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Manchester's SEND Local Offer Newsletter: January 2015

Welcome to Manchester’s first Local Offer Newsletter.  The aim of this newsletter is to  ensure that parents, carers and young people are kept informed about how Manchester is developing its Local Offer and that they have the opportunity to get involved and give feedback about the Local Offer. 

Where to find Manchester’s Local Offer

On 1 September 2014, it became a statutory requirement for all Local Authorities to publish a Local Offer to provide information for parents, carers and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND), in a single place, to help them to understand what services they and their family can expect from a range of local agencies.

 Manchester’s Local Offer sits on the Family Services Directory www.manchester.gov.uk/sendlocaloffer

Many families will be able to go online and look for information and advice themselves.  If you don’t have access to the internet at home, you can visit your local library, where staff will be available to help.

Did you know that free Learn My Way training is offered in a number of libraries to groups looking for informal and friendly training around using computers and the internet?  If you want to find out more, please contact Emma Harrison, Regeneration Officer on 0161 234 3565. 

A series of Local Offer Hubs drop-in sessions are also being held across the City. 

Sacred Heart Children’s Centre, M18 7NE                                                       13 January 2015;  3 March 2015           9.30am to 12.30pm

Westwood Street Offices, M14 4PH                                                           11 February 2015;   8 April 2015           10am to 1pm

Woodville Children’s Centre, M8 0NE                                                          14 January 2015;   4 March 2015           10am to 1pm

Hallam Road Children’s Centre,  M40 2SY                                                     6 February 2015;   10 April 2015            10am to 1pm

Benchill Children’s Centre, M22 4PZ                                                             28 January 2015; 25 March 2015           10am to 1pm

Burnage Children’s Centre,  M19 1AG                                                         25 February 2015; 22 April 2015            10am to 1pm

Information, Advice and Support (IAS) Manchester

 Key to delivering the information, advice and support elements of the Local Offer is IAS Manchester, which is the new name for the Parent Partnership Service.

For many years, the Parent Partnership has been helping parents and carers to be more involved in their child's education.  IAS Manchester will also support parents, carers and young people to access information and advice about health and social care issues.  The parent's confidential helpline number has stayed the same 0161 209 8356 and young people themselves can also ring the helpline for advice.

Independent Supporters

Key to the SEND reforms is the development of new Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans and the conversion of Special Educational Needs Statements and Learning Disability Agreements to EHC plans.  This is a massive task but to help families, the Department for Education is funding a programme of Independent Supporters over the next 2 years. These supporters will work with parents, carers and young people so that they are able to contribute fully to the EHC plan. For some children and young people, moving to an EHC plan may be quite an easy process and not all families will therefore need an Independent Supporter.  IAS Manchester is working in partnership with the Together Trust to co-ordinate Independent Supporters in Manchester to ensure that this resource is allocated to those families who need it.  All requests for independent supporters are dealt with by IAS Manchester so please ring the helpline 0161 209 8356 If you feel an Independent Supporter could help your family.

The Local Offer Review Board

 The first meeting of the Local Offer Review Board took place on 4 November 2014.  The Board is chaired by Ann Thornber, the Strategic Lead for SEN and has representatives from health, education, social care and parent groups.  Click here to see the Board’s Terms of Reference. 

We would like to get more parent groups involved and to invite parent representatives to the Review Board meetings on a rotational basis.  We have developed a role profile to outline what this would involve.  Click here to find out more. If you are interested in attending future meetings, please ring IAS Manchester or email parents@manchester.gov.uk.  The next meetings will be on 18 March and 10 June 2015.

And finally…

 We are keen to get feedback from parents, carers and young people about Manchester’s Local Offer and suggestions on how this can be improved.   You can do this by completing the feedback form on the Local Offer, emailing parents@manchester.gov.uk or ringing IAS Manchester on 0161 209 8356.