New strategy aims to benefit children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities

A new strategy has launched which aims to provide more opportunities for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities across Shropshire.

The Shropshire SEND [special educational needs] strategy is being introduced to create a more inclusive and accessible community for children and young people under 25 and their families.

It has been developed over the last two years, with work led by Shropshire Parent Carer Council (PACC) and input from Shropshire Council, health commissioners, families, schools, colleges and health and care professionals.

Zara Bowden, chair of PACC Shropshire, said: “We are really excited to launch the Shropshire SEND strategy.

"It has been co-produced with children, young people and their families with SEND, so it helps us understand what we need to support them in achieving, and which services need to be involved.

"Most importantly, it helps us to understand why SEND is everyone’s business.

“We are calling on everyone in the community to come together and ensure these children and young people have the same opportunities as everyone else, and are encouraged to achieve the best life outcomes.

"I would like to thank everyone who has been involved in making this possible.”

A series of workshops over the past two years has helped to develop the vision for the strategy.

Claire Parker, director of partnerships for Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin, said: “Implementing this strategy will be a huge benefit to families.

Important

"There is a strong commitment across the system to supporting children and young people, and the SEND strategy is an important part of this.

“As commissioners, listening to our patients is an important part of our commitment and duty to engage and involve.

"We want to help everyone enjoy the best health and lifestyle they can, and to do this we need to hear directly from people to understand their aspirations.”

The strategy also aims to be a starting place for conversations exploring what organisations can do to respond to families’ wants and needs.

Karen Bradshaw, executive director of children’s services at Shropshire Council, said: “The SEND strategy is a document that sets out how the local authority and clinical commissioning group in Shropshire will respond to this in the way they plan and deliver services to children and young people with SEND and their families.

"It explores what young people expect to be available to them, and how services can help them achieve their goals by supporting them and listening to them throughout their journey into adulthood.

"For families, this means you should expect to see services putting the needs of your family at the heart of their delivery, listening to the outcomes your child wants to achieve and supporting them to find appropriate ways to do this.”

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