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SEND Updates

City of York Council (CYC) and the NHS Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) welcome the opportunity to continually and jointly improve services for children and young people with Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities (SEND) in York.

Our ambition is for York to be a city that is inclusive for all;  that services are delivered at the right time and from the right places and  that all of our children succeed and are happy, healthy and safe.

Following the Local Area SEND Inspection that took place in December, we are making some changes to our services. This page has updates about the improvements we’re making, details of how you can get involved and information about the inspection.


To get involved and work in partnership with us on the improvement journey, email 

Outcomes Framework Launch

We are launching our SEND Outcomes Framework!

In York, we want all children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) to be happy and live the best lives they can. That’s why we and the NHS Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group have worked with parents, carers and young people with SEND to produce a set of outcomes that we all want to achieve for our children and young people.

These 7 SEND Outcomes are:
1.    I am healthy
2.    I have a choice and I am heard
3.    I am safe
4.    I achieve my goals
5.    I am included
6.    I can overcome challenges and difficulties on my own or with support
7.    I am becoming independent

Each outcome will look different for each child so for a more in-depth list of descriptors, visit
The outcomes framework will change the way we work and the way we measure how effective we are in supporting children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities. Our measure of success will whether children and young people can show or tell us that everything we do is supporting them to achieve these outcomes.

We will use this framework when we:
•    Commission new services
•    Check the quality of our practice
•    Listen to voices of children and young people

For more information, please visit the Outcomes Framework page.

Young People Interviews

We are inviting young people and parents to take part in future interview panels to ensure we employ the best people to support children and young people with Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities in York.

To get involved in interview panels, please email:

Inclusion Review Family Focus Groups

At the start of 2022, 2 groups of parent carers and 2 groups of young people helped us to review our proposals that have been developed as a result of the initial Inclusion Review Feedback.

These focus groups helped us to understand if our proposals were on the right lines. Families agreed we had the right ideas and now we can start to embed these changes.

Written Statement of Action - Updated December 2021

Take a look at our progress - the Written Statement of Action was updated in December 2021, so you can see where we are at on our improvement journey.

Reviewing the Education, Health and Care Plan

We have been working with a range of families, young people, SENCO's and other professionals to make changes to the Education, Health and Care Plans, and the annual review documentation to ensure they are simpler, easy to read and more concise.

We have also been working together to develop a new Request for Assessment document, which will make the whole process of requesting assessment much easier and quicker.

We are currently in the final stages of working together with families to ensure they are exactly what we need, and as soon as the new paperwork is released, it will be shared here.

SEND Strategy

This strategy sets out our priorities for children and young people with SEND in York, for the next four years. As a partnership, we have identified the following priorities:

1. The voice of children and young people is paramount
2. The right support is in the right place at the right time
3. Children and young people’s needs are identified at the earliest opportunity
4. Effective transition is secured so that young people are able to live the best adult lives that they can

Read a copy of the SEND Strategy for York 2021-2025

Written Statement of Action - Updated September 2021

Take a look at our progress - the Written Statement of Action was updated in September, so you can see where we are at on our improvement journey.

Designated Medical Officer and Designated Clinical Officer in York

Each Clinical Commissioning Group should provide a Designated Medical Officer (DMO) or Designated Clinical Officer (DCO) for SEND. The DCO/DMO plays a key role in implementing and embedding the SEND reforms and in supporting joined up working between health services, local authorities and other SEND partners.

Vale of York CCG have opted for a hybrid model of Associate DCO (ADCO) and a DMO for special educational needs and disability (SEND). Louise Wootton is the ADCO and Dr Sally Smith, who is a consultant paediatrician at York Hospital, is the DMO. The purpose of these roles is to support health colleagues across the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and the local health providers to ensure children and young people 0-25 with SEND have the right health support to achieve the best outcomes they possibly can. The DCO role is a key element in supporting the Health Service in its implementation of the Children’s and Families Act 2014.

The DCO/DMO role is varied and includes:
•    Oversight from a health perspective of education, health and care panels to discuss which children go forward for assessments and then if required have a formal plan (EHCP)
•    Supporting health professionals to contribute to the Education, Health and Care Plan process
•    Working with others in the local area to improve the quality of Education, Health and Care Plans.
•    Supporting the SEND team at the local authority with questions and queries
•    Promoting links between the SEND team, education professionals, social care and health services
•    Supporting the commissioners and senior leadership team with regards to meeting and assuring the SEND health requirements
•    Working alongside commissioners and stakeholders across health, education and social care  and in joint partnership with children and young people, parents and carers to identify, contribute and deliver on  strategic work programmes that improve our local systems  
•    Ensuring we can evidence a good local offer of health services and clear health journeys for those age 0-25 with SEND

If you would like more information, please email

Inclusion Review

We have been working with families to complete the SEND Inclusion review for 2021. We would like to thank those families who got involved, we were overwhelmed by the number of responses!

Over 600 parents and carers took part in a survey, and just over 130 children and young people aged 3 to 33 got involved in consultations that were sent to a range of nurseries, schools, settings and post 16 provisions. This feedback will help us to shape the way our special educational needs and disability services look.

Check back in on this page, to see what that feedback looked like, and how it was used.

