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Portsmouth - Have your voice heard
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Portsmouth University Values and Behaviour in Healh and Social Care

The University of Portsmouth are seeking volunteers to support their values-based admissions process in health and social care courses, to help develop the next generation of health and social care professionals. 
Values-based admissions means recruiting students for health and social care courses who, alongside their academic achievements, demonstrate appropriate behaviours and values that we expect from health and social care professionals.
The university would like to invite members of the local community to be involved in defining these values and behaviours. There are two opportunities to be involved, and if you have transport costs these will be reimbursed if agreed with the university in advance.
Wednesday 19 August
10am - 3pm (lunch and refreshments provided). St Michael's Building, University of Portsmouth
Group sessions looking at the behaviours and values that you expect from health and social care students. This session will be split into two parts. In the first part you will be asked to develop a bank of questions that could be used as part of our interview process. Following lunch there will be the opportunity to meet with course leaders from a range of our programmes to discuss what is and what should be a part of the curriculum of these courses.
Thursday 20 August
30 minute slots from 9.30am - 4pm (refreshments provided). James Watson West Building, University of Portsmouth.
We would like to record members of the community talking about the behaviours and values that they want to see when they are engaging with a health or social care professional. We do not want you to talk about your personal experiences, but rather how you would expect/like to be treated in the most positive way. You will be allocated a time to arrive and will then be interviewed on camera. These films will be used for a variety of purposes including teaching, recruitment and some will be placed on the University’s Values web page.
If you would like to take part in either of these opportunities, please email or call 023 9284 3540 and leave a message.

Later in 2015, Whizz-Kidz is launching a campaign about travel - and we need YOUR help!

Please follow this link to take part in the survey:

Cut to mental health services

Worrying figures published today.

Interesting article regarding the inspection of mental health services

Interesting article regarding the inspection of mental health services

Statements of SEN and EHC plans

Statistics - national statistics
Statements of SEN and EHC plans: England 2015

A very interesting read!

Further Government advice for all to read and be made aware of...


Please click on the link below to read how Local Authorities are being advised on implementing the new 0 - 25 special needs system.

Although this has been directed at local authorities and their partners, it is essential reading for parents, carers and all those who care and support children and young people with a special educational need or disability...

...A letter from Edward Timpson MP, to parents...

Dear Parents 


This September we're making changes to the law for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities. The new law will result in changes to the way you and your child receive support from your local council, health and social care services and your child’s nursery, school or college. I therefore wanted to write to you with information about what this means for you. 

A better family centred approach 
Many parents have welcomed the changes the new law brings, particularly the greater focus on personal goals, increased family involvement and improved rights and protections for young people in further education and training. I know that some parents remain concerned about the changes and are nervous about the speed of change. I want to reassure you. This is not about cutting services but about creating a better system that puts you and your child first. It will take time and the changes will be gradually introduced over the next three and a half years. I can also reassure you that the current protections you and your child have will continue and, in many cases, be enhanced further. 

From statements to education, health and care plans 
We are replacing statements of special educational needs and Learning Difficulty Assessments with a single education, health and care (EHC) plan for children and young people with complex needs. The EHC plan will place much more emphasis on personal goals and will describe the support your child will receive while they are in education or training. We’re also introducing personal budgets to accompany this plan to give you more control over the support you and your child receive. The amount you would be given, and how it can be spent, is something that you would agree with your council. 

From School Action and School Action Plus to SEN support 
For children with less complex needs but who still require help we are introducing a new system called special educational needs (SEN) support which replaces School Action and School Action Plus (and the equivalent in nurseries). It will also be available in colleges. The process will be similar but it will be less about counting the hours or resources given to your child at nursery, school or college and more about what your child has achieved as a result. 

Moving to the new system 
If your child already has a statement or Learning Difficulty Assessment they will be transferred to the new system within the next three and a half years. The transfer is likely to happen around transition points in your child’s education such as when they move from primary to secondary school. Your local council will let you know when you are due to switch and there’ll be Independent Supporters on hand to make the transfer as simple as possible. The legislation relating to statements and Learning Difficulty Assessments will be withdrawn when everyone has completed the transition to the new system. 

If your child currently receives help at school through School Action or School Action Plus (or the equivalent at nursery) the transfer to SEN support will take place between September 2014 and spring 2015. It is likely to be during one of your child’s termly reviews. 

Concerns about losing support 
Some parents have expressed concern that their child will lose support because of the changes. I can assure you that no one will be left without support just because of the changes. We have not changed the definition of special educational needs or the basis on which councils determine whether a child needs a statutory assessment. 

Next steps 
I hope this letter helps answer some of your questions about the changes. I’ve focused on the aspects of the reforms that you are likely to be most interested in at the moment but there are lots of other changes being introduced to improve the system. This includes: improved coordination between local authorities, health, care and education providers; greater rights and protections for young people in further education or training; and more control for families. 

