Somerset Council are looking for people aged 18+ to help them design Technology Enabled Care (TEC) services in Somerset. Involving people in the design of services is often called co-design. Technology Enabled Care (TEC) can be used to help people live longer, healthier and more independent lives. This could include helping manage health conditions, reducing the risk of falls or making daily living tasks easier. You can take part in the co-design sessions in person or online. You will get to try different types of technology and talk to us about how people could use these services in the future. We particularly want to hear from you if you currently use care services or if you support someone who does (carers). For those taking part in person, refreshments will be provided along with reasonable travel expenses. The co-design sessions will be held at our Independent Living Centres which are fully accessible with free parking close to the venues. Please let us know if you have any particular requirements we need to consider so you can attend. You will play a key part in designing the TEC service and how it will be used in Somerset. We will listen to your views and ideas, and make sure that your experience of being involved is clear, interesting and respectful.
Today we publish the report into the Education, Health and Care plan (EHCP) experience of families in Somerset. This report is a snapshot of the current experiences and was formed using responses to a poll, over 25 hours’ worth of conversations with parent carers and feedback we have received by email and social media. You can view the full report here.
Following discussions and feedback via a poll on our support groups, we have looked at your responses and are pleased to let you know we are now launching get together for parent carers in 3 new locations.
All parent carers in Somerset are welcome to attend our get togethers, which provide a space for you to meet other parent carers, get useful information and have some me time. If you are nervous about coming along, give us a call on 01458 259384 and we can talk you through what to expect and arrange to meet you beforehand.
Don’t forget to check out our events section for more information and to find out about other events we are running.
Between 28th November and 1st December 2022, Ofsted and CQC revisited Somerset to review the work that has been undertaken since the original inspection in March 2020. The revisit was focused on the 9 areas of weakness identified during the original inspection.
The inspectors met with the parent carer forum, and we arranged a focus group with the leads of support groups across Somerset. Over 680 parents completed the OFSTED survey, and families also sent individual emails. Inspectors met with the Unstoppables and spoke to children and their parents during school visits. We are pleased that during the revisit the inspection team heard from lots of parents, and we want to thank you for getting involved.
The report acknowledges the work that has taken place and the commitment to improving how services work with families, which we welcome and look forward to working with teams across the area to develop further, ensuring this becomes common practice.
While the report shows progress across 7 areas, it clearly identifies there is still much to do to ensure families feel the impact of the work that has been done. Ofsted and CQC have identified 2 areas which were deemed not to have made sufficient progress.
Poor assessment and meeting of need caused by inconsistent practice, leading to poor outcomes for children and young people with SEND.
Too many children and young people not accessing education because of the disproportionate use of exclusion and poor inclusive practices across the area.
These areas impact on a lot of our families and are areas that need to be addressed as a matter of urgency. Families need to see real changes and improvement for their children and young people.
The letter identifies that the next steps will be to meet with NHS England and the Department of Education advisors. Representatives from Somerset Parent Carer Forum will be at the meeting, and we will work to ensure your views and experiences help to shape any action plans that are created following this.
We know there is much work to do moving forward and we are committed to making your voice heard and provide opportunities for you to work directly with those delivering services. If you would like to know more about how you can get involved, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or ring us on 01458 259384.
This workshop will provide an overview of the SCERTS® (Social Communication, Emotional Regulation, Transactional Support), a comprehensive, multidisciplinary educational approach designed for autistic children and young people. The ethos of SCERTS emphasizes the presence of positive, supportive and trustworthy relationships as the foundation of an effective educational programming. When we, as interactive partners, modify our interactive style and the environment, we can help our neurodivergent learners feel safe, connected, and actively engaged.
This workshop will begin with a review of neurodevelopment and the critical role of the interactive partner in providing transactional support for children at different developmental stages. The core developmental domains of SCERTS will be introduced along with the empirical evidence of the model.
