Improving learner outcomes

Informing children about the Local Offer and their rights

Kids group hug

Author Anita Devi

Date 6th Dec 2017


In this blog, we’ll explore different approaches to informing children and young people about the laws around SEND and their rights, drawing significantly on the work of the Council for Disabled Children (CDC), as they are a leading delivery partner for implementing the SEND reforms in England. 

The two quotes below highlight the importance of publishing information that is easily understood by children, young people and their families. This was also a central point of the recommendations for change in The Lamb Inquiry 2009.

Quote 1:

Local authorities must ensure that children, young people and parents are provided with the information, advice and support necessary to enable them to participate in discussions and decisions about their support.

- 0-25 years SEND Code of Practice 2015 (p21)

Quote 2:

The local authority must ensure children, young people and parents are provided with information and advice on matters relating to SEN and disability. This should include:

  • local policy and practice
  • the Local Offer
  • personalisation and Personal Budgets
  • law on SEN and disability, health and social care, through suitably independently trained staff
  • advice for children, young people and parents on gathering, understanding and interpreting information and applying it to their own situation
  • information on the local authority’s processes for resolving disagreements, its complaints procedures and means of redress

- 0-25 years SEND Code of Practice 2015 (p33)

SEND and The Local Offer

Case study: Bournemouth YMCA (Chatterboxes Twitter @Chat-boxes)

The Chatterboxes is an award-winning youth-led project giving disabled young people in Bournemouth a voice in the community. The Chatterboxes have produced their own promo video to tell us all about who they are and what they do. These young people created their own youth-friendly video version of the Bournemouth Local Offer.

A bundle of paper fortune tellers

Mental health resource by The Chatterboxes – click the link to make your own.

Making Sense of the New SEND Law

Your Rights, Your Future is a toolkit of interactive training, developed by the CDC partnership team and Making Ourselves Heard, in partnership with disabled young people. It provides resources to equip practitioners to help children and young people understand the changes to the SEND law, and their rights to be involved in decisions about their support. Young people identified these key priority areas:

  • Education, Health Care Plans
  • Post-16 decision making
  • The Local Offer
  • Personal Budgets

The guides and activities in each of the areas can be delivered as a one day session or broken into smaller chunks over a defined period. Several video clips have also been included to support understanding and provide first-person testimonies by young people with special educational needs or a disability.

Activity 18, outcomes road graphic

For example, Activity 18 provides this poster Outcomes Road, which can be used as a visual prompt for discussing post-16 options and decisions, the information they need to achieve desired outcomes, where they can go for information and who can help, and how to overcome potential barriers.

The focus of this resource is on developing decision-making skills through collective dialogue.

Children’s Rights

In July 2017 The Children's Rights Alliance for England (CRAE) (currently down) published two pamphlets in child-friendly language, summarising the concluding observations of the UN Committee on the Rights of Child. This was funded by the Department for Education and they summarise how well the UK is respecting children’s rights.

  • Summary for 7-11 year olds
  • Summary for 12-17 year olds

They include a foreword by Robert Goodwill MP, the newly appointed Minister of State for Children and Families. A range of issues are covered, including making sure that children have a decent place to live, are kept safe, have a good education and are listened to.

CRAE worked with children at Hove Junior School and their Change it! steering group to co-produce the summaries to ensure they are accessible to children of different age groups.

Final reflections...

It is important that we communicate key information to children and young people in a way that is accessible to them. How well do you do this in your setting/local area? Are the children and young people involved? What could you do improve the quality of information?

About the author

Anita Devi is Director of ADL, An Education Consultant & SEND Specialist | Twitter @Butterflycolour


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  • OLT
    OLT said on: 6th Dec 2017 at 10:49

    Do share your thoughts and ideas with us.

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