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1million for exceptional needs in mainstream

Sheffield City Council has allocated an extra £1m to pilot a new way of funding support for pupils with exceptional needs in mainstream schools.

The extra funding will be devolved to 5-10 “families of schools” (each family consists of a secondary school and its feeder primary schools and nurseries). The schools in each family will need to agree which pupils should benefit, and how they should be supported. The intention is to target pupils who, without this additional support, might otherwise transfer into special schools or IRs, or be at risk of being excluded.

Parent Carer Conference

Around 100 parents and professionals attended the Forum’s 3rd Parent Carer Conference. The event took place on the 11th of October 2010, at St. Mary’s Church and Conference Centre in Sheffield.

The morning session featured a presentation by Mary Collins, Principal Educational Psychologist, about a proposed new strategy for meeting additional needs in Sheffield’s schools (the Inclusive Learning Strategy). Parents then got together in groups to discuss different aspects of the strategy and note down key points. The outcomes of these discussions were fed into the Council’s consultation on the Inclusive Learning Strategy, and also the government’s call for views for a forthcoming Green Paper on SEN.

Short breaks Q&A

Fundamentally a short break can be anything that provides the primary carer of a disabled child/young person a break from the additional responsibilities that this brings.  Short breaks can be overnight or day care and take place in a wide variety of settings.

During 10/11 Sheffield City Council received £2,025,000 revenue funding and a further £787,000 capital funding to support the transformation of short breaks.  This is in addition to the money that is already being spent on Short Breaks in the city, which is in excess of £4,000,000 per annum.

Fun in the Park

Disabled children and their parents, carers and siblings enjoyed a fun-filled day at Norfolk Heritage Park, courtesy of Sheffield Parent Carer Forum.

Glorious sunshine and a good mix of indoor and outdoor attractions meant that even with a record turnout of over 300 people, nobody had to wait long to try out the activities.

Two bouncy castles and a set of orienteering trails around the park proved a popular way to burn off some energy, while arts and crafts activities provided more sedate entertainment. Children in need of some quiet time away from the hustle and bustle had the opportunity to retreat to a “chill-out” room with fairy lights and sensory toys.

Improving childcare for disabled children in Sheffield

DCATCH (Disabled Children’s Access to Childcare) is a 3-year programme aimed at improving the range and quality of childcare available to families with disabled children/young people.

Under this initiative, Sheffield City Council has received a one-off grant payment of just under £120,000.

A working group of officers and parents has been meeting since May 2010 to decide how this money could be used to improve childcare for disabled children in Sheffield in a sustainable way (bearing in mind that the grant is ringfenced and must be spent by April 2011!). As central government have made no commitment to continue the DCATCH funding, the group is keen to maximise this opportunity and leave a legacy that lives on beyond March 2011.

Achievement for All

Sheffield takes part in pilot project

Achievement for All is a new pilot project which aims to improve outcomes for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), and Sheffield is one of ten local authorities in England taking part.

The project will run between September 2009 and September 2011 at 51 primary and secondary schools in Sheffield, as well as Talbot special school.