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:
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.
Latest Meeting: Wellbeing and SEND forum
Notes from seventh session – Friday 10th March
Attendance by 7 families, Miss Fleming, Mrs Moore and Mrs Kirby. Professionals in attendance – Iain McDonald, SEND Information, Advice and Support Service (SENDIASS, formerly Warrington Parent Partnership)
Iain Macdonald from Warrington SENDIASS was the latest professional to attend our recent forum on Friday 6th March 2023. He explained that the service is open to families from birth to 25yrs and no diagnosis is required for support. The service provides support and guidance to parents of children and young people with additional education needs that live in Warrington. They also offer support to young people between 16-25yrs who live in Warrington. The service works closely with the local authority but operates in an independent, impartial and confidential approach.
The role of the service is to work in partnership with parents, young people, schools, colleges and Warrington Borough Council and other services to provide the best outcomes for the individual or family. The service will help parents to make informed decisions about their child’s education and help parents and / or the young person express their views and offer support. The service is happy to act as an advocate should they require.
The service can offer support and guidance in any of the following areas:
- A confidential telephone line
- Choosing the right school
- Help to write letters, fill in forms and understand assessment information and reports completed by professionals
- Levels of support for children in early years and for young people in post 16 education
- Independent support for Educational Health Care (EHC) assessment and planning
- Annual reviews and meetings
- Resolving disagreements
- Transition from primary to secondary school
- Signposting parents to alternative sources of support
Warrington SEND is based at Sandy Lane Children’s centre, Sandy Lane, Warrington, WA2 9HY
Our families shared their experiences working with the service and school support which has had a positive outcome for their child, from accessing the Educational Health Care Plan to Early Years support for children not yet in education as prior to the meeting they were unaware the service is open for children from birth.
A parent also shared some services to help with family engagement and what is available in the wider community for families with children with additional needs.
Families UTD- https://familiesunited.org.uk/
Families United support families who have a child or young person with a disability, we have developed a local support network within our group led by 4 of our trustees whom themselves have a child who has a disability. The whole family are provided with the opportunity to attend a variety of local activities & trips that are suitable for each member. In doing so, we aim to increase the health, wellbeing and social opportunities for our members. We unite our families so that they find support in each other through shared experiences, strategies and the understanding of the impact that having a child with SEND can have in family life.
Warrington Youth Zone: https://warringtonyouthzone.org/
ACCESSIBILITY – MEMBERS WITH DISABILITIES / ADDITIONAL NEEDS
Warrington Youth Zone have developed a model of working that takes into consideration any barriers that may prevent young people from joining in with activities and working to remove those barriers wherever possible. We believe this approach should be inclusive of all abilities yet specific enough to cater for each individual. Our work consists of:
- Providing an accessible location that takes into account transport links.
- Providing equipment and facilities (such as lifts, hygiene suite etc).
- Carrying out a structured induction for anyone who indicates they may have additional needs or support requirements.
- Finding out what those support needs are and how we can best manage them within our setting and making support information available to all staff.
- Providing opportunities to all young people, regardless of ability in areas such as sports, arts and leisure opportunities.
- Providing staff on specific nights to support young people through discussion, relationship building, structured activities and encouraging personal development skills.
- Training staff in relevant areas towards how they can adapt activities to take ability into account.
Notes from sixth session – Friday 27th January 2023
Attendance by eight families, Miss Fleming, Mrs Moore and Mrs Kirby. Professionals in attendance – Sharon Wilson and Jean Fitzpatrick (Warrpac – Warrington Parents and Carers), Kelly Thomas (SEND Outreach Team) and Paula Ryan (Early Years SEND support – 0-3year olds).
Overview provided of the purpose of the Wellbeing and SEND forum (which is additional to the School’s Parent’s Forum).
Sharon and Jean introduced themselves and explained that Warrpac are a 3rd sector charity that offer support to parents and families of children with SEND. They are a team of 10 people and they are based at Sandy Lane. All of the team have their own lived experiences as they are all parents and / or grandparents of children who have Special Educational Needs.
They also explained that they work with the Local Authority by providing feedback on services and helping them to improve for service users. This is based on feedback from children, parents and families. Jean spoke about the current SEND inspection taking place in the Local Authority and asked that all parents complete it to give their views. Miss Fleming confirmed that there will be a link for this survey on the school’s newsletter that will be sent out tonight. The survey needs to be completed by Tuesday 31st January.
Jean also spoke about an ADHD parent support group, that she is Chairperson of, which is open to all parents. She gave out a leaflet to parents with further contact information and a form to complete to sign up for updates.
The ladies also talked about Wired Carers Centre, who are based at the Gateway in town. They offer parent / carer support and counselling, and support for siblings of children with SEND (8 years plus). They also talked about two other support websites for siblings which were Sibsuk and Scope – you can find their website addresses below.
Paula and Kelly then introduced themselves and explained about their services. Paula talked about the Early Years SEND support that is available for children aged 0-3 years old including home visits to assess development needs and Portage sessions that are run at all Children Centres. Once a month they have a designated session at Woolston Sensory Play Centre. The team support with transition into Nursery and make referrals to Sandy Lane designated provision. Kelly explained that when children start Nursery the SEND Outreach Team support settings to look at the child’s needs and provide strategies to support. This team also supports with Educational Psychologist reports and Education and Health Care plan applications. Useful website addresses can be found below.
Next meeting – Friday 10th March @9:00am in the main school building. The professionals who will be joining us are Iain McDonald (SENDIASS), Carragh Garrity (Home Start) and Warrpac.
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.
Addvanced Solutions: https://www.addvancedsolutions.co.uk/home.html
Dad matters: https://dadmatters.org.uk/warrington/
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.
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.
- Dates to be printed out and available for parents to pick up at each Forum (and put on website).
Friday 16th September 2022 @ 9.15am, main school building.
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.
- set dates of meetings for the year
- Friday 8th July, 9.15am
Links to other forums/services: