Croydon Council has this week opened consultations on plans to support children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) to lead safe, healthy, happy, independent lives, and reach their full potential.
Children and young people with SEND, their families, and those with an interest are invited to give their views on both Croydon’s Draft SEND Strategy 2019-22, and its Draft Post-16 Travel Assistance Policy for young people with SEND. Both can be viewed at www.croydon.gov.uk/SENDconsultations
Croydon’s Draft SEND Strategy sets out its aspirations for all children and young people with SEND – that they will live fulfilled lives and be active contributors to the borough’s future. This includes supporting them into adulthood, so that they achieve independence and employment, whenever possible, in or near their local community.
The strategy outlines how Croydon will meet children and young people with SEND’s needs over the next three years. It has been developed by the council in close partnership with children and young people with SEND, their families, local partners in health, and mainstream and special schools.
The strategy is based on identifying children and young people’s needs at an early stage, and ensuring they and their families are supported in the right way, at the right time. It focuses on young people’s well-being and attainment, building on their strengths through local education, health and care pathways.
The strategy has been developed as the council, and its partners are increasing specialist education provision for children and young people with SEND, meaning that more will be able to attend special schools or colleges near their home. A new special school for ages 2-19 is due to open in September 2020, and specialist college education provision, the post 16-SEN Centre of Excellence, will open at Croydon FE College the same year.
The council is further consulting on a new transport assistance policy for children and young people with SEND. The proposals will change the way that the council assists young people aged 16-18, with SEND, to travel to and from school, further education and training.
The policy is committed to supporting all pupils with transport needs, whilst also helping students who are able to travel independently or use public transport to do so. This will help to build their confidence, enable them to have a similar experience to their peers and help them to achieve greater independence. Many young people want to be as independent as they possible can be and this policy will assist them to do so.
“We want all our children and young people to reach their full potential – to be the best they can be. We will continue to listen to children and young people with SEND, and to their families, and develop a strategy that will ensure we meet their needs, both now and in the future. At the heart of this is identifying their needs at an early stage and ensuring they have access to the right support, at the right time.
“We are also significantly improving the specialist education provision in our borough, which means more young people with special needs will be able to access the high-quality learning and care we want them to have, nearer their homes.
“Our strategy and our travel assistance policy are both important documents setting out how we will support children and young people with SEND into adulthood, helping them move towards independent and fulfilled lives, within our community. If you have an interest, please get involved in our consultation – we want to hear your voice.”
Councillor Alisa Flemming, cabinet member for children, young people and learning