The work of a team which supports children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) in Wolverhampton was celebrated at an event recently.

The City of Wolverhampton Council's SENSTART (Special Educational Needs Statutory Assessment and Review) Team, was one of 15 teams from councils and children's trusts across the region to be recognised at the West Midlands ADCS (Association for Directors of Children’s Services) Network's West Midlands Team Excellence Awards 2023.

The SENSTART Team undertakes Education Health and Care Needs Assessments of children and young people from birth to 25 years of age who have special education, health and care needs. It places children and young people with Education, Health and Care Plans in educational provision, and it reviews and monitor provision and outcomes set out in an Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs).

The team has dramatically changed the way it works over the last 2 years, which has brought about a noticeable improvement in the quality of EHCPs and ensured that more and more plans are completed in a clear, transparent and timely way, with a compliance rate far in excess of the national average.

Work has also taken place with wider services across education, health and social care to develop holistic packages of support, consideration of transition, preparation for adulthood, and support for school SEN coordinators.

Councillor Chris Burden, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: "The SENSTART team has been through a significant period of change in the last 2 years, but has remained dedicated to improving the service and keeping children and young people at the centre of its thinking, always striving to improve their outcomes.

"As a result of the changes we have made, children and young people are able to receive the education, care, quality and level of support they need at a much earlier opportunity through the EHCP process. Outcomes are able to be monitored better through clearer expectations set out in the plans, and families feel more assured that they are receiving their plans in a timelier manner.

"This recognition from the West Midlands ADCS Network is richly deserved, and I would like to congratulate them on their success in the West Midlands Team Excellence Awards 2023."

Jo Britton, Chair West Midlands ADCS Network, said: "Celebrating great achievements is central to any system that wants to thrive, grow and improve, so for those who have been nominated as a Children’s Services Team of Excellence 2023 a huge congratulations. There was only one nomination from each local authority and trust, so inevitably there are others back at the office, who whilst also doing great stuff, just missed out this year."