Shropshire Council

Early Help hosting SEND 'Hear from, Chat with' sessions

23 January 2024 Last updated at 05:14

EH hub imageDuring November and December 2023, four SEND sessions ran across the county in Early Help Family Hubs in Oswestry, Shrewsbury, Market Drayton and Ludlow. These were attended by 24 parent carers who were able to chat with a range of professionals from education, health, social care and PACC.

The sessions were delivered informally with an initial introduction to the professionals available with parent carers then having the opportunity to speak one-to-one with the professionals they felt they needed to. Some parent carers sought information from just one professional whereas others spoke to a range seeking advice and support from education, health, care and PACC. Feedback from parent carers who attended the sessions have indicated that they found them ‘very useful' and that:

‘The session was structured well…an introduction to everyone before a more informal chat individually, [the] format made us feel at ease and able to ask what we needed.’

Parent carers were able to discuss a range of themes. This included, but was not limited to, professionals providing support and information on: 

  • Education, health and care plan thresholds and process
  • SEN support provided by schools
  • The notional budget and Graduated Support Pathway
  • School placements and post-16 options
  • Pathways and strategies for neurodiversity, 
  • Support from the School Nursing Team
  • Speech and language support
  • Community based activities
  • Social work assessment under the criteria of disability

Many of the professionals were able to offer strategies to parent carers to try at home that were specific to the individual child/young person being discussed. Professionals also signposted parent carers to places of support such as the SEND local offer, SEND IASS and the Healthier Together website.

Parent carers said that they found the sessions informative, leaving comments such as:

'There were a variety of professionals to speak to and offer support.’
‘Everything was covered thoroughly.’
'It was perfect.’

All parent carers who provided feedback said they would recommend these sessions to someone else.

The professionals in attendance stated they enjoyed being out and about across the county engaging with parent carers. Members of the SEN team said they found the sessions really beneficial enabling them to speak to parents face to face. They spoke of how the sessions provided the opportunity to explain many aspects of SEND and education, health and care plans in a meaningful way to parent carers, thus helping to remove barriers and create a partnership between parent carers and professionals from the SEN team.

Thanks go to the parent carers who attended and the professionals involved who committed to coming to these sessions. Karen Levell, Fran Davis, Sue Carroll and the many SEN senior case officers and SEN case officers all from the SEN team, Jennifer Griffiths (designated clinical officer for SEND) and Carrie James (associate designated clinical officer for SEND) from Health, our social care representative Sharon Graham (designated social care officer for SEND) and Zara Bowden and Sarah Thomas from PACC, along with their volunteers. 

Future plans

Following the positive response to the Early Help hosting of SEND Hear from, Chat with sessions, planning is already underway for another series of sessions across the county during the spring term, between February half term and Easter. We're looking to respond to parent carer feedback on location and time in an effort to widen our reach and make these sessions available and convenient to as many parent carers as possible. The sessions will continue to have a focused theme, with specialist professionals invited to attend. However professionals from education, health and care along with our parent carer association, PACC, will still be there to provide advice and help to parent carers on any matter they need support with. Please do keep an eye on our SEND local offer and social media channels for more information.