team was specifically praised.
Over the next six months further improvements are planned including new neurodiversity pathways for autism, ADHD and learning difficulties, autism waiting lists will continue to reduce, and services will continue to further improve coproduction and the experiences of parents and carers.