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County Durham SEND strategy refresh

Published May 07, 2019 3.39pm

A strategy that aims to give children and young people in County Durham with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) the best outcome in life will be presented to councillors next week.

Cabinet will be asked to approve the County Durham SEND Strategy 2019-2020 when it meets on Wednesday, 15 May.

The strategy reflects the work undertaken by multi-agency planning groups, including engagement with stakeholders such as Making Changes Together, the recognised parent and carer partnership for SEND provision, and the eXtreme group, a group of young people with SEND who help to inform services of their experiences of life with SEND in County Durham.

Developing from the previous strategy, the refreshed version sets out a shared aim for all children and young people with SEND to achieve the best possible outcomes. To realise this vision the strategy provides three main objectives:

  • Provide better coordinated services for children and young people with SEND across the local area.
  • Children and young people with SEND have high quality support which meets their needs.
  • Ensure that young people with SEND are well prepared for adult lives and can live independently.

Councillors will also hear about progress to achieve the vision made throughout 2018, including autism training reaching a further 900 school staff, and a 4.1 per cent reduction in young people with SEND not being in employment, education, or training.

Financial pressures 

Cllr Olwyn Gunn, our Cabinet member for children and young people's services, said:"In County Durham we want to do the best we possibly can for children and young people with SEND with the resources that are available to us. However, the council along with our partners, including schools and the health sector, are continuing to face significant financial pressures to resource the support of these young people.

"To meet the expected funding shortfall for 2019/2020 we have been required to include the predicted £5.6 million budget shortfall in the general fund budget on a one-off basis, but this is not a sustainable solution.

"To find a long term solution a review of all areas of high needs spending is currently underway and it is hoped that our intense lobbying upon the Department for Education will result in increased funding from the 2020/21 Comprehensive Spending Review."

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