Swindon SEND Summit 2019
On a surprisingly wet midsummer day (25th June 2019), Swindon held a SEND Summit.
Despite the inclement weather, attendance was excellent and included 4 young people – 3 presenters and 1 facilitator. As well as, an impressive video made by Swindon young people and inspiring artwork on the theme of climbing to the summit.
The morning session
The morning session was very well attended by over 92 participants from schools, which reflects the level of interest and concern around the issues of SEND and SEND financing. The first speaker, Jacqui Watt from Swindon SEND Families Voice, gave the summit a very powerful start. She emphasised the good aspects in relation to SEND in the borough but also gave the parent’s perspective about what needs to improve with communication being a key theme. This set the tone for the morning where it was clear there is so much that is working but also a considerable amount that we need to work on together.
Barney Angliss then outlined the national picture. This highlighted the impact of the 2014 SEND reforms, the considerable financial pressure on the system, the increasing preference for specialist provision and the recent rise in the number of EHCPs across the country.
Three young people from Horizon College then showed us how they had succeeded despite adversity and were now looking forward to a much more positive future.
The second part of the morning focused much more on Swindon itself with three different inputs from schools, which highlighted funding concerns and system issues.
An overview of how the High Needs Budget was spent was provided noting that the budge will be overspent this year. It is likely that there will need to be a 3 year deficit reduction plan put in place.
Future projections for SEND provision were also looked at with a growing population in the borough which could put increased pressure on schools and the current system.
Table groups worked on what needs to improve and also on formulating a response to the DfE’s call for evidence in relation to SEND funding. Roz Pither then summed up a range of key points made in the group work. In summary as we know, there is a lot to do to improve the system with a considerable pressure on resources.
The children’s messages and the strengths, issues and priorities identified as both Summit sessions will be taken forward to the work on the area SEND strategy through to 2022.
The afternoon session
The afternoon had the themes of SEND in the Champions and the tools and roadmaps we need to make this climb.
Presentations on the reach and impact of the ELSA project, the vision and drive for FISS (Family Intervention and Support Service were followed by 8 workshops:
Thanks to everyone who participated in the evaluation.