School Wellbeing & SEND  Forum

We want to give our parents of those with children with additional needs in either SEND or mental health/wellbeing an opportunity to engage informally with our Wellbeing Team and to have an opportunity to meet with other parents in similar situations to share experiences, gain general advice and, where partners agree, receive short information sessions from other external professionals/partners.

The Wellbeing & SEND Forum is open for any parent to attend, however if you are a parent of a child known to us with additional needs in one form or another you may get an extra invite.

The sessions will be run as coffee mornings (other drinks available!!) and all dates and further information will be shared below:

Common Agenda

9.00am Arrive at the main school site - we will use the small hall or staff room. (Tea/coffee available on arrival)

9.10am Very short input session by school leaders or invited agency

9.20am Opportunity for parents to share with each other successes and challenges

Anticipated end 9.30am.

These forum sessions are intended to be half termly and we are already making contact with other SEND agencies/providers to give very short inputs into future meetings.

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Latest Meeting:  Notes from 5th session – Friday 9 December

SEND and Wellbeing forum

Notes from fifth session – Friday 9th December 2022

Attendance by fifteen families, Miss Fleming, Mrs Meager, Mrs Moore and Mrs Kirby. Professionals in attendance – Natalie Fox (SALT) and Carol Humphries (ADHD Specialist Nurse).

Overview provided of the purpose of the SEND and Wellbeing forum (which is additional to the School’s Parent’s Forum).

Carol Humphries (ADHD Specialist Nurse) gave an overview of the team. There are approximately one and a half thousand children under the care of 3 ADHD Specialist nurses and 900 children under 1 ASD Specialist Nurse. On the team are also 1 Nursery Nurse and 1 associate nurse who deal with triaging. They also offer support post-diagnosis with difficulties including sleep or behaviour. Most of the appointments in clinic are to deal with medication. The ADHD Specialist Nursing team may look to run some ‘Timid to Tiger’ parenting courses in the new year however ADDvanced Solutions do offer lots of support currently. Carol confirmed that the Specialist Nurses do not have a ‘wait time’ and so an appointment should be offered shortly after diagnosis.

Natalie Fox (SALT) gave an overview of their team. She explained that there are approximately 30 members of staff across Warrington, including support staff supporting all children and young people from 0 – 19 years old with all types of communication difficulties. Natalie talked about their website which is full of useful YouTube videos, training and resources for parents and school to access. Natalie explained how children rarely stay under SALT for their entire childhood. She explained that their role is to upskill parents and schools through training and support to implement everyday strategies of support. Whilst children will most likely be discharged from the service strategies should continue to be implemented and a re-referral can be made if new difficulties arise. Natalie also confirmed that parents can self-refer into SALT.

Natalie confirmed that currently there is approximately a 40 week wait for an initial assessment with the team hence why looking at their website will be helpful in the meantime.

The group further discussed ADDvanced Solutions and the fact that they have been commissioned to support health services across Warrington. Carol explained that they offer families with children with a diagnosis, children on the pathway and children without a diagnosis support and advice. We also discussed how Warrington LA expect parents to have engaged with them before further assessments are made. Both Natalie and Carol expressed how much positive feedback they had had from families that had accessed ADDvanced Solutions.

Natalie explained that she had received some training from the Occupational Therapy team. She explained that they too have a website full of resources and that there is now an expectation that parents have accessed these before a referral is made.

Carol then talked about WarrPac as another really useful support for parents. She explained that Jean Fitzpatrick (from WarrPac) also chairs an ADHD support group for parents once a month at St Oswalds. Carol explained that this is well attended and that they have different speakers attending.

The meeting came to a close with a discussion around DLA. One parent shared that a child does not need a diagnosis to receive DLA. She explained it was to help with expenses such as attending appointments, training and for recreational activities. It helps with the added financial costs. The same parent touched on Parenting Courses and discussed how they are part of the referral process, not an indicator of bad parenting and how she found some strategies useful. She also shared that following accessing additional services she now knows that it is beneficial to have your child’s sight and hearing tested whilst awaiting an initial appointment as she has found this was one of the first things she had been asked about.

Next meeting – Friday 27th January @2:30pm in the SMILE building. The Early Years Outreach Team will be joining us.

Useful website:

SALT: https://bridgewater.nhs.uk/warrington/paediatricspeechandlanguagetherapy/online-training/

OT: https://bridgewater.nhs.uk/warrington/paediatricoccupationaltherapy/resources/

https://bridgewater.nhs.uk/warrington/paediatricoccupationaltherapy/video-resources/

Addvanced Solutions: https://www.addvancedsolutions.co.uk/home.html

Dad matters: https://dadmatters.org.uk/warrington/ 

Homestart: http://homestart-warrington.org.uk

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Notes from 3rd session – Friday 16th September

Attendance by three families, Miss Fleming and Mrs Kirby.

Overview provided of the purpose of the SEND and Wellbeing forum (which is additional to the School’s Parent’s Forum).

Parents said they valued the opportunity to talk but were disappointed that there weren’t more parents in attendance as they have spoken to others about the forum and felt there is a definite need for it. As promised in the last meeting a list of all the forum dates for this academic year was shared with parents and the parents in attendance took copies to pass to others.

The parents shared some challenges and successes they have had with their children and further strategies / referrals were discussed and agreed.

School are in the process of contacting outside agencies to ask them to attend one of the forums for an informal chat with parents. When these are agreed they will be shared with parents.

Next meeting – Friday 21st October @2:30pm in the SMILE building.

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Notes from 2nd Session - Friday 8th July 2022

Those attending felt that more advanced notice of the date of the Forum needs to be given.  Dates are on the school website. 

A discussion was held about parenting programmes and the benefits of attending these.  It would be helpful to have a parent who has attended the programme to talk to other parents about their experience.

Miss Fleming outlined the requirements for to make an EHCP referral, the role of Iain Macdonald (SENDIAS) and explained that if there are no learning requirements, parents are able to make a parental application for an EHCP. 

The issue of holidays in term time was raised as children with additional needs may benefit from going on holiday when it is quieter.  Mrs Brown explained that school is not able to authorise holidays in term time, but would be able to discuss the needs of the child with the LA attendance officer if attendance is a concern.

Miss Fleming asked if it would be helpful if she approached Addvanced solutions about the possibility of running the ND and Me programme for a parent group.  It was agreed that this was something parents would be interested in.

Actions:

-  Dates to be printed out and available for parents to pick up at each Forum (and put on website).

Next meeting:

Friday 16th September 2022 @ 9.15am, main school building.

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Notes from 1st Session - Friday 10th June 2022

Attendance by four families and Mr metcalfe, Miss Fleming, Mrs Brown and Miss Kirby.

Quick overview provided of the purpose of the new forum (which is additional to the main parents forum.

Parents said they valued the opportunity to talk.  Miss Fleming went through a flowchart leaflet designed by school to explain SEND processes.

There was some helpful sharing of different agencies that could help, including the new Youth Zone and Orford Hub (Capesthone Road).  

Agreed the frequency of meetings but dates to be set.

Actions:

- set dates of meetings for the year

Next meeting:

- Friday 8th July, 9.15am

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Links to other forums/services:

Warrington SEND Information, Advice and Support Service (SIASS) - Parent Partnership

Warrington Parents and Carers Facebook

Addvanced Soultions