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Sefton’s SEND Local Offer Website Refreshed

Local Offer GraphicSefton Council is excited to launch a brand-new redesign of an area of the website which informs parents, carers and children who have special education needs and/or disability (SEND), about local services available to them.

The Local Offer gives clear and accessible information about support services for local children and young people aged 25 and under and includes information about activities, projects, education, health, social care and much more.

The redesign of the Local Offer means it now has a fresh new look, making it fun to use with brighter colours, picture and logos. A new layout with eye catching icons also means that navigation is easier and clearer.

The project was coproduced by parents, carers and children whose opinions and experiences helped shape the new look and feel. Young people from Sefton’s Buddy Up, a mentoring and befriending service for young people with additional needs, formed a focus group so members could share their ideas.

Cllr Mhairi Doyle M.B.E, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Children’s Social Care said:

“We really want to make sure that the Local Offer Website is an invaluable tool for parents, carers and children living in Sefton. This redesign means that not only is it exciting and pleasing to the eye, but it is also easier to use and even more accessible.

“We value the opinions of our young people and their families and I am delighted that they have had the opportunity to give ideas and advice to improve a service which will benefit residents across the borough.”

Andrew Jennings, SEN & Inclusion Policy Development Officer at Sefton Council said;

“It’s been great working with Joe, Lewis, Joshua and Debra, who are our young people from Buddy Up. They’ve been able to tell us what they think of the Local Offer and how they wanted to see it improved.

“There is lots of really useful information on it, but they wanted to make it more colourful and eye catching so it’s more appealing for children and young people.

“They worked great as a team, researching, sharing their ideas with us, and giving feedback about the changes we had made.

“I’d also like to thank all of the parents and carers who worked with us, their input has been invaluable to this project. A special thanks must also go to Sefton Parent Carers Forum for their ideas and feedback.”

We would like to hear your views about the new Local Offer. Please click here to give feedback.

£159,000 to support parents across Sefton and the wider Liverpool City Region

Councils across the Liverpool City Region, including Sefton, are set to receive a pooled fund of £159,000 to support parents facing continued conflict in their relationships and prevent lasting impact on their children.

Designed to tackle the knock-on impact of parental conflict on children’s learning, relationships and future work life, the £4million Government funding pot will support 147 councils across England to develop targeted support for families.

From couples counselling to specialist learning tools, including videos and dedicated online advice, the initiatives will help parents learn how to recognise, de-escalate and solve conflict.

Frontline staff across Sefton and the rest of the City Region will get specialist training so they can spot the signs of parents who need help addressing frequent conflict. The funding will also be used to develop online tools and relationship programmes to help parents identify and resolve issues at home, delivered by Early Help Workers, Health Visitors, Social Workers and staff from voluntary sector agencies.

Wirral, Liverpool, Knowsley, Sefton, Halton, St. Helen’s and Cheshire East councils will receive the funding to work together as a cluster.

DWP Lords Minister Baroness Stedman-Scott said:

“Family dynamics are complicated, and the pandemic will have tested the strongest of couples. That’s why looking after the mental health of the whole family is vital to giving children the best start in life, and I want to ensure that help is available here across Liverpool City region and Sefton.

“This money means better support for more families to help ensure prolonged conflict doesn’t negatively impact children or their future.”

Studies show that frequent, intense and poorly resolved conflict can negatively impact children’s mental health. From their early social and emotional development to school grades, with lasting impact on their job prospects.

The programme is designed to resolve parental conflict, not domestic abuse. Those in abusive relationships will instead be referred to specialist support.

Welcoming children and young people back to school

Welcome back to school graphic

Margaret Jones, Sefton Council’s Director of Public Health, has written to parents and guardians across the Borough to remind them about the arrangements in place for returning to school.

In her letter she explained that before the the start of term, each Sefton school has completed a risk assessment and identified specific measures for their settings.

Sefton’s schools will be following the national guidance. This means ‘pupil bubbles’ and social distancing/mixing measures have been removed and pupils are no longer be required to wear face coverings in school, although it is recommended they be worn in crowded and enclosed places.

Regular hand washing, personal hygiene and ventilation is also being recommended to help stop the spread of COVID-19.  Should case numbers in a school or educational setting rise substantially, some control measures need to be temporarily reintroduced.

Although NHS Test & Trace are now responsible for contact tracing of all positive cases, if a child or young person tests positive for COVID-19, their school should still be informed.

Young people are no longer being advised to isolate if they are identified as a close contact of a COVID-19 case, but they will be asked to take a PCR test. If the PCR result is positive, the individual will then be required to self-isolate. All known contacts of positive COVID-19 cases should be reported to NHS Test & Trace, no matter vaccination status or age.

