This week I had the opportunity to meet with the Chancellor in my role as Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Nursery Schools to highlight the incredible role the sector plays in supporting children with special educational needs.
Hoyle Nursery School, Bury’s only Local Authority Maintained Nursery School, is rightly proud of its resourced provision for kids with SEN, and this is reflected in the fact the last 2 OFSTED Inspections have rated it as outstanding.
Hoyle is an example of “levelling Up” in action. Properly targeted, bespoke teaching that supports each child to achieve their potential, no matter their circumstances, providing a springboard at the beginning of their educational journey.
This shining example of good practice should not be the exception but what we as a community demand for all those with SEN; it must become the norm within Bury.
I am contacted regularly by families who face challenges to get the support their loved ones need. EHC plans identify educational, health and social needs and set out the additional support to meet those needs, but there are challenges for many to get the wrap-around support needed to make the plans genuinely effective.
These failures were highlighted in 2017 when a joint inspection carried out by OFSTED and the Care Quality Commission concluded, “Children and young people who have special needs and/or disabilities and their families have been let down.”
The report stated that organisations must improve joined-up working to ensure agencies collaborate properly and information must be shared between health services. I am afraid to say that I have yet to witness the dramatic improvement in the delivery of SEN provision the inspection required. There is a clear accountability gap for this failure. Do we have an Accelerated Progress Plan to address the continued shortcomings in provision? If so, how are we consulting local families on their everyday experience of the support their family member is receiving?
This is why I will continue to campaign for establishing an SEN Hub in Bury to provide a base for the integrated support and commissioning of services that are truly needed to ensure the bespoke needs of every child in our Borough are met.
I have asked the Council to implement this positive change and spoke at length with the Health Minister on this subject in Parliament this week.
I was pleased to see that Bury Council are to recruit 15 mental health workers. However, my plea to our Council is to implement the change needed now to give each child with SEN access to the best-integrated support. I will do everything I can to achieve this outcome.