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Updated SEND Toolkit aims to ensure consistency across Cheshire East

27 June 2022

Cheshire East Council’s  SEND team has made some important updates to the SEND toolkit.

The toolkit, which was first published in 2017, is a comprehensive resource aimed at all educational providers and settings which support our children and young people aged 0-25 years.

The document has been held up as an example of best practice by everyone from the Department for Education and Ofsted to other local authorities and the National Association for Special Educational Needs (NASEN). To date it has been used by more than 150 Cheshire East schools and more than 100 early years settings, with dedicated sessions held for parents, carers, governors, headteachers, newly qualified teachers and council staff.

The document was produced in partnership with SENCO s, post-16 representatives, parent/carers and a wide range of specialist education, care and health services.

The toolkit contains detailed guidance on how educational settings can identify children and young people with different types and levels of need. And it provides information on appropriate steps and strategies to support children and young people in these circumstances. 

It also provides clear information about when a request for an Education, Health and Care needs assessment, or specialist services, may be required.

The toolkit is an evolving document and Cheshire East Council’s  SEND team regularly updates the guidance in line with changing requirements and feedback. 

The latest addition to the toolkit is a dedicated section covering sensory processing - where a child or young person may have difficulty processing the information they receive from their senses, for example touch, hearing, taste etc.

Dawn Cranshaw, Inclusion Quality  SENCO at Cheshire East Council said: “We were noticing more and more signs of children or young people with sensory processing challenges and many of our  SENCO were asking what they could do to support them. So, we have now added a specific section to the toolkit which guides SENCOs, teachers and teaching assistants on what to do if they identify these issues in a child or young person. 

“As with the other sections of the toolkit, the new section guides staff through a graduated approach. This starts with how to identify concerns before covering appropriate responses and strategies. It’s built on three key questions: what are we seeing? What should we do next? And what can we put in place? 

SENCO's  and teaching staff are then directed to appropriate resources and information and can also access a list of suitable contacts at the council to access further support.”

Additional updates to the toolkit are also currently being worked on by the  SEND Team around speech, language and communication. These updates are expected to be published in the summer, and later in the year the team says it will add updates on mental health, including all aspects of Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services for those with SEND

Dawn adds: “The toolkit is central to our goal of delivering consistency for our children and young people with  SEND in Cheshire East, and it’s essential that it is regularly reviewed and adapted in line with developing practice and as  SEND evolves. 

“A consistent approach to identifying needs and putting in place appropriate provision is vital if we are to ensure everyone has access to the right provision, in the right place and at the right time.

“By keeping the  SEND toolkit constantly updated we will ensure it remains relevant and is an effective way of sharing best practice and practical guidance for all educational settings. Ultimately it means our children and young people with  SEND will be able to achieve positive outcomes and will be included in their local setting where possible.”