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SEND Talkabout January 2018 - Commissioning Strategy

Our most recent SEND Talkabout was on Tuesday 30th January at Darton College Pavilion.  In response to feedback from some parents we held the Talkabout in the early evening.

Some of the issues parents and carers raised with us reflected messages we’ve heard from other parents, for example concern about mainstream schools’ ability to meet the needs of children with special educational needs.  We’ve shared this message with headteachers and the good news is they are very willing to work with us to review their provision and arrangements for children with SEND.  Over the next few months we will working with our local schools and an organisation called WholeSchool SEND to develop  a framework to carry out reviews and peer challenge of individual schools’ provision.  WholeSchool SEND is a coalition of more than 4000 schools, practitioners, charitable organisations, parents and young people, and it is part-funded by the Department for Education to support workforce development in schools, in relation to SEND.  The reviews and workforce development will also be supported through funding from The Barnsley Alliance, which is our schools improvement  partnership.

We also spent some time talking about our outline proposals for commissioning the specialist provision we need for children locally, as well as building capacity in mainstream schools to meet the needs of children with SEND.  We are concerned that some of our children have long journeys to schools outside of Barnsley and we would like more children and parents to have the choice of suitable school places locally.    It is important to say that if your child currently attends a specialist school outside Barnsley, and you and your child are happy with that school place, we would not disrupt that or withdraw your child from the school.  The commissioning strategy is about planning for the future and giving families and children a better choice.  We are currently consulting on our commission strategy for SEND places and we would like to hear your views.  You can access the consultation at

We will also be holding meetings in different locations, in schools in Barnsley, and we will publicise those meetings on this site.

We were asked if we thought the current SEND strategy had made enough difference to the experience of children with SEND and their families.  Our honest answer was ‘ No it hasn’t! ‘   There is a lot more to do.   Our current SEND strategy is very long and wordy, and we’d like to work with young people and parents/carers, as well as with our other partners, to refresh the strategy and make it more interesting and accessible. 

On the subject of partners, some parents/carers said they would like if partners from health and social care, or schools could attend some Talkabouts.   We’ll take that on board and include more partners at future Talkabouts.

We were reminded by some parents and carers that, for those children with EHCPs transferring for primary to secondary school next September,  this is an anxious time, waiting to hear where they have a secondary school place.  Last year we managed to give everyone either their first or second place, and to notify everyone by the February deadline.  We are working to repeat that this year.  We know the secondary transfer process can be  difficult  for children and parents/carers so, please do contact us if you have any concerns about school choices.

SEND Talkabouts have generally been welcomed and it’s a great opportunity for us to hear from parents and carers so we will continue to hold them.   We want to offer people and range of times and locations so please tell us if you have any suggestions about which time of day is best, or any particular venues you think might be good.

Who to contact

Contact Name
Margaret Libreri
Contact Position
Service Director

Local Offer

Last updated on 11/04/2018
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