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Education leaders in the city learn how Stoke-on-Trent City Council is collaboratively ‘Making Inclusion Work’

Published: Tuesday, 19th July 2022

Education leaders in the city learn how Stoke-on-Trent City Council is collaboratively ‘Making Inclusion Work’

Over 100 education leaders from across Stoke-on-Trent last week (14 July) heard from council senior leaders, experienced professionals and those with lived experience in the special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) vocation.

The ‘Making Inclusion Work’ workshop was specifically designed by Stoke-on-Trent City Council for education colleagues from early years, primary, secondary, Post 16, special schools and alternative provision settings.

The day included a talk from André Imich, SEN and Disability Professional Adviser at Department for Education. Guests also heard a local parent’s perspective of the SEND journey and a young person who shared their own personal SEN experience in accessing support. The theme throughout the day centred around young people’s thoughts about inclusion; the winners of the Stoke-on-Trent schools ‘What is Inclusion?’ art competition were announced and Kemball School choir performed to highlight the importance of the topic.

Councillor Janine Bridges, cabinet member for education and the economy, said: “Children are our number one priority, we aim to provide the best opportunities for every child in our city, especially those with SEND, and we are committed to inclusion at all levels.

“Our ‘To be the best I can be’ inclusion strategy for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) 2021-2024 is a strategy that’s sets out the local authority’s vision, priorities and outcomes for children and young people with SEND, based on what they and their families have expressed is important to them. The event last week really shows that together we are to driving forward a shared vision of inclusion for Stoke-on-Trent, everyone has a responsibility across services to ensure that children and young people get the support they need when they need it.”

This comes as the city council in November 2021, launched the city’s Graduated Approach ‘Making Inclusion Work’, which aims to ensure children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities are given the right support at the right time.

The Graduated Approach method focuses on early identification of a child’s needs and their barriers to learning, making sure children and young people with SEND and their families are in the right place, at the right time with the right services. The approach offers guidance in how to start to remove these barriers so that all involved can learn and progress together at their own pace.

Since the Graduated Approach was launched last year, council education teams have been supporting schools to get used to the documents and to start to embed the concept of inclusion while using the approach to help guide and support practice.

People can learn more the Graduated Approach ‘Making Inclusion Work’ on the city council’s dedicated website www.stoke.gov.uk/graduatedapproach which provides information on a wide range of day-to-day practice to support children and young people with SEND in their local mainstream school.