Lambeth sets out new plans for children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities

26 November 2021

Written by: Lambeth Council

Children and young people - Council statements and updates - Health and Wellbeing - News and announcements

Lambeth’s new Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and Inclusion Strategy is officially launched on Monday 29 November

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Lambeth sets out new plans for children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities

Lambeth’s new Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and Inclusion Strategy is officially launched on Monday 29 November, with a full launch week dedicated to this important work.

We’re hosting a series of events during launch week (29 Nov – 3 Dec) to highlight the new strategy, including Q&A radio talks with community-based Colourful Radio and a webinar for parents and practitioners.

The Strategy defines Lambeth’s commitment to improve the educational, health and emotional wellbeing and life outcomes for all young people in the borough aged 0-25 years who have SEND while promoting inclusion.

The SEND Local Offer joins up help and support services such as Education, Health and Social Care for children and for adults.

The Local Offer is launched alongside, and been designed to deliver, Lambeth’s new Strategy 2021-24. The SEND Local Offer has been updated to respond to comments from parents, carers and professionals who found the old version hard to access or said the advice online needed more direction on detail. Our strategy sets out Lambeth’s priorities for work over the next three years, with action points for each year.

The Strategy and new Local Offer have been signed off and launched in partnership by Cllr Ed Davie, Lambeth Council Cabinet Member for Children and Young People; Merlin Joseph, Strategic Director of Children’s Services at Lambeth Council and Chair of the SEND Strategic Board, and Andrew Eyres Strategic Director, Integrated Health and Care at Lambeth Council and NHS SE London CCG.

Word from the Cabinet

Cllr Davie said:“It is important that Lambeth and our partners work to understand and engage vulnerable learners in ways that work for them. We must accept the responsibility for responding to their varied strengths, needs, aspirations and interests. Our new Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Strategy and Action Plan is based on understanding that vulnerable learners are not ‘hard to reach’, but that services have sometimes been hard to access. Our year-on-year action plans will be creative, ambitious and person-centred.”

“We know how growing from a child diagnosed with SEND to a young adult accessing adult services, can sometimes be confusing for young people and their carers and families. Our new strategy prioritises making it as straightforward as possible. We need to be sure that all Lambeth’s young people can believe their local authority is here to help them overcome any barriers and help them learn the skills and find the opportunities to meet their aspirations – without limits.”

Children’s Services

Merlin Joseph, Lambeth’s Director of Children’s Services and Chair of the SEND Strategic Board, said:“In Lambeth we are fortunate to have a wide range of services in place to support the needs of our children and young people living with special educational needs and with disabilities. These include services to support their emotional wellbeing, youth centres, adventure playgrounds and the performing arts and also, for those with additional needs, more specialist services. Our refreshed Local Offer will make it much easier to find out what is available within our borough, something our families have clearly told us can be a challenge.  We are always looking to improve ways in which we can support children, young people and their families and we warmly welcome anyone to let us have their comments, questions or suggestions about  the new Lambeth offer”

“The launch of our new Lambeth SEND and Inclusion Strategy is another marker in our journey to ensure our children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities are able to thrive. Feedback from our 2020 joint area inspection was highly positive of the partnership working that we have been taking forward together in Lambeth. Our new strategy lays out how we intend to build on the successes we have already achieved. We know that the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted on the health and wellbeing of our children and young people with SEND and their families and our Strategy brings together key health, social care and education partners to ensure that we can support them to secure a positive future.”

 King’s College NHS CCG

Andrew Eyres, Strategic Director, Integrated Health and Care at Lambeth Council and NHS SE London CCG said: “Our Local Offer includes targeted support for all vulnerable learners in our schools, including children and young people with neurodiversity, speech, language and communication needs, and health and wellbeing or safeguarding needs. We aim to ensure that children can remain in mainstream education with the appropriate intervention from trained practitioners. We will also offer improved access to more inclusive social and leisure activities, such as after-school or college and holiday clubs, for those young people whose needs are currently not being met.

“One of our earliest top priorities is making sure we offer meaningful inclusion for diverse groups. We will set up an Inclusive Engagement Forum to provide children and young people with a voice for their lived experience, ensuring that they are heard and that they are part of helping to decide the shape and design of better services. An effective Communication Strategy will make news and information accessible to all parents, carers and families.”

More information 

What is SEND?

SEND stands for Special Educational Needs and Disabilities. SEND is important because is a statutory duty meaning that every local council and their partners must offer suitable support to children, young people, and their families. SEND can range from Autism (ASD), ADHD, Dyslexia, Cerebral Palsy and more. How complex or severe each need is can differ from person to person.

Lambeth’s Strategy and Local Offer

This strategy includes support for vulnerable learners, including:

  • Children and young people who have been identified as having a Special Educational Need and/or a Disability (SEND).
  • Children in Need (CiN).
  • Children and Young People who are on a Child Protection Plan.
  • Children Looked After (CLA).
  • Children and Young People who are Black, Asian or from an ethnic minority in our borough who may be disadvantaged by the curriculum and unconscious bias in education putting them at additional risk of exclusion, serious youth violence and future opportunity for education, training and employment.
  • Children with hidden disabilities who may not fit easily into SEND or diagnostic categories, but who are disadvantaged by not having their needs understood, e.g. neurodiversity needs.
  • Children and Young People who have emerged as vulnerable learners following the Coronavirus Pandemic.

Visit Lambeth’s Local Offer online.