Your local council will shortly be publishing a ‘local offer’ which lists the support and services you and your child can access under the new system. If you’d like to get involved in developing this speak to your council or your local Parent Carer Forum. We’ll be issuing a parent and a young person’s guide to the new 0 to 25 Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Code of Practice later in the year and we’ll continue to work closely with our partners to help you and your child prepare for the changes. In the meantime you can speak to the Council for Disabled Children (who have published a guide for parents) Contact a Family, the National Network of Parent Carer Forums or your local council for advice. You can also find more information about the changes on 

Minister for Children and Families 

Top Children & Families Bill Myths – Statements & EHC Plans

Top Children & Families Bill Myths – Statements & EHC Plans 

This information sheet is designed to dispel some of the myths associated with the progress and implications of the Children & Families Bill, with a specific focus on the transition from Statements to the new Education, Health and Care plans. Below are some of the key myths we hear which are NOT TRUE. 

1. Myth: ‘My LA has said they don’t issue statements any more as the system has changed’ 
– Statements will continue to be issued until September 2014. Some local authorities (on the ‘Pathfinder’ programme) are issuing EHC plans early in place of Statements, but these plans will no legal status. After September only EHC plans will be issued and will be legally binding 

2. Myth: ‘My school has said that they don’t have to follow the Code of Practice any more as there is a new one’ 
– The new Code of Practice has not been approved yet, so the current Code will continue to apply until the new Code replaces it which is likely to be September 2014. 

3. Myth:‘My child’s statement will end on 1st  September 2014’ 
– From September 2014 there will be a transitional period (up to 3 years) during which statements can be transferred into EHC plans. A statement will remain valid until an EHC plan has been developed, or is agreed to be no longer necessary. 

4. Myth: ‘I’ve been told that EHC plans are the same as statements and have the same legal duties’
– EHC Plans will have no legal force until September 2014. Like Statements, any specified and quantified Special Educational Provision in the plan will have to be delivered by the local authority and can continue up until the age of 25 if a young person stays in education or training. 

5. Myth:‘My LA has said that only pupils with statements who receive a certain level of funding will get an EHC plan’
– The threshold for EHC plans will be the same as those for Statements, that is where the special educational provision necessary to meet the child or young persons needs cannot be 
reasonably provided within the resources normally available to mainstream schools and early years settings. 

6. Myth: ‘I have been told that if I’m not happy with anything in my child’s EHC plan I can appeal’ – The educational aspects of an EHC Plan can be appealed to the SEND tribunal (from September 2014) in the same way as those of a statement. Arrangements for challenging Social Care and Health are still to be 
finalised, but should be in place by September 2014. 

7. Myth: ‘When I ask for my child to be assessed under the new system the LA must carry out a social care assessment now as well as an assessment of his educational needs’ 
– No this is not true. The duty to assess a child’s needs is only in relation to their educational needs not any social care needs they – or you as their carer – may also have. This type of assessment still has to be triggered separately by contacting your children’s social work team. Once is has happened any information should be recorded in the EHC plan. 
Where can I find out more? IPSEA ( is a registered charity offering free and independent advice to parents of children with special educational needs in England and Wales. IPSEA’s general advice line is 0800 018 4016. 

If you need to talk to someone you can contact your local parent partnership service who offer free, impartial, confidential information and advice to parents and carers of children and young people with special educational needs. You can find your local service here: or call 020 7843 6058. 

Contact a Family ( have a Helpline for parents of children and young people with SEN - helpline 0808 
808 3555 / email

Children and Families Act Gains Royal Assent

Children and Families Act 2014 Gains Royal Assent

The new Children and Families Act - given royal assent last month - will mean changes to the law to give greater protection to vulnerable children, better support for children whose parents are separating, a new system to help children with special educational needs and disabilities, and help for parents to balance work and family life.
 The act also ensures changes to the adoption system can be put into practice, meaning more children are placed faster. Reforms for children in care can be implemented including giving them the choice to stay with their foster families until their 21st birthday.
 The Act includes a number of new measures to protect the welfare of children, including:
·         Changes to the law to give children in care the choice to stay with their foster families until they turn 21
·         A new legal duty on schools to support children at school with medical conditions better
·         Making young carers’ and parent carers’ rights to support from councils much clearer
·         Reforms to children’s residential care to make sure homes are safe and secure, and to improve the quality of care vulnerable children receive
·         A requirement on all state-funded schools - including academies - to provide free school lunches on request for all pupils in reception, year 1 and year 2
·         Amendments to the law to protect children in cars from the dangers of second-hand smoke.
The Act will also help people to better balance their work and home life with the following measures:
·         From April 2015, mothers, fathers and adopters can opt to share parental leave around their child’s birth or placement. This gives families more choice over taking leave in the first year - dads and mothers’ partners can take up to a year, or parents can take several months at the same time
·         From 1 October 2014, prospective fathers or a mother’s partner can take time off to attend up to 2 antenatal appointments
·         Adoption leave and pay will reflect entitlements available to birth parents from April 2015 - no qualifying period for leave; enhanced pay to 90% of salary for the first 6 weeks; and time off to attend introductory appointments. Intended parents in surrogacy and ‘foster to adopt’ arrangements will also qualify for adoption leave and pay
·         Extending the right to request flexible working to all employees from 30 June 2014
·         Replacing the current statutory procedure, through which employers consider flexible working requests, with a duty on employers to consider requests in a ‘reasonable’ manner
For more details on the Act and how it will affect you, please click on the following link:

What's impacting on disabled children and young people in Portsmouth?

