Website launched to help children with special educational needs

News / Mon 24th Aug 2015 at 08:59am

Local OfferA NEW and improved website outlining the help available to children and young people with special educational needs (SEN) has gone live.

Since September 2014, local authorities have had a duty to publish an online ‘Local Offer’ which provides a rundown of the support and services available locally for children and young people with SEN.

The Essex Local Offer (http://www.essexlocaloffer.org.uk) has already received widespread acclaim, having being identified by the Communication Trust as an example of good practice.

The website has been praised by the National Deaf Children’s Society as one of few Local Offers which includes information about British Sign Language provision.

It has also been recognised nationally for involving young people and their parent carers in both its development and continued evolution.

Indeed, a refreshed website has now gone live following the latest feedback from existing users including parents and young people.

Some of the improvements made to the site include:

A printable pages feature
A clearer homepage for improved accessibility
Plus/minus button for reducing or increasing the size of text
More information on co-production and consultation activities that have taken place around the development of the Local Offer website
Google translate on the top tab so text can be translated into different languages
News and events more visible to end users
Cllr Ray Gooding, Essex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Education and Lifelong Learning, said: “We are committed to supporting our most vulnerable residents and I am delighted with the improvement to services for children and young people with special educational needs in Essex.

“Last year’s Government reform has presented significant challenges, requiring a much more joined up approach between education, health and social care services. However, we are already seeing some excellent results.

“The Essex Local Offer is a vital one-stop-shop for young people and their families and it is very pleasing to see it receiving such positive feedback as it continues to grow.”

The Essex Local Offer, which has had more than 200,000 page views since it was first launched in September 2014, provides information about areas including education, social care and family support, health, employment and training, equipment and resources, money matters, transport and housing.

Last year’s special educational needs and disability (SEND) reform, devised to give young people and their parents a greater say in the support they receive, has also seen education, health and care plans replace special needs statements.

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