Myself and some colleagues from the development team at Capita One recently attended the NASEN Live SEND conference in Bolton. It was fantastic to meet so many individuals with such a passion for improving lives for children and young people with SEN and disabilities. It was also a great opportunity to hear the latest advice and guidance from industry experts, including the Department for Education, the SEND legal sector, the Independent Parental Special Education Advice (IPSEA) service and influential national voices such as NASEN themselves.
The themes running through the conference were those of cultural change, person-centred approaches and a clear focus on outcomes. There was a real sense of excitement about the difference that can be made if the culture of the reforms are fully embraced, but also a sense of frustration and disillusionment among a selection of attendees at some of the challenges being faced - economic, organisational, and in terms of clarity around process.
The conference included a varied set of seminars ranging from two year old progress checks to working with children with mental health issues in educational settings. I was particularly interested to attend the legal update led by Jane McConnell from IPSEA which highlighted some of the areas where it is important for local authorities to ensure their processes meet legal requirements in relation to SEND. Getting this right can help an authority avoid potential challenges at a time when there may be limited resources available to manage the processes, so the guidance given was welcomed.
There was also a huge variety of exhibitors offering a wealth of experience, knowledge and ideas about improving outcomes for children and young people with SEN and disabilities. It was great to see several Capita Technical Partners displaying their software.
I came away from the conference with ideas buzzing around my head about the ways in which we can support you to save time on process, allowing more time for person-centred practice moving forward. I'm really excited about the launch of the first phase of our SEND portal for parents, young people and professionals, which will help you cut down on administrative tasks and give families the opportunity to complete parts of a child's EHC Plan simply online.