CWD Priority G Board
The CWD Priority G Board was set up approximately 3 years ago, as there was not a Priority under the Children’s Trust Board Strategy that was looking into matters concerning children and young people with disabilities.  It is made up of professionals from the local authority, health, social care, voluntary sector, education and essentially, parent carers.

The Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Reforms
There is currently a Children and Families Bill going through parliament.  Attached to this Bill is a SEN Code of Practice.  Once these have passed through the Lords, which is due to have occurred by next summer, both of these will supersede what was in place before.  These are known as the: SEND Reforms.

The CWD Priority G Board is currently focusing on the SEND Reforms and they are due to be implemented from September 2014.  Some Reforms have already been put into place, like the SEN School Funding.  What this means is that if a child or young person’s SEN cannot be appropriately supported within mainstream schools with a budget of up to £6,000 then the school needs to apply for further funding. 

Education, Health and Care Plan
This will take the shape of an Education, Health & Care Plan (EHC Plan).  This Plan super-cedes a Statement of Special Educational Need and will follow the child or young person from the point of issue until 25 years of age, unless the young person no longer continues in education.

One of the biggest changes is the involvement from the start of the parent carer, and if suitable, the young person themselves.  In the new Plan, an “All About Me” fact sheet about the needs, wants, aspirations of the young person will have to be included.  In fact, once the young person reaches 16, they can become the author of their own Plan and make decisions on where they wish to be educated and what course they would prefer. 

The Local Offer
Another big change is the Local offer.   Every service that has input into a disabled child’s or young person’s life will have to produce a “Local Offer”.  This includes, for example, schools, nurseries, children centres and colleges, organisations like Enable Ability or the Wheelchair and Continence Service. 
For example a school will need to clarify exactly what it can provide, primarily on their school website, although hard copies will be made available on request, for a child with additional needs of up to £6,000.  If that school fails to provide the support it has outlined in its Local Offer, then the parent carer can use it as a means to challenge the school to ensure that the right support is put in place for their child or young person.

Personal Budgets
If you are issued with a Plan, then you, as the parent carer can request a Personal Budget.  This requires further work and the local authority has yet to determine quite how it will work for families, but an example is as such: I currently receive 3 pads per day for each of my children from the Continence Service.  If I requested a Personal Budget, it might mean that from the funding I receive, I could find a cheaper provider other than Tena (for example), to supply the pads and therefore get more pads per day for my children.

Dynamite (disabled young people’s voice)
Dynamite was set up to encourage and involve the young people themselves in the SEND Reforms.  It is for young people aged between 11 – 25 years old.  We have a Youth Worker called Marie Devlin who is travelling around the city to already set-up groups to inform the young people on how they can help.  Each young person who becomes involved with Dynamite and agrees to take part is reimbursed with shopping vouchers of their choice.  This is to thank them for their time and contribution.
There are 3 main ways to encourage young people to get involved:
1.      The local authority wants to produce a DVD from their point of view, as an opportunity for them to say their story.
2.      The local authority would like the young people to be the designers of the “All About Me” part of their Plan.

3.      Dynamite Launch Party
On Wednesday, 19 February, we are inviting the Portsmouth disabled youth to Action Stations! at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, to take part in all the facilities on offer including Lazer Quest and the Helicopter Flight Simulator.  It is from 10 am to 2 pm and there will be Information Stalls and a Futures Opportunities Fair as well.  If you know of anyone who would like to take part, either as a guest or an exhibitor, please let Deirdre or I know.

Portsmouth Parent Voice
Portsmouth Parent Voice is a service for families with children and young people with additional needs and disabilities, 0 – 25 years old.  Parent Voice has two essential roles:

1.      To work together with the local authority to ensure that parent carers have a voice in how services are shaped and delivered locally.  For example, a Parent Carer Co-production Group has been set up to look more deeply into the SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disability) Reforms that are currently being drawn up for Portsmouth.

2.      To support parent carers, signpost them to other relevant services and inform them on current issues that will affect theirs and their families lives.  For example, we have a Facebook page and a monthly e-newsletter which we email out to all the parent carers and professionals that are on our database.
If you have any questions, please do contact either Deirdre of myself and we will do our best to answer them.

Mary Ive – Coordinator: Portsmouth Parent Voice
Deirdre Smith – Parent Engagement Officer
Marie Devlin – Dynamite Youth Worker

Tel: 07825 185608
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