01 April 2014 in News

North Yorkshire County Council have published the first draft of the Local Offer. It is a "work in progress".

It can be found here.

01 April 2014 in News

This article is a report from the NYCC Conference: The biggest change in special education in 30 years: Preparing for the Children and Families Act 2014. You can find more articles on the conference here.

This workshop was run by a foster parent of children with SEN.

The aim of the workshop was to encourage people to look at the resources they already have and to build upon these resources. By building upon current resources by thinking of who to turn to, how to gain further information and how to improve existing services this should assist with taking charge of how lives are lived and help with decision making.

An example was given of a young person needing to undertake work experience. The owner of a café regularly visited was approached and the work experience was implemented.

The workshop was very enthusiastically and well presented. The idea of looking at what is already there, maximising its potential and building upon it is a principle that could be applied to everyone in all aspects of life.

In theory it is an excellent idea, however there is a need for the people involved to be confident, articulate and to have the ability to be able to assess situations. People who are already overwhelmed by situations that they already find themselves in, and/or are struggling to cope, and those who lack confidence in social situations or decision making would not benefit from this principle. Support would need to be provided to a lot of people in order for them to be able to maximise the opportunities available.     

01 April 2014 in News

This article is a report from the NYCC Conference: The biggest change in special education in 30 years: Preparing for the Children and Families Act 2014. You can find more articles on the conference here.

This workshop gave an overview of the Mental Capacity Act 2005

I felt that the title of the workshop was misleading. I was expecting to learn about the different interventions that can be put into place in order for young people to be able to express their opinions and to be able to make independent decisions e.g. total communication and advocacy services. I was also expecting to learn about services available to families in order for them to be able to receive support so that their views and opinions can be adequately expressed e.g. parent support services and advocacy services.

The workshop covered the legal aspects of the Mental Capacity Act. (MCA)

The Act relates to people aged 16+. A person is assumed to have capacity unless it is established that they lack capacity. All practicable steps to help the person decide must have been taken without success; using communicating effectively, presenting information in a way supportive of communication needs.

Of particular note was that a person has a right to make ‘an unwise’ decision. If parents do not approve the decision it cannot be over-ruled if the young person has capacity (think teenager!).

Any acts or decisions made under MCA on behalf of a person who lacks capacity must be in the person’s ‘best interests’, particularly relevant when parents and carers are involved.

The details of the Act including exceptions etc. are available on a power-point presentation from Sylie Barret the Mental Capacity Coordinator for NYCC.

01 April 2014 in News

This article is a report from the NYCC Conference: The biggest change in special education in 30 years: Preparing for the Children and Families Act 2014. You can find more articles on the conference here.

This workshop was run by ‘Achievement for All’, a charity which has introduced key working as a scheme in schools.

If schools want to participate in the scheme they have to buy it in.

The idea of key working is to create improvement in outcomes for vulnerable and disadvantaged young people.

Staff within schools are trained to become key workers for young people and their families. The key worker’s role is to listen to the families and young people and to develop a relationship with them. They then ascertain the needs of the young people and their family and take action and coordinate all the services involved with the family. The aim is to raise achievement by assisting families to overcome challenges and to enable them to raise concerns at an earlier stage. Action plans can be introduced as a tool to assist achievement – by identifying challenges and looking at what is aimed to be achieved – the plan can then work on ways to overcome the challenges in order to try to meet achievement goals.

This would be a good service for families who are dealing with a lot of different agencies and are finding it hard to draw everything together. However as the scheme needs to be bought in and staff need to be willing to take on the extra responsibilities associated with being a key worker it may not become readily available within schools. It does not necessarily have to be implemented by schools but would require other agencies to engage.

21 January 2014 in News

The following information has been provided by NYCC as an update to what is happening in relation to the SEND reforms taking place due to the Children and Families Bill. 

The Children and Families Bill, going through Parliament at the moment, will simplify assessment and planning for children and families with special educational needs (SEN) and for the first time will give the same rights to 16-25 year olds, who have left school, to ask for an assessment of their needs, make choices about which college they want to go to and appeal about the support they receive if it is not what they want.

1. To get education, health and social care services working together 

What the law will probably say:

There will be a duty on local authorities and Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in Health to commission services and provision together for children and young people with SEN. 

What North Yorkshire say:

We are working with our colleagues in the four CCGs in North Yorkshire about what this means for health services, and also with the CCG which covers the Craven area.  The first services to be considered for joint commissioning, with the City of York, are likely to be those which meet the needs of children and young people with speech, language and communication needs.  We have also begun to plan for a 14-25 integrated Transitions Service with colleagues in Adults’ Social Care (HAS) and in Health.

