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Suffolk County Council launches new Transition Guide to support schoolchildren with special educational needs




Endeavour House, Ipswich (7074609)
Endeavour House, Ipswich (7074609)

A new guide to help teenagers with special educational needs progress into adulthood has been published as part of a major revamp of provision in Suffolk.

The 16+ Transitions Guide was published this month with the aim of helping youngsters with special educational needs (SEND), as well as parents and carers, plan for their future.

Among the advice and support it contains are public transport solutions, education, apprenticeship or employment opportunities, finance planning, health options and ongoing SEND services available.

The guide comes as part of a major shake-up of SEND services carried out in the last two years, following a poor inspection by Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission.

The new guide has been published as the two watchdogs returned to inspect SEND provision in Suffolk.

Judith Mobbs, assistant director for inclusion and skills at Suffolk County Council, said: “It’s a tough job for any child to grow up through that adolescent period and make a successful transition to adulthood anyway, without the additional barriers of having some kind of SEND need.

“All teenagers find it tough to find their way in the world; if you have got SEND needs as well, imagine how much more challenging that must be.

“We have been looking at how we can introduce a plan much earlier. We are looking at how we can introduce planning for adulthood from 13, and we have appointed a moving into adulthood lead.”

The plan has featured the council’s SEND team working alongside clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) and the Suffolk Parent Carer Network (SPCN) – which works with families to access adequate support – to create an easy-to-read guide for all areas of future planning.

Kate Chate, from SPCN, said: “This new guide is a great way for everyone involved in SEND to support young people with good, timely, consistent information on their journey into adulthood.

“We would like to encourage all parties to use it and contribute to its ongoing development by feeding back on how it has helped.”

Lisa Nobes, chief nurse with the NHS Ipswich & East Suffolk and NHS West Suffolk CCGs, added: “It is packed with helpful discussion plans, top tips, case study examples, useful information and links to all the relevant contacts, websites and helplines.”

Suffolk County Council recently announced it had formulated a £45.1 million plan to create more than 200 new SEND places, including creating three new special schools and establishing new SEND units at existing mainstream schools.

To view the guide, go online to www.infolink.suffolk.gov.uk.