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Consultation under way for out of school SEND activities

Hundreds of families are being asked for their views about changes to the way out of school activities and respite are provided for children with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) in Norfolk.

Norfolk County Council is consulting on a new approach to work with families to create a plan of activities and support for children with SEND which focus on their needs, instead of focusing on setting a budget for the child and matching support to that budget.

The consultation is part of a broader review of the county council’s £2.4 million a year Short Breaks service, which supports around 1,700 families with activities and support at home, at centres and in the community.

County councillors at County Hall are looking at a new approach to work with families on SEND needs
County councillors at County Hall are looking at a new approach to work with families on SEND needs

The consultation and review do not propose any reduction in access to Short Breaks or reduction of the service's £2.4 million annual budget. It seeks to increase choice of activities on offer in local areas and give opportunities to experience activities together, if that is what’s right for a child and their family.

The service review aims to consider new inclusion co-ordinators to support more local sports and interest clubs to include children with SEND, the council directly commissioning new mobile rural short breaks and more local short breaks to improve the range and quantity of provision in localities and expanding the service to include pre-school age children with SEND.

Families will still be able to choose the provision they prefer and pay for some of this directly using pre-paid cards. All current activities, clubs and providers will still be available and there will be no change to access to specialist care and support.

The Short Breaks service provides assessments and funding for children and young people with SEND aged from five to 17 to take part in out of school activities including summer clubs, days out, specialist support and care, and overnight stays. It is currently facing a 75 per cent increase in demand for its services.

The service aims to provide the additional support children with SEND need to have fun experiences, establish friendships, and develop confidence, independence, and the social and emotional skills to enable them to transition to adult life successfully. Whilst the children are participating in activities, respite is provided for their families.

The consultation is open to all, and families already in receipt of Short Breaks have been contacted directly.

To get involved in the consultation, which runs until July 25, go to www.norfolk.gov.uk/shortbreaksshortbreaks.

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