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Richmond Council agrees updates to its SEND Futures Plan

11 May 2021

Richmond Council has agreed on the updated SEND Futures Plan and would like to thank all the parents, carers, partners, young people and schools involved in supporting the ongoing development of the strategy which helps improve outcomes for children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) in the borough. 

The SEND Futures Plan is a multiagency and community response aimed at improving services for over 4,000 children and young people with SEND who live or who are educated in the borough. 

The Council's Education and Children’s Services Committee first endorsed the SEND Futures Plan in July 2019, and since then much has changed, including:

  • Creation of the new Parent Carer Forum for Richmond, which is an independent group run by parents and carers for parents or carers of children/young people who have any form of special educational need. The Forum will help increase and diversify the opinions being captured to improve Richmond’s SEND system
  • Securing safety valve funding from the Department of Education in March 2021 – a total of up to £20 million over a five-year period to remove the current Dedicated School Funding deficit. This was a cross-party lobbying effort
  • The expansion of specialist school places. Over the past three years, specialist education places have increased by 82 places. Additionally, Strathmore and Clarendon special schools have both expanded  and a new special school (Capella House) has opened
  • A greater focus on partnership working, including working with the NHS Southwest London Clinical Commissioning Group. Future plans aim to improve this with plans to work with Healthwatch Richmond, as well working with Mencap on vocational pathways for young people. The Council is also increasing SEND provisions in other Council strategies, such as the upcoming Culture Strategy, and is working to make communities as inclusive as possible for children and families with SEND.

The updated SEND Futures Plan sets out next steps for the Council and its education and community partners, including:

  • The further expansion of local specialist places and special schools
  • Supporting children and young people in their preparation for adulthood by planning for transition to adult life from Year 9 and making sure that local provision is sufficient to meet their needs
  • Establishing a high-quality local therapy offer that supports children and young people to make good progress towards their goals and maximise their opportunities for inclusion and independence, including at 16 to 25 years
  • Improving access to specialist emotional wellbeing and mental health services and decreasing waiting times for these services

View the SEND Futures Plan.

Cllr Penny Frost, Chair of the Education and Children’s Services Committee for Richmond upon Thames, said:

"The SEND Futures Plan vision is that every child and young person with SEND belongs to a local, inclusive community that provides the education, health and social care support they need to develop their talents and skills, and that empowers them to live a happy and fulfilling life.

"We still have a lot to work on as we get closer to achieving this vision, but it’s encouraging to see the progress made since the plan was first endorsed in July 2019 – especially when considering the pandemic’s implications and the challenging financial context.

"I have been delighted to see involvement in this work by parents and schools, who play such a big role in delivering support and services for their SEND pupils.

"I would like to thank the children, young people, parents and carers, schools and the voluntary sector who have continuously given feedback on the services they receive – you have been instrumental in creating the SEND Futures Plan and the changes that have been made so far."

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Up to: May 2021

Updated: 11 May 2021