2. To make sure children, young people and families know what help they can get when a child or young person has special educational needs

What the law will probably say:

All local authorities will have to publish a Local Offer describing all the services normally available to children, young people and their families and how you can use them. It will say what help there is for travelling to school or college; for training, for work and for preparing to live independently. 

What North Yorkshire say:

A working draft is now on a local authority website and a public version will be available on-line by the end of September. After that we will think how else we can make it available to those who do not have internet access. We are trying to develop a young people’s version of the Local Offer linked to the Youth Services website as well as a parents’ and professionals’ version on the County Council website as part of a much bigger county-wide Community Directory. A group of school Special Educational Needs Co-ordinators (SENCos), early years’ managers and Special Educational Needs staff in colleges have been involved in writing local offer summary advice for settings, schools and colleges and this information has been shared through special needs networks. Parents and young people have also been closely involved with advising on these developments.

3. To make sure that different organisations work together to help children and young people with special educational needs

What the law will probably say:

The new law will expect many organisations to work together to make help and support to families better. These will include other councils, schools the council maintains, academy schools, special schools and colleges, nurseries, other early years settings, further education and sixth form colleges, youth offending teams, hospitals and other parts of the health service.

What North Yorkshire say:

We have been meeting with people who work in all of these places and organisations to talk with them about what the new law means for the ways that they work with us. The new Education, Health and Care plans will help us to work together to make sure young people can achieve the outcomes we have agreed with them. 

We want to be able to develop services together, agree how we can get better value for money and how we can do a better job of meeting young people’s special needs between us.

4.To give children and young people and their parents more say about the help they get

What the law will probably say:

Councils must take notice of what children and young people with special educational needs, and their parents, have to say about what help they are given. Their wishes and their feelings would have to be taken into account too.

What North Yorkshire say:

The Local Offer is the description of all the Services and provision normally available for people with special needs and disabilities. It will also allow people to comment on the information and how it is presented so we can review and improve it as we go along. Every education, health and care assessment will involve a meeting between the family and the professionals to agree what help will be needed so that the young person makes progress.

5. The Government is suggesting that one overall assessment will look at what special help a child or young person needs with their education, and their health and social care needs, all at the same time

What the law will probably say:

There would be a new type of assessment, looking at the child or young person’s special educational needs, together with their health and social care needs. A young person or their parent could ask the council to do an assessment. Or the child or young person’s school or college could ask the council to do an assessment. The council would then have to decide whether the child or young person needs special help with their education. It would have to ask either the young person, or their parent, what they think. 

What North Yorkshire say:

Whilst you or anyone who works with your child can ask the local authority to do an assessment, we would like to know some things about your son or daughter before we can make that decision. We will ask one of the professionals, who knows you well, to sit down with you and talk to you about what is going well, what is not going so well, what is important now and in the future and what you want your child to be able to do that he or she cannot do now. 

If you are a child or young person you will have your chance to tell us anything important about yourself that will help us to understand how we can help to make life better for you. 

If the local authority then agrees to go ahead with the assessment, we will use that information to help us decide who else we need to ask for advice and we will not ask you to tell us the same things again.

6. The idea is for a child or young person to have one plan for meeting their education, health and social care needs, which can run from birth to 25 if it needs to

What the law will probably say:

To replace the ‘Statement’ of special educational needs or the ‘Learning Difficulty Assessment’ that children and young people get now, there will be a new plan for how the child or young person can get the help they need with their education, health and social care. This would be called an ‘Education, Health and Care Plan’ (EHC Plan). You will be asked what you want to achieve. As well as saying what help the child or young person needs with their education, the plan would say what they should be able to achieve if they get that help.

What North Yorkshire say:

We have agreed how we want to change assessments and planning to include educational, health and social care needs. We are trying to cut down the number of times you have to tell us the same information and we have agreed that the plan will be drafted at a meeting between the family and those professionals who have given us their advice. The EHC plan will focus on outcomes for young people – what do you want your child to be able to do that he or she cannot do now? We will then talk about what support your child will need to achieve those agreed outcomes and then we will decide together which services or what provision would be best able to give that support.

7. To make sure children, young people and their parents can choose some of the help they need

What the law will probably say:

Under the new law, a young person who has an EHC plan, or their parent, could ask the local council to give them their own ‘personal budget’. This is the amount of money the council has to pay for the help they need with their education, health and social care. The young person or their parent could ask for some or all of this money as a ‘direct payment’ to spend on the help they need. Or they could agree how the council will spend it on helping them.

What North Yorkshire say:

If we agree to do an assessment and to write an Education, Health and Care Plan, then we will ask you if you want to have a ‘personal budget’. We will work out the cost of all of the services and provision agreed in the Plan and that total is the young person’s personal budget. 

