The ‘You Said, We Did’ report is all about what the Local Authority has done based on families feedback, views and opinions.
Originally, only 12% of Rochdale Schools had some form of parent group. We class a parent group as somewhere parents and carers can go to express their views.
We informed parents how they could help in developing and creating parent groups in schools that would run themselves, as well as benefiting the school in relation to inspections and progression.
Through this work we now have over 50% of educational settings with their own parent group. Some have a SEN parent group to support those parents whose children and young people experience difficulties in mainstream education.
Our aim is to work collaboratively with families, co-producing new materials rather than consulting families on existing work. To support this we needed to make sure we could communicate with parents/carers of children with additional needs.
We revamped our Disability Register to make it easier to join and so we can now send out relevant information to parents and carers by email. Letters were also sent out to all educational settings, informing professionals of this opportunity so that they could pass the information onto families.
All children and young people who receive any form of SEN support received a letter to inform them.
Leaflets and posters have been created in collaboration with parents and disseminated across the borough. They are also sent out by the EHC Assessment and Review Team with all standard letters.
This has gone extremely well and we have already signed up over 600 families in the space of a few months. Numbers continue to grow every day.
Families are able to indicate what information they would like to receive from the Local Authority, so that they are not inundated with emails about everything that may be going on.
We have set up a feedback loop for the Disability Register along with an email account for any queries that is monitored by children with disabilities staff.
Parent EHCP request forms have been redesigned in partnership with parents to make them easier to complete.
For those whose first language is not English, the forms are available in all languages. An interpreter would also be available, schools should book this prior to the meetings involved in the assessment process.
Education, Health and Care (EHC) Assessment and Review Team have attended Person Centered training to ensure that our 'My Plan' meetings are child focused and their wishes are fully explored.
We have updated our feedback form we send out to all families when a new Education Health and Care Plan is issued. EHC Assessment and Review Team are available to discuss this with setting SENCO’s that have all received guidance on ways to gather information to use for an EHCP.
As Rochdale Parent Carers Voice (PCV) has shifted slightly into becoming a Community Interest Company. With the new General Data Protection Regulations now in place – the old PCV’s database of families’ details had to be deleted and we now have a new compliant, up to date database.
Memberships through a range of activities means that the membership is growing. PCV ran training for their members on being on an interview panel.
The PCV continues to have a strong presence in helping services develop, sitting on and range of strategic boards, as well as developing staff through sitting on interview panels.
For further information or to become a member of PCV and get involved see Rochdale Parent Carers Voice (external link)
Parents and young people worked on the development and redesign of Callaghan House. This included the development of a video guide for young people on the new look of Callaghan house.
Parent Carers Voice are active members of the ASC and ADHD pathway working group. Parents and Carers are part of I Thrive Development work.
The Rochdale Additional Needs Teams now hold parent groups at locations across the borough throughout the year. These include the ASC coffee mornings and the Physical Disability equipment drop in sessions.
The Head of Service – Michael Kemp has attended a Parent Carers Voice evening session at Blue Pit Mill every second Tuesday, throughout the year. He is there to provide parents and carers the opportunity to speak with him about any issues they may have.
The Children’s Acute and Ongoing Needs Service hosted a transition event which aimed at engaging with families around the transition of their child with a health condition when moving between schools.
In August 2019, we saw the first parent/carer drop in for children with Downs Syndrome at Callaghan House.
After a significant amount of feedback from families and professionals following previous large scale events – we realised that as a visitor to one of those events, walking into a room of over 200 professionals can be very intimidating for some people.
We now have student volunteers to greet visitors at the annual SEND Information Day – they come from Redwood’s Sixth Form and from Hopwood Hall College. We also set up the event as a discussion based opportunity. Tables had 4 seats around them to encourage people to sit down with one another and have a conversation.
The feedback from attendees indicates that this proved successful – students and fellow parents from Parent Carers Voice guided families around the stalls, introduced them to professionals they felt were relevant to them. They also provided teas and coffees for attendees to allow them to use their time more effectively. Workshops were also held, giving an opportunity to find out information they wouldn’t typically have access to.
All Education, Health and Care staff have been offered a ‘Local Offer’ training package including school staff.
We have successfully delivered training to over 700 professionals over the 3 sectors. Including GP’s and SENCO’s amongst other first response/front facing staff who families may come into contact with earlier on in their journey.
Our aim and hope is that awareness of the Local Offer will increase with educating the professionals families come into contact with.
The number of people visiting the Local Offer website over the last 3 years has risen significantly and continues to grow – indicating that more and more people are becoming aware of its existence.
After conducting multiple audits with parents, we can now inform you that 100% of Rochdale Borough educational settings link into Rochdale’s Local Offer.
Our next step is to ensure our Local Offer logo and link is located in a clearly visible and logical place on setting websites.
We realise that the settings are the first place a parent, carer or staff member would look in order to obtain information. We hope that by linking in with our hub of information that families will feel more informed.
The Universal Short Breaks Matrix has been completely re-designed by a panel of parents and carers.
Not only does it look more family friendly, with its colours and layout but you are now able to search by activity type and age range.
Work has now been completed to make the matrix more interactive by having it on our Local Offer page for all to access.
We saw the launch of Rochdale Multi Agency Transition Policy that had been co-produced.
Our SEND Information Day, held at Middleton Arena for all families and professionals who have or work with children and young people with disabilities included workshops on post 16 education, training and employment pathways.
We acknowledge that information has not been readily available to parents in the approach to preparing for adulthood. Therefore, we have now developed content for Rochdale’s Local Offer to ensure this information is available to all. It will regularly be updated as things change and naturally develop.
See our new content and advice page Preparation for adulthood - Post 16 page.
We have completed an inspection of the building and its accessibility for people who have any form of additional need or disability. This was done with parents from Rochdale Parent Carers Voice and some children and young people who have disabilities.
A report has been written setting out its findings and we are now in the process of making alterations to the building.
Our Rochdale Additional Needs Teams are working with staff to create signs and create a training package for all Number One Riverside staff, so that we are all aware of how to use the space effectively and to benefit members of the public who come into the building.
This will be an ongoing process and will be completed gradually due to time constraints for staff and funding.
We undertook a 6 month pilot of having a Local Authority Occupational Therapist working within a school setting, as well as linking to home life. Our aim to ensure that information flowed between teams is smooth and reduces the level of repetition of information for the families.
The Local Authority Occupational Therapist now work one day a week at Callaghan House to support affective joint working with the Health Occupational Therapy team.