Emily Rubin, MS, CCC-SLP is the Director of Communication Crossroads in Atlanta, GA, a private practice specialized in providing professional learning focused on helping families, caregivers, and educators create positive learning environments focused on relationships and an appreciation of the neurodiversity of children. She is a co-author of the SCERTS Model and a a speech-language pathologist who is passionate about the relationship between social emotional engagement and the development of language, learning, and well-being. She lectures internationally and provides ongoing technical assistance to school systems and other agencies that care for children and their families.
Saturday 7 October 2023, 10.30 to 12.30 Taunton Library Meeting Room
Somerset Dyslexia Association, supported by Somerset Parent Carer Forum CIC, are offering a morning of dyslexia information to parents and carers. Teachers, Learning Support Assistants and others are also welcome.
Claire Harvey, Head of Education at Helen Arkell Dyslexia Charity, will:
describe dyslexia and its impact
provide hand-on activities to help you support your child at home with reading, comprehension, writing and spelling
offer tips to boost self-esteem
Tickets are £10 per person. If payment is a barrier, please phone SPCF on 01458 259384.
To find out more and book visit our workshops and information page here.
The Department for Education has announced that the school opening has now been pushed back to Sept 2024 (2 year delay). The Multi Academy Trust which was due to run the school has had several of its school inspected as inadequate and the DFE are now looking for an alternative trust.
We are obviously very frustrated to hear about the delay in opening the new school at Ash and are concerned about the impact on our local children due to this. It is disappointing that the communication from the DFE to parents around the school is lacking. Parents were consulted at the start of the process but have not been kept informed of the plans and subsequent delays by the DFE.
We understand that students will continue to be or will be placed in mainstream schools but many of these schools are struggling to meet needs. We can see this from the increase in suspensions and exclusions we are seeing. The rates are the highest we have since we started in 2014.
We think there are bigger questions to be asked around the number of schools who are now going into requires improvement or inadequate following inspections and the impact this is having on finding suitable education. The combination of this and increased suspensions is impacting on families, and it is not unusual for us to hear that parents are having to give up work due to unstable education provision.
As a forum we have taken part in a radio interview to raise aware of this issue which you can listen to here (2 hours and 10 minutes in).
We will continue to raise these issues locally and nationally through the work of the NNPCF. We will provide you with updates as soon as we have any new information.
The Community Inclusion and Activity Team and the Somerset Parent Carer Forum are holding a Family Fun Day on the 8th July at Brookside Academy. It’ll be a fun opportunity to meet Providers of inclusive activities, including meeting guinea pigs, trying out cricket, circus skills and much more! Lets hope the sun shines for us!
There is no need to prebook, just turn up on the day. If you have not been to one before and would like to talk to someone about the day so you can plan for your child then pop us a message via Facebook, text us on 07543 680365 or give us a call on 01458 259384.
Do you run a support group or coffee morning for parent carers in Somerset? We invite you to join us on the evening of Monday 19th June, along with other support group leaders.
The sessions will provide an opportunity to meet with the leads of the Accelerated Progress Plan (APP) and discuss the work that is taking place. Claire and Camilla would like to hear from you, to understand the experiences of families, and if the impact of the work is being felt.
The Accelerated Progress Plan (APP) outlines how Somerset services will address the remaining 2 areas of weakness following the OFSTED and CQC visit in December 2022. You can read the APP on Somerset’s SEND Local Offer in the section Somerset’s plan for improving SEND services.
The session are free to attend and will run online via Microsoft teams.
This session forms part of of our ongoing network of meetings, so if you can not attend this one check out the future dates below:
15th September 2023 10:00-14:00 (Face to Face venue TBC)
4th December 2023 19:00-20:30 (Online via Microsoft teams)
12th March 2024 10:00-14:00 (Face to Face venue TBC)
Join us for this online session to hear about the plans for Special Educational Needs and Disabilities in Somerset.
With the development of the SEND Strategy and the publication of the Accelerated Progress Plan (APP) this session will focus on what will be happening next. We will be joined by Rob Heart (Assistant Director of Inclusion) and Andrew Keefe (Deputy Director of commissioning) who will provide the update and answer any questions.