We will talk to you as parents or if you are a young adult, about whether you want us to: 

  1. look after the money and make the provision as agreed in the Plan; 
  2. give some or all of it to a third party, perhaps a voluntary agency, to manage it for you; 
  3. give you some or all of it as a ‘direct payment’ for you to buy your own support, in which case we will pay the money into your account and ask you from time to time how you have spent it and how it is helping you to achieve the outcomes we agreed together.

8. To help sort things out if a child or young person or their parent needs to appeal about the help they get

What the law will probably say:

At the moment parents can appeal about the help their child or young person is getting. Under the new law, young adults will be able to appeal themselves about the help they are getting, whether they are still in school or attending a college. If a young person or their parent wants to make an appeal, you will be told about how a ‘mediator’ can help you and the local authority to make the right decision without taking sides.

What North Yorkshire say:

We are considering how best to provide advice and guidance, dispute resolution and mediation.  This might involve changes to the Parent Partnership Service.  We are talking to other Local Authorities nearby about a joint mediation service that is not a direct part of any Local Authority so they can remain neutral when listening and helping us all to reach sensible agreements. 

How families and young people have been involved in these proposals

  • We will think carefully about how we can promote the involvement of children and young people, parents and carers in these developments.  We would like participation to be meaningful and at all stages of the process.
  • We have been working with the parent and carer forum, NYPACT, and with the Flying High Group of young disabled adults to agree what the Local Offer should look like, what questions it should answer and where the information should be published.  We have had some very helpful feedback from both groups that has led us to make changes to improve them.
  • At their suggestion, the Flying High Group is going to help us produce a DVD about different professional roles to clarify the services they may come into contact with and how they can help.
  • We talked through how we propose to conduct an EHC assessment and plan with a group of parents and carers, listened to their suggestions and made some changes to the format and to the forms as a result.
  • We are still talking within the Local Authority about how we can make this work so families and young adults can have a single payment from all of the organisations rather than face three or four different accounting systems. When we are clearer how this can be done then we will let you know.
21 January 2014 in News

The Parent Partnership Service in North Yorkshire have begun an on-going engagement process about the provision of an Information, Advice, Support and Disagreement Resolution Service for families of children and young people with SEND.

“North Yorkshire County Council is seeking parents' views about the future of the Parent Partnership Service including how families can access information, advice, support and independent disagreement resolution services in relation to their child's special educational needs or disabilities. A number of engagement events are being arranged across the county. Feedback from parents will be important in planning future services.” 

The dates below are three of the confirmed meetings where you will be able to take part in this engagement process and we have been informed that there will be more venues across the county confirmed within a few days. Please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.to confirm you attendance and which date/venue you can attend:


Wed 29 January from 10.30 - 12.30

St Andrew's Church, Ramshill Road, Scarborough


31st Jan 10am start

The Arches at Holy Trinity Church, Ripon


11th of Feb, 10am start

The Memorial Hall in Pickering


21 January 2014 in Resources


[posted on behalf of North Yorkshire County Council]


North Yorkshire County Council is committed to savings of £92m by the end of March 2015. Following recent announcements by the government over future funding it now needs to find a further estimated £77m between 2015 and 2019. The council proposes to make a £400k reduction in the budget for post 16 home to school and college transport as part of this savings target.


To this end the Executive Members for the Children and Young People’s Service have decided on an open and wide consultation including with parents, schools, and colleges on a proposal to achieve the first £200k of the savings target. It is proposed that this would be achieved by increasing the charge for post 16 transport from the current charge of £360 per annum to £480 per annum. The new higher charge would apply to those starting a course at a college or school sixth form from September 2014. Young people part way through a course would continue to pay the existing rate.  


It is proposed that in some circumstances free transport would apply to vulnerable young people including: students with special needs; looked after children; young people who are living on their own and young carers. It is also proposed that the charge will be reduced by 50% for students whose families are on low income and students who are young parents on low income, and who could provide evidence of a means tested benefit.  


It may be necessary to further increase the charge from September 2015 to achieve the remaining £200k saving but the council would try to avoid this by working with schools and colleges to further develop local post 16 transport arrangements. We will be starting discussions with schools and colleges later in the year to explore options.


The full consultation document can be found by following the link below. We would welcome your comments by the closing date of Friday 6th December 2013. www.northyorks.gov.uk/26571 

21 January 2014 in News

The government is planning big changes to the way support is given to children with special educational needs (SEN) in England. The changes are in the children and families bill, which is going through the final stages of parliamentary process at the moment.

The draft SEN code of practice has been published for consultation. Have your say and help influence how services and support in your area are provided. The consultation closes on 9 December 2013.

Please follow this link for information and ways to consult.





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