New public consultation seeking views about sensory impairments in the west of England: Image - Have Your Say

09 Oct 2019

New public consultation seeking views about sensory impairments in the west of England

Parents, carers, professionals alongside children and young people with sensory needs in the west of England, are being asked to share their views about how to improve support in a consultation launched today (Wednesday, 9 October).

The consultation is open until 4 December 2019 and can be accessed through the Bristol City Council's consultation hub and all four Local Offer websites.

Feedback from the consultation will inform the redesign of the Sensory Support Service, accessed by children and young people with hearing, visual or multi-sensory impairments. 

The Sensory Support Service is part of the South West’s Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) provision. Bristol City Council manages the Sensory Support Service for the joint local authority areas: Bristol, North Somerset, Bath and North East Somerset (BANES) and South Gloucestershire.

In 2018, the joint authorities ran a stakeholder engagement survey, coordinated by North Somerset County Council, as well as engagement events in the four areas. Views given in the survey have been incorporated into proposals outlined in the consultation which aims to improve local support for children and young people with sensory impairments.

Councillor Anna Keen, Cabinet Member for Education and Skills in Bristol, said:

“Parents, carers and children and young people told us that they would welcome changes to the Sensory Support Service so that it has a greater long-term impact on the lives of children and young people with sensory impairments. This consultation is an opportunity to have a say on five specific proposals.

“Our aim is to help as many children and young people with sensory impairments as we can so they do well at school and college and are educated within their local community with their friends. We have no intention to reduce any specialist qualified teacher posts as part of this process.

“We fully understand that here in Bristol we need to continue to improve SEND services and keep them under review, and that is what our co-produced proposals would do. Please share your views to help us create the right support for the young people and families they deserve.”

Five proposals to redesign the Sensory Support Service provision have been put forward for public consultation:

  • To extend the Sensory Support Service to help children and young people up to age 25 years.
  • To replace 30% of one-to-one family learning sessions with group family learning sessions for Early Years, School Age and Post-16 parents and carers.
  • To implement joint local authority funded sensory impairment awareness training programme for Early Years, School Age and Post-16 education settings.
  • To use a wider range of ways to provide information to children and young people and their families all year round; including a hotline, telephone and video conferencing and improved local offer websites.
  • To commission a new contract with the charity Guide Dogs for the Blind for the provision of the habilitation service. This service provides training to children and young people and involves developing personal mobility, navigation and independent living skills. The provision of this service will be extended to include all four joint authority areas: Bristol, South Gloucestershire, North Somerset and Bath and North East Somerset (BANES).

Drop in sessions for parents, carers and young people

We are running drop-in consultation events during October and November 2019. These events will be an opportunity to ask questions about the proposals and provide feedback. At each event there will be access to translation and interpretation services, British Sign Language Communicators, scribes and the online consultation via Council laptops.

  • Bristol: Tuesday 15 October 08.30 – 12.30

Sensory Support Service

Elmfield House

Greystoke Avenue

Westbury-on-Trym

Bristol BS10 6AY

  • Bristol: Thursday 24 October 13:00 – 17:00

Sensory Support Service

Elmfield House

Greystoke Avenue

Westbury-on-Trym

Bristol BS10 6AY

  • North Somerset: Monday 28 October 11:00 – 13:00

Castlewood

Clevedon

BS21 6FG

  • North Somerset: Wednesday 13 November 11:00 – 13:00

Town Hall

Weston-Super-Mare

BS23 1UJ

  • South Gloucestershire: Monday 28 October 15:00 – 17:00

Orchard Room at Baileys Court

Baileys court Rd

Bradley Stoke

Bristol

BS32 8 BH

  • South Gloucestershire: Wednesday 13 November 15:00 – 17:00

Armadillo Youth Café at Yate Shopping Centre

Yate Town Council

Station Rd

Yate

BS37 4FW

  • BANES: Wednesday 06 November 13:00 – 17:00

Royal British Legion

Charlton Road

Keynsham

Bristol

BS31 2JA

  • BANES: Wednesday 13 November 08:30 – 12:30

Royal British Legion

Charlton Road

Keynsham

Bristol

BS31 2JA