14 October 2019 Children and learning

Health, SEN and disabilities newsletter - October 2019

This newsletter shares updates from the SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities) team. It’s for all parents, carers and professionals, including education providers, involved with SEND in the city. Find out the latest more about the latest actions, events activities below.


 Welcome to the second edition of our newsletter! If you have any comments on it or suggestions for future stories – I’d love to hear them! Please email me at SEN.team@brighton-hove.gov.uk

Check out our first edition, in case you missed it!

Georgina Clarke-Green, the council’s assistant director for health, SEN and disability

Celebrating Disability Pride

 Disability Pride in July was once again a highly successful and well attended day. Council and health staff were at our stall all day, networking with the amazing range of other partners who came along, including Amaze. It was great meeting some of the young people and staff from Amazing Futures. We look forward to supporting future Disability Pride events! 

Creation of the specialist community disability service

Our last newsletter gave details of the work going on to make the transition from child to adult services better for parents, carers and young people. Here's an update:

Services for adults with learning disabilities and children with disabilities are changing to make things easier for service users. 

The current Community Learning Disability Team and the Children’s Disability Service are becoming one service. From Monday 16 September, the new Specialist Community Disability Service will offer a whole life approach for families making the transition from child to adult services.

The service has been developed in response to feedback from parents, carers and young people, and includes:

  • three Social Care teams working with the age ranges 0 to 14, 14 to 25 and 25 plus
  • a Specialist Health team for adults with learning disabilities
  • occupational therapy for children with disabilities
  • the Shared Lives Service
  • provider services for children and adults.

The new-look service will be based in Wellington House, Wellington Street, Brighton, which currently provides a day service for people who have learning disabilities and complex needs. The day service will continue to offer activities for the same number of service users, but will primarily use the left side of the building, which has seen significant investment to improve the quality and suitability of the space.

Cameron Brown, Head of Disability Services, commented:

"We’re really grateful to the Day Service staff for all their hard work to make this change successful and continue to deliver a great service for the same number of people in a smaller space."

£350k mental health boost

Mental health services for schools in Brighton & Hove are getting an extra investment of more than £350,000.

Inclusion support service update

The city’s inclusion support service (BHISS) brings together teams including educational psychology, autism and language support, early years, literacy support, sensory needs support (hearing and visual), schools wellbeing and social, emotional and mental health. All our schools have allocated specialist support staff.

Like most councils, we’re increasing the amount of funding delegated from our central budgets to our schools. Schools can now decide whether or not to buy BHISS services from the council.

Most have chosen to buy BHISS services for 2019-20. Discussions about how schools will use the services available to them will take place on a school by school basis.

BHISS also runs a range of high quality training and professional development opportunities for school and college staff.

Investment in neuro-developmental services

The CCG has secured phased funding from April 2020 to take forward the improvements identified in last years’ business case. The improvements include:

  • a single pathway/hub for neuro-developmental issues
  • additional capacity to address long waits for assessment and diagnosis
  • increased family support courses
  • development of support for very complex, high risk children and young people with neuro-developmental conditions who may be at risk of an inpatient admission.

Commissioners worked with parent and carer groups and the council to identify areas for investment and improvement. A big thank you to everyone for your continuing commitment and high quality input!

Dads Group for dads and male carers of children and adults with additional needs

Our city has a Dads Group for dads and male carers of children and adults with additional needs. It’s funded by Amaze.

It meets on the last Thursday of the month in the main bar area of the Stoneham Pub on Portland Road, Hove from 7.30pm to 9.30pm.

Coordinator Darren Walker says: “It’s a great chance to socialise, talk about issues around your children if you want to, share information and support each other.

“We have a closed Facebook site. It’s a forum for questions, helpful topics, and also general chit chat. I have found it also helps people bond with each other.

“Sometimes new dads want to join the Facebook site first to get a feel for what we’re all about before coming to one of the informal monthly sessions.

“Feel free to contact me for more info via the Facebook Group.”

Attachment aware behaviour guidance success

It’s great that so many of our schools are using our ‘Developing an Attachment Aware Behaviour Regulation Policy’ guidance to work on their policies and evaluate their practice.

We encourage schools to involve their link educational psychologist (EP) in this process and to share what they have developed and learnt with other schools, even if this is still work in progress.

Link EPs will also be talking with their schools about how they can support training and follow up embedding work - linked to Emotion Coaching and The Secure Base Model Frameworks.

If anyone is interested in being part of a stakeholder group linked to the Guidance evaluation and roll out, please get in touch with Sarah Ahmed: sarah.ahmed@brighton-hove.gov.uk

Sarah is assistant principal educational psychologist in BHISS. She recently delivered a well-attended workshop on the guidance at the Virtual School Annual Conference.

" "Council has new head of statutory SEN services

Rhian Hughes starts as head of SEN statutory services at the end of October. She has 13 years of experience in SEN management and has worked in four London boroughs.

Our thanks go to Carolyn Bristow, who has returned to her substantive post within Families, Children and Learning.

Carolyn has built up good relationships across the SEND system locally, so it’s great that she is going to retain oversight of the SEND strategy developments – we’ll keep you updated on this.

Thanks also to those who have signed up for the mailing list – if you want to join please contact SENDstrategy@brighton-hove.gov.uk

Review of SEND – five years on from the Children and Families Act

The government has just announced the launch of a cross-cutting review of SEND.

Five years on from the Children and Families Act, it is time to review how the reforms it introduced are supporting children and young people with SEND and make sure they are being implemented as well as possible.

The internal review will look across education, health and care to consider:

  • the evidence on how the system can provide the highest quality support that enables children and young people with SEND to thrive and prepare for adulthood, including employment
  • better helping parents to make decisions about what kind of support will be best for their child
  • making sure support in different local areas is consistent, and that high-quality support is available across the country
  • how we strike the right balance of state-funded provisions across inclusive mainstream and specialist places
  • aligning incentives and accountability for schools, colleges and local authorities to make sure they provide the best possible support for children and young people with SEND
  • understanding what is causing the demand for education, health and care plans
  • ensuring that public money is spent in an efficient, effective and sustainable manner, placing a premium on securing high quality outcomes for those children and young people who need additional support

The review will inform and support the government’s commitment to revise and update the SEND Code of Practice before the end of 2020.

We will be monitoring closely the work of the review and aligning our service with the recommendations.

Useful contacts

Brighton & Hove City Council SEN and Disability Services

Amaze – charity for families with disabled children and young people in Sussex

Brighton & Hove Parent and Carers Council (PaCC)

We’re proud to work with PaCC and local charity Amaze