THE VOICES of young people are to be heard in a new online forum designed to influence special educational needs and disability (SEND) support in Warwickshire.
Forum members are invited to discuss issues such as growing up, their experiences of school, transport to school and other matters close to their hearts.
The forum, set up by Warwickshire County Council (WCC), is open to children and young people aged 14-25 – but younger children are encouraged to apply.
Young people will participate through virtual meetings or other ways that can be developed by members. Forum members will co-produce the format and shape of the forum, such as how often they meet.
Elaine Lambe from Warwickshire Parent Carer Voice said: “As the voice for parent carers, we know how important it is for the experience of families to be heard. We welcome the opportunity for young people to get involved and look forward to working with them to make the improvements needed to the support and services offered in Warwickshire”.
Coun Jeff Morgan, WCC’s spokesman for children, families and educational services, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for children and young people to get involved and share their valuable insight into SEND support in Warwickshire. By working together, we can help children and young people to lead a fulfilling life and be part of their community.”
WCC has published a Written Statement of Action (WSoA) to address concerns raised in last September’s damning Ofsted and Care Quality Commission (CQC) report into the county’s SEND support.
The report raised ‘concerns about the effectiveness of the local area’, requiring the council and Coventry and Warwickshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to explain how ‘significant areas of weakness’ will be tackled.
The statement explains how WCC and the CCG plan to reduce waiting times for autism diagnoses, strengthen relationships with parents and carers, improve school leaders’ understanding of why the placement of some children needs to be addressed, better train primary and secondary school staff to meet the needs of youngsters with SEND, and ensure the quality of the online local offer is fit for purpose.
Visit www.warwickshire.gov.uk/ypvoice to apply to participate in the forum.