Stoke-on-Trent City Council alongside NHS partners and PEGIS have launched the city’s Graduated Approach ‘Making Inclusion Work’ to ensure adequate support is available to children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and their families.
The Graduated Approach method focuses on early identification of a child’s needs and their barriers to learning, making sure children and young people with SEND and their families are in the right place, at the right time with the right services. The approach offers guidance in how to start to remove these barriers so that all involved can learn and progress together at their own pace.
The council has identified key areas of focus such as mental health, post-16 education and preparing for adulthood.
Councillor Janine Bridges, cabinet member for the economy and education, said: “We aim to provide the best opportunities for every child in our city, especially those with SEND, and we are committed to inclusion at all levels. This is about changing attitudes and having shared values and high aspirations in the city. We know children and young people who have the opportunity to have their needs met in a mainstream setting have better life outcomes and their peers have a greater knowledge and understanding of the needs of their peers with SEND, and this experience and knowledge they take with them into their adult life. We want all our children and young people with SEND to be able to navigate around the city, seek and access support, have suitable housing and employment and strive to be as independent as possible.”
In order to develop the approach and take a more preventative style, the city council actively sought pupils and parents views to ensure their voices were heard.
Chelsea Stone, SENCO at Greenways Primary Academy said: “Our vision for Greenways Primary Academy is to challenge each child to reach their full potential in a safe, welcoming and happy learning environment. We encourage children to become independent life-long learners by developing intellectual curiosity, a thirst for discovery and achievement, a sense of understanding and compassion for others and the courage to act on their beliefs. This will be achieved within an inclusive school that values every individual and celebrates the diversity of our community. Every teacher is a teacher of every child or young person including those with SEND.”
The Graduated Approach booklet gives schools, colleges, families, health and social care workers and others who are involved in working and supporting children and young people with SEND, a clear and practical framework, following an assess, plan, do and review model. The booklet accompanies the website www.stoke.gov.uk/graduatedapproach which provides information on a wide range of day-to-day practice to support children and young people with SEND in their local mainstream school. The council will be supporting the implementation of the approach through a roll out of support sessions.
This comes as in August 2021 the ‘To be the best I can be’ inclusion strategy for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) 2021-2024 was launched. The strategy sets out the local authority’s vision, priorities and outcomes for children and young people with SEND, based on what they and their families have expressed is important to them.