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Early intervention scheme makes a difference

Posted on Friday 15th March 2024

It’s estimated up to 800 children might benefit across the county each year.

Children needing help in mainstream classrooms are already benefitting from a new project providing extra support.

Staffordshire County Council is funding schools to step in at the first opportunity to help children with special educational needs progress at their local mainstream school.

And in the first few months, 80 children have been supported already.

Jonathan Price, Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet member for Education (and SEND), said:

Parents tell us that they would prefer their children to be educated close to home alongside their friends and we are doing all we can to support that and keep them in mainstream schools wherever possible.

Demand is rising and this initiative is designed to provide support in the classroom quickly and effectively.”

It’s estimated up to 800 children might benefit across the county each year at a time when the demand for special educational needs support in Staffordshire schools has risen by 30 per cent in the last five years, surpassing the national average.

Rachael Tuckwell, a Special Educational Needs Co-Ordinator at Pirehill First School, Stone, has been one of the first to use the support. She said:

When a child is having a tough time at school, there could be various reasons behind it.

The process we have to follow to figure out if a child can access statutory support can be really stressful for both the child and their parents.

But now, with this new early intervention approach and personalised support from an educational psychologist, we can get to the heart of the issue right away when a child shows signs of needing assistance. And that kind of support really makes a difference for the child’s school experience.”

More than 21,000 children in Staffordshire require support in school, which is approximately 16 per cent of the total school population. 

 The new approach, called ‘Enhanced Assess, Plan, Do, Review’, has been developed in partnership with parents, carers, healthcare professionals, schools, and colleges, with over 300 individuals contributing their thoughts and feedback. 

More than 900 professionals joined training sessions throughout December to ensure they are equipped to effectively use this new approach in their schools.  

£1.2m has been identified from existing budgets to support the new approach and the authority is committing educational psychology resources as part of the process.

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