Mental Health in School – Survey closes 12th April

Please complete this quick survey whether you consider your child/young person aged up to 25 to have mental health concerns or not. Most questions are still relevant. Please complete a separate survey for each child you have.

Swindon has recently been granted £2.3m to deliver Mental Health Support Teams to a proportion of schools within the Borough (approx 50%). Swindon SEND Families Voice are pleased to sit on the steering group that is delivering these teams. To enable us to share your views we have created this survey. We want to consult parents and carers on their views on Social, Emotional and Mental Health support currently provided in schools. The closing date for this survey is 12th April. Thank you for your help.

Click here for the survey


Ofsted SEND Inspection Result – January 2019

Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission carried out a joint inspection of SEND services in November based on the last 4 years of performance. There are 2 possible outcomes, either a letter that shows the services are adequate, or a Written Statement of Action where there are significant areas of weakness in the local area’s practice. Swindon has received a Written Statement Of Action.

As a parent carer forum for Swindon, we have been working with Swindon Borough Council and Clinical Commissioning Group (Heath services) since March of this year so can only comment on what we have seen over those 10 months. The issues highlighted in the report are known to us (and to many of you) and didn’t bring up many surprises. They are key areas that we are in the process of working with those that make the decisions to improve. Ofsted have highlighted that there are the beginnings of many improvements such as the introduction of ELSA’s in all schools (see below for details) the High Needs Core Standards documents that are in the process of being written and the Redesigning of the ASD Pathway. We are also pleased to see that they recognise Swindon SEND Families Voice in a positive light. However, we also witness the financial difficulties the authorities face which is unfortunately a nationwide issue, but has led to high demands on some frontline employees which leads to mistakes and an inadequate service at times.

We will continue to do as we have been doing, working in co-production with authorities, challenge where we feel the need to, get as much feedback from you all, and keep growing as a forum trying to reach as many Swindon parents and carers as we can. The next few months will be exceptionally busy as we unpick the report and ensure all highlighted issues are addressed, and we would value more than ever any support you are willing to give us. Please keep a close eye out for our updates and see what you can do to help us improve things for all of our children. We truly believe it is through working together, collaboratively with everyone, that we can makes positive change happen.

Click here for the full inspection report.

Private and Independent Schools Survey

Does your child attend a private school or college or independent and not funded by the Local Authority? If so this survey applies to you and closes on 15th January. Please complete if you can. Thank you.
A group of councils (Bristol, Bournemouth, Dorset, Isle of Wight, North Somerset, Oxfordshire, Somerset, Swindon, West Berkshire, Wiltshire and Wokingham) are working together to ensure all children and young people attending an independent non maintained special school or an independent specialist post 16 placement (private and/or for profit schools and colleges) have access to high quality education that makes progress towards their outcomes and longer term aspirations possible.
Independent and Non Maintained Special Schools are schools that are not maintained (i.e. not funded or controlled) by a local authority, and are specially set up for children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND). An ‘Independent’ school is usually one run privately for profit whereas a ‘Non-Maintained’ school is run ‘not for profit’ usually by a charitable body.
We want to work with parents and carers to improve the experience and outcomes that their child/young person with SEND achieves, so we’d love to hear your views on your child’s school or college. We would be grateful if you could please complete this questionnaire. Your feedback will be used to help inform and develop the design of a list of approved special schools and colleges, from which each local authority will make education placements. As part of this process we will keep you informed of progress and publish a ‘You Said, We Did’ document on our consultations hub to show how we listened to your feedback. Click on the link to go to the website
This process is not going to directly impact the services that children receive and no children will need to move school as a result of this change. This is about changing the way the local authorities purchase placements. Providers will be required to meet certain standards in order to be eligible, which will help us to better monitor the quality and effectiveness of placements available.
For the purpose of this survey, ‘school’ refers to all education establishments (pre and post 16 schools and colleges) and ‘child’ refers to children and young people up to the age of 25.

Capital Bids Consultation

Have you heard of Capital Bids?

Swindon has been given approx £325,000 over 3 years (£977,000 in total) from the Department for Education that must be put towards projects that develop SEND provision. These are called Capital Bids. The Council want to use this money to invest in as many projects as possible so that a greater proportion of children with SEND will benefit from this fund. Phase 1 earlier this year saw educational settings across the borough put in their bids and 13 projects were approved. The criteria for the projects included helping improve Social, Emotional, Mental Health, Physical Development and supporting life skills.

