Projects

Locality Events for Achieving for Children, Richmond and Kingston Council

Background

In September 2014 the Children and Families Act 2014 came into effect changing how services are provided for children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND).

To support the introduction of these reforms, Achieving for Children, a newly set up community interest company providing Richmond’s and Kingston’s children’s services, commissioned OPM to deliver a series of engagement events.

These events brought together parents, school staff, and members of the Achieving for Children team to discuss the reforms and ask questions about the changes.

What we did

Seven events took place in school halls across the two boroughs throughout May and June 2014. A total of 269 people attended, of which over four fifths were parents. The format of the evenings combined presentations, small group discussions and question and answer sessions. This allowed participants to hear information about the planned changes, provide their feedback, and ask questions.

Although there was a lot of information to cover with many participants having detailed queries, facilitators were able to capture any comments and questions that were not heard during plenary sessions with the room as a whole. These questions were subsequently answered by Achieving for Children online, and fed into the final report. The sessions also used interactive voting to give a before and after picture of the level of knowledge held in the room.

Impact

Participant feedback suggested the locality events were successful in providing an opportunity for families and school staff to learn about the Children and Families Act 2014. Participants were keen to have further opportunities to learn more about the far reaching changes and felt that illustrative examples and FAQs may foster understanding. This is something that has been taken on board, with Richmond Council developing an FAQ section of their online guidance around SEND services.