coproduction and parent participation

SEN Support Resources in Bolton

In 2019 we were part of a task and finish group to look at experiences of SEN Support and consider how Bolton could coproduce information and resources available for settings, professionals and families.
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Task and Finish Group

The group was chaired by Sue Cornwell, Head of SEND in Bolton and Principal Educational Psychologist.

The group was made up with practitioners from Ladywood Outreach, Bolton Behavior Support, Speech and Language Therapy, Primary and Secondary SENCO’s and 2 parent carers. 

Parent carer feedback

The parent carer experiences that we shared with the Task and Finish Group included the following:

  • It is hard to understand what SEN Support means for your child or young person.
  • Everything is about EHC Plan’s, there is no information about SEN Support.
  • What can be provided if your child or young person is under SEN Support.
  • The Assess, Plan, Do Review cycle that is talked about isn’t clear what it means.
  • When should settings be referring to other services.
  • What should settings be doing to support children and young children with specifc conditions such as Autism, Dyslexia etc.

What the group worked on…

We quickly started to realise that we needed a very visual resource regarding SEN Support, which could be used not just to explain what support should be available, but could also support discussions with families. 

An initial draft started to emerge.

The plan emerged to develop a set of visual resoures for each of the most commonly found SEN. Exepctations of support were then detailed by appropriate practitioners. 

Image by <a href="">Freepik</a>

 What has happened since?

There is now a full chapter of resources within the Bolton SEND Handbook covering all these resources Click here for the Bolton SEND Handbook

Bolton Parent Carers, working with Bolton Information Advisory Service have developed a Parent Carer Workshop that is based on these resources and what parents and carers can expect from their Bolton setting. Click here for workshop details

Several schools in Bolton have links to the SEN Support Resources on their websites.

Below are some examples of the resources coproduced by the group…

How has parent participation made a difference in this project?

The parent carer voice of children who are supported by SEN Support can all too easily be lost by professionals, with so many processes focusing on those with EHC Plans. Therefore within this project, to be able to include the parent carer voice of SEN Support parents brought an incredibly powerful voice to the room. For the professionals involved to hear the experiences of families made a massive difference, especially in terms of availability of being able to access trustworthy information. Also the experiences of parents and their conversations with SENCO’s was illuminating within the task group. It became evident that the information created would need to be a tool to provide information as well as empower parents to challenge settings.