The letter reminds parents and guardians that if a child develops COVID-19 symptoms, they should book an appointment for them to have a PCR test and that the child should not come into school whilst they are awaiting the test results, even if they feel better. If their test result is negative, they can return to school. If their result is positive, they should continue to isolate and follow public health advice.

Appointments for PCR tests can be booked at www.gov.uk/coronavirus  or by calling 119.

Mrs Jones’ letter also encourages parents, carers, secondary pupils and college students to take regular rapid lateral flow (LFD) tests. Taking LFD tests twice a week remains one of the most effective ways to reduce transmission of COVID-19.

Free rapid tests are available through schools, colleges and nurseries for everyone who attends them or works at them. Primary age pupils in Year 6 or below do not need to do testing if they do not have symptoms or are not a contact of a positive COVID-19 case.

She also reminds readers that vaccination remains the best protection against the virus and encourages everyone eligible to get both doses as soon as possible.

Margaret Jones said:

“We appreciate that this is a challenging time for parents, guardians, pupils and students as well as for teachers and school staff and Sefton Council would like to thank them for their support in keeping the Borough’s helping keep our schools open and safe.

“We also know it’s a lot to take in so we have set up some Frequently Asked Questions on our website which can be found at www.sefton.gov.uk/schools-faqs

“Finally, I like to wish all the Borough’s pupils and students every success in this coming academic year.”

Council Cabinet approves £2 million-plus of new, children’s social care roles

Councillors at today’s Sefton Council Cabinet meeting have approved more than £2 million to fund new roles in its Children’s Social Care Department.

This investment in staff is in addition to an extra £7 million, Sefton Council committed to children’s social care in its budget earlier this year.

Demand

Cllr Mhairi Doyle MBE, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, said: “We are currently facing very high levels of demand for our children’s social care services and this has been intensified by the effects of COVID-19 pandemic, which has hit some parts of Sefton particularly hard.

“Today’s agreement of an extra £2 million of additional investment in new roles over the coming two years will be key to enabling us to make further improvements to children’s social care in Sefton and represents the latest step in our improvement journey following an OFSTED visit earlier in 2021.”

Since March this year, Sefton Council has appointed a number of additional staff to its Children’s Social Care service have been recruited and has established a transformation team support by the Department for Education (DfE).

Improvements

Cllr Doyle added: “We acknowledged the issues and challenges raised through the OFSTED inspection and immediately started work to make the improvements needed to address them.

“We have already put in place a new interim Executive Director of Children’s Social Care and Education to ensure the service’s management is focused and to drive the development work.

“Our Children’s Social Care staff are committed and skilled but are facing levels of demand unlike anything we’ve known before. We are working to support them in providing the high-quality, responsive service that families, children and young people across Sefton have every right to expect and which we are committed to delivering.”

“I am confident that recruitment these new posts agreed today combined with the valuable support being provided by the Department of Education, will enable us to achieve that commitment.”

You can find out more about Sefton Council services for children and young people here.

Council encourages people to set sail on a new challenge and foster for Sefton

It was “ship ahoy!” for Sefton’s Fostering Team and foster carers this week as they took a voyage of discovery for

people thinking about taking up fostering.

Setting sail on the ‘Pride of Sefton’ canal boat, the group headed from the Titanic and into the Albert Dock, to raise awareness about fostering and the need for local people to give loving homes to children in Sefton.

The Pride of Sefton is a community focused wide beam canal boat, operated by Sovini Charities, which provides opportunities for passengers to discover Liverpool’s rich heritage by sailing through its hidden waterways.

Among those on board were Angela and Paul, who have fostered with Sefton Council for three years. They joined the crew to help to spread the important message about the rewarding role of fostering.

Angela said: “Fostering has been one of the best things we have ever done. We have three children of our own and we both work full time and our foster children really become part of our family life.

Paul went on to say: “Its just so rewarding and for some people you will never feel that it’s the right time, but you just have to find out more and you will never look back”

Sailing along Merseyside’s waterways, Joan who also fosters for Sefton said:

“My partner Mike wasn’t sure at first but after chatting we decided to go for it and ten years later, we are still enjoying every minute.

“This is why we’ve come today to help Sefton to try and encourage more people to foster for the Council because there are children out there who really need the care and support we can provide.”

Helen Collins, who works with Sefton Fostering’s Recruitment and Support team said:

“Coming out on beautiful days like this not only brings Sefton’s fostering family closer, but also allows us to speak to people face to face, share experiences, and let them know how much they can make a difference to the lives of young people.

“Thank you to Sovini and ‘The Pride of Sefton’ crew who never fail to give us an amazing trip and help us spread the word in a fun way.”

Sefton’s Foster Carers receive full training and support, plus payments for their skills and allowances. Anyone who is thinking about fostering should get in touch by speak to one of the team on our freephone number 0800 923 2777 to find out more.

People can also find out more on our dedicated website https://seftonfostering.co.uk/ 

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