The council would like to ensure the facts are clear about the recent SEND consultation which was carried out between 13 December 2018 and 20 January 2019.
To encourage as many people to take part, particularly parents and carers of children or young people with special educational needs, the consultation was publicised and circulated in a number of ways.
- Information was posted directly to every family with a child with an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) at the beginning of the consultation period, informing them about the launch of the consultation, and sharing details of drop-in events, how to access the survey and how to request an easyread or hard copy version of the documents. This included families whose children attend a school or college outside of Kingston.
- A dedicated web page about the consultation was created on the well used Local Offer website (www.afcinfo.org.uk/local_offer) on 13 December, which included answers to Frequently Asked Questions and how to get in touch should anyone have questions about the consultation. The page linked to the online survey, shared details of the drop-in events, and provided details of how to access hard copy and easyread versions. Details of the consultation was also added to the council’s website in January to further encourage people to take part.
- Details of the consultation were also emailed to over 20 voluntary and community groups, parent forums, and to all councillors in Kingston, with a request to share the information about the consultation through their networks and channels.
- Posters advertising the consultation and drop-in events were displayed on 100 community notice boards in the borough and in the council’s libraries.
- Information about the consultation was also sent out on multiple occasions via AfC and the council’s social media channels.
- Three public drop-in events were held in different locations and at different times of the day, to try and provide flexibility and choice to residents who wished to attend.
- Focus groups were held at special schools in the borough, which were attended by 136 children and young people with a special educational need.
- Details of the consultation were emailed to all Special Educational Needs Coordinators (SENCos) at schools in the borough, with a request to promote it to the families they worked with. Consultation details were also included in the weekly schools e-news, which is sent to all primary, secondary and special schools in the borough. This was also shared with school governors at the 43 Kingston schools which opt into AfC’s governor support service.
The SEND Transformation Plan sets out Achieving for Children and Kingston Council’s approach to transforming services for those with special educational needs. It is an evolving plan which will be continually monitored and updated by a SEND Partnership Board and Kingston’s Health & Wellbeing Board.
The Plan is based on ongoing consultation engagement with parents and other stakeholders over a period of two years, dating back to a review of SEND education in Kingston in January to April 2017, and the SEND Futures event and vision document in 2018. Details of previous consultations can be found at www.afcinfo.org.uk/pages/local-offer/information-and-advice/send-consultation-hub-and-resource-bank.
The council obtained specialist independent legal advice as to the design and content of the consultation process to ensure that it was fully compliant from a legal perspective and accessible to all those who affected. As such, we believe that the consultation process is both fair and legally compliant.
The council and Achieving for Children will continue to work with families, schools, health services and other partners to improve the support we collectively provide to Kingston children and young people with special educational needs.