This was originally published on our old blog in June 2015
SNIX (Special Needs Index)
The summer began with the latest SNIX magazine being distributed to 1,700 people in Northamptonshire registered on the disabled children database. We are making some changes to the data base and would like to use the information about your children to let the Commissioners know what services might be needed. I will be emailing everyone later this year to ask your opinions. The magazine included articles about summer activities, short breaks, holidays, football and fishing. It would be really good to get your photos and stories about the summer for the next edition of SNIX. Articles need to be submitted by 11th September 2015 please.
We continue to plan the Summer SENDsation event at Northampton College in co-production with our colleagues from Northamptonshire Parent Forum Group and Independent Advice and Support Services. We have guide dogs coming, circus skills, inflatable games, didi cars, craft activities and lots and lots of sport. Please come and support us. It is free.
As the first year of the Local Offer draws to an end, we are looking at surveys and questionnaires about the experience and the product. The Dept for Education has tasked POET to produce questionnaires about peoples experience with the EHC process, and I was involved in recommending that Northamptonshire join in with the second year of testing. All of our partners in the East Midlands are participating and we should be able to get information back about the process and influence the future.
We are also procuring a survey for young people to complete about the Local Offer and this is being developed by Viewpoint. This is a company that specialises in surveys for young people, especially those being cared for by the Local Authority. This survey will also be available in PECs format to ensure that we can ask our young people, regardless of their ability to read the written word. But we do need feedback and information to influence services for the future.
I have also been attending the meetings with the Northamptonshire Federation of Disabled Sports as all of their groups are on the Local Offer: In the past this group has been able to support sports groups with grants for equipment and we are hoping that this will continue, but in order to so, the group needs people to donate money to them via the local My Giving site. The group meets regularly and is supporting the Special Olympics in Northamptonshire, hoping to reinstate this as a formal competition. My brother used to take part in this in his younger days, and my parents were so very proud of his achievements. Nowadays, one of the challenges sports groups face is transport to the training and events. As I think of my brother, I attended his annual review as part of his Circle of Support with his social worker and care providers. He is happier now than he has ever been , living supported 24 hours a day, in a client led situation in his own flat. He has put on a bit of weight though; he probably needs to participate in more sport!
The Local Authority is in the process of building a new County Hall in town centre, which I believe will be good for Northampton, but as part of this, we are being asked to think about new ways of working. I see this as a really exciting opportunity for the Local Offer, and I hope that instead of being tucked away at John Dryden House, we could get out and about into libraries and Children's Centres so that it will be easier for people who need the Local Offer to come and talk to us. Let me know if you think this is a good idea. And if so, where would you like us to be? Could being on a volunteer bus be useful to the rural community?
One of the most exciting things for me this month was being filmed with the Shooting Stars as they looked at the Local Offer. I was really, really nervous. I hope you find it useful.
The LA web team have trained us to edit the Local Offer web pages, we have been depending on them for it over the last six months, and we offered to be their guinea pigs to develop the training package for other staff. This means that we can now update the pages that sit behind the Local Offer search making us even more useful.
I have also been shown the testing for the blog site, and will hope to start using that soon. (and here we are!)
Northgate School’s Parent Support Worker invited us to their new parents evening on a hot evening in early July and as ever, it was a treat to meet with parents, and their children and offer information that they need. We are very happy to go out to other schools and do the same. Well done Becca on her first presentation since working on the Local Offer. Good job done.
Finally, Leanne and I went along to the County Cricket club, for me to make a short presentation to Children Centre staff, and for Leanne to hear from all the other partners, from health, social care and education about the services and provision available for the community that is Special Educational Needs and Disabilities. Someone described it as rather like speed dating, and so I was flattered to have people contact us afterwards. It was a good conclusion for Leanne’s induction . And the view of the cricket was really good too.