Some of the projects are still being planned and some are fully operational. Have any of your schools benefited from the projects? The 13 projects are at Swindon Academy, Holy Family Catholic Primary, Nursery of Narnia, Lydiard Park Academy, Covingham Park, Kingsdown, Dorcan Academy, Lethbridge, New College, Even Swindon, Warneford and Goddard Park. The projects include sensory rooms, greenhouse, nurture provision, accessible toilets, lift, accessible doors and a well-being hub log cabin.

The 2nd phase of consultation is currently taking place until the closing date of 14th December.  If you wish to have your say please click on this link read and complete the survey.

Breaking News!

Parents and carers of a child or young person with Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities between the ages of 0-25 years are invited to attend a drop in session with the Ofsted inspector to share your experiences of the SEND Services in Swindon. There is no need to book an appointment, just come when it is convenient to you between the times below.

Date: Tuesday 20th November

Time: 11.45am – 1pm

Venue: Civic Offices, Euclid Street, Swindon, SN1 2JH

Please note parking is limited at the Civic Offices. The nearest car park is a pay and display at Spring Gardens, Swindon, SN1 2BF.

For alternative travel


Ofsted Inspection

Ofsted are giving Swindon Borough Council a SEND inspection week commencing 19th November. See attached information on how to have your say between 12th November and 20th November.

Inspection briefing for public

High Needs Review

High Needs Review Powerpoint Presentation 

Evaluation of Core Standards Word Document

Dear All

Please read the below communication. This is an exciting opportunity to be involved with putting core standards in place that aim to improve the support of our children in school and college, and make it more consistent. We are all once again asked to be involved in a big project, so I hope you are able to become a part of it and get our voices heard.

Kind Regards

The Families Voice Committee


Dear parents and carers,

I am the new High Needs Implementation Manager for Swindon Borough Council.  My role is to implement the recommendations of the High Needs Review that was carried out last academic year.  I attach a Power-point presentation summarising what these recommendations were, for your information.

High needs are those that cannot be met from the budget delegated to schools so it covers any child or young person who is in receipt of additional top-up funding at school or who has an EHCP. However, some of the recommendations of the review also relate to the support for children and young people at SEN Support level, so the remit of the work covers all children and young people with SEND in Swindon schools and colleges.

I am undertaking a project to put in place a ‘Core Standards’ document that will help all schools across Swindon to support every child and young person with SEND (aged 4-18 years) and would really value the contribution of as many parents and carers as possible.  The aim is to help schools across Swindon to provide quality and consistent support for all children with SEN.  We want this document to be accessible for all – including schools, parents, carers and professionals from support services, and to link it to useful resources and advice online.

I am forming an overall Working Group for the High Needs Implementation Work and two members of the Swindon SEND Families Voice Committee have been invited to be part of this.  There will also be task and finish groups for each area of SEND need: cognition and learning, communication and interaction (speech and language), communication and interaction (ASC/social communication difficulties), Social emotional and mental health needs (SEMH), Visual Impairment, Hearing Impairment and Physical Impairment.  I would welcome parent/carer volunteers to be a part of any of these groups to help with developing the core standards.

There are some links at the bottom of this email to some examples of core standards that have been developed by other Local Authorities.  If you would like to be a part of the decision as to what the Swindon core standards document should look like, please look at these examples of core standards and complete the above evaluation sheet.  Email this evaluation sheet to, the committee representative can share your views at the meeting.

If you would be interested in joining any of the task and finish groups for different areas of SEN need, it would be good to hear from you.  Please email me on, indicating which group you would like to be part of.  Please also copy into the email.  Alternatively do feel free to give me a call on the number below.

It would be extremely valuable to have the views of parents and carers represented and to be able to use your knowledge and experience to help us to develop a really useful and beneficial document.

I look forward to working with you.

Kind Regards

Liz Fewings

High Needs Implementation Manager


Carers Rights Day

We will be having a stall at this event! We hope to see some of you there on the day too.

Carers Rights Day.png

Autumn 2018 Newsletter

To read our latest newsletter click here!


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Aiming High Short Breaks Statement

Consultation 2018

Aiming HighEvery few years the Aiming High short breaks statement is reviewed.  We have been asked to get feedback from parents and carers in Swindon about the statement. Aiming High would like to know what you would like improved, what you would like kept the same, and any frustrations you have with the service.  Click here to read the statement and please email us or find us on Facebook to send us a message with your views.

Take part in our pollhave-your-say

Please complete our short poll to decide which workshop/coffee morning we will be arranging in Autumn! Click here to vote!