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Council overhauls SEN funding

Sheffield has adopted a new system for calculating special school budgets and allocating top-up funding to mainstream schools. Find out how the changes will impact on different groups of children.

Consultation on short break and respite launched

A consultation on changes to short breaks and respite services was launched at an event at Sheffield Town Hall on 12 March. Council representatives presented four proposals, based on feedback received at previous consultation events. These are:

1. Short breaks grant Parents will be asked to comment on the following options:•    Reduce the grant to a maximum of £200 per family (£400 at present)•    Choose between receiving the short breaks grant or a short breaks service •    Discontinue the short breaks grant•    Introduce means testing•    Stop the short breaks grant when a child reaches 18 (19 at present)•    No preference

Breaking down language barriers

How can we reach parents who don’t speak English, to ensure that we are able to represent their views?

We are currently developing a new approach based on working with bi-lingual parent volunteers. To test how this might work, we have had our leaflet translated into Urdu and included a mobile phone number for an Urdu-speaking volunteer (not their personal phone). If this is successful, we would like to extend it to other community languages.

Health and Therapy event attracts over 120 people

Since we organised our first parents’ conference in 2008, holding a big annual event has become a bit of a tradition. Many of our past conferences had an education theme, such as post-16 education or the SEN (special educational needs) reforms – so we thought we’d do something a little different this time and focus on health and therapy services instead.

Council struggles to meet 15 February deadline for EHC plans

The law says that final EHC plans for pupils due to move from infants to juniors, and from primary to secondary school, must be issued by 15 February. Sheffield City Council have advised us that they will not be able to comply with this deadline in all cases. They are, however, trying to keep families informed of progress, and to preempt issues which caused a lot unnecessary anxiety last year (particularly the automatic issuing of mainstream allocation letters to families who had applied for, and been granted, a specialist placement).