Special Edition SEND Newsletter

In our communication survey we send out every three months, we found that there had been a slight fall in how much families knew about our improvement work, so together with the Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group, the City of York Council developed a Special Edition SEND Newsletter. This newsletter aims to inform you of the work we have done so far, how families have been involved, and what difference that is making to families.

You can read the Special Edition SEND Newsletter for yourself, now!

Outcomes Framework - It has been finalised

In June, we met with a range of families over Zoom, to help us finalise the Outcomes Framework. At this session, families wanted to change a couple of things such as the wording of 'I achieve', and 'I am resilient'. Families felt that the wording of these could be misunderstood, and needed to be more family friendly, therefore we developed a survey based on their comments, and sent to more parents and we changed them. The final outcomes are:

•    I am healthy
•    I have a choice and am heard
•    I am safe
•    I achieve my goals
•    I am included
•    I can overcome challenges and difficulties on my own or with support
•    I am becoming independent

We hope you will support us in sharing these with as many families as possible, and we will do our part in striving towards all children and young people being able to achieve those 7 things in their lives.

Check out the Outcomes Framework page for full details on how we developed the framework, what it is, how it will be used, and what this means for you and your children.


Virtual Open Evening

In May 2021, together with providers from across York, a virtual Open Evening was held for families of young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities. This event is one of many that will help to prepare young people and their families for their preparing for adulthood journey.

To see a summary from the event and read about each provider that attended the event, please see our Virtual Open Evening Page.

Special Educational Needs and/or Disability Q&A Sessions

Every month starting in October, CYC and CCG will be hosting Q&A sessions for parents and carers to ask questions about specific services. The services that host will give a small presentation about their service, what they do, how they can support families in York and explain how their service is currently running, highlighting any areas that have changed due to the pandemic.

These events will be held via Zoom and the joining details will be shared via parent groups and Local Offer social media.

Schedule of events:



Short Breaks



26.11.20 at 13:00

Educational Psychology

14.12.20 at 10:00

Specialist Teaching Teams

08.02.21 at 10:00

Special Educational Needs Team

16.03.21 at 12:30



We have joined up with Family Information Service to deliver messages to our families about our improvement journey via the FIS+ Newsletter.

This newsletter is sent to families termly and will include updates about our journey and information on how to get involved.

Sign up to our free termly newsletter to receive information on services and matters that affect family life in York.


Joint Partnership in York

We are pleased to report that services who work with children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities in York are working in a collaborative way with families. Since the model of joint partnership was developed, services are prioritising family voice in their work.

Great work has been taking place across services such as the SEN Team, Educational Psychology, Speech and Language Therapy, SENDIASS, Specialist Teaching Team, Social Care and now we are working with other services to ensure everyone uses joint partnership in their work.

We continue to provide training to our colleagues so they know how to effectively work in joint partnership with our families.


Outcomes Framework - Next Steps

Dear Parents/ Carers,

In July 2020 through a series of workshops facilitated by the Council for Disabled Children, York developed the SEND outcomes framework. Parents worked alongside services including education, health, social care and SENDIASS to develop a series of brief statements that would describe key elements of children and young people living a good life. These are:

•    I am healthy
•    I have a choice and am heard
•    I am safe
•    I achieve
•    I am included
•    I am resilient
•    I am becoming independent

York Inspirational Kids (parent / carer forum) shared the outcomes framework with their membership. SENDIASS, education, health and social care services have also been developing their ways of working to reflect and embed these outcomes.

To gain information about how the outcomes framework was understood and determine how we could measure the impact of these statements, children, young people and their parents who access support from the specialist teaching team took part in a small survey throughout February this year. This survey revealed that knowledge and understanding of the outcomes framework needed to be strengthened and more effectively shared with children, young people, parents and carers. The feedback also suggested ways to further develop the outcomes statements to make them more accessible and better understood.

As this work is vital to our SEND improvement journey it is essential that we come together as joint partners and explore and develop the outcomes framework further. We would like to invite you to a special engagement event that is going to be held on the 27th May at 10am on zoom.

Please let us know if you are able to attend via the following routes:

-    If you a part of York Inspirational Kids (YIK), please contact Ruth Thompson for the zoom details
-    If you would prefer to email us directly or you are not a part of YIK, please email for the zoom details

We hope you can join us.

Early Years Joint Partnership

We have worked with Contact over the last 5 months, prioritising listening and working with early years families. We wanted to ensure that services who work with children and families in the early years are working in Joint Partnership.

Working in this way from the earliest possible opportunity will ensure that families know they have a right to be heard, are involved and feel like a partner in the work being done with and for their child. We have completed three sessions with Contact and they have supported our early years services in learning all about joint partnership (co-production) working.

Moving forward we will be providing training to our early years settings. This training will include how and why to work in joint partnership with the families of York.


Outcomes Framework

Step 1:

In July 2020 the Council for Disabled Children (CDC) worked with lots of people across York, including parents and carers who support those who have special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), to create a list of goals that they would like all children to achieve.

This was called an ‘outcomes framework’ and is a list of statements that helps describe what a ‘good life’ for all our children and young people might look like. The ambitions for a ‘good life’ are described as:

I am safe
I am resilient
I am healthy
I am becoming independent
I am included
I achieve
I have a voice and am heard

Step 2:

In March, 23 parents/carers and 14 children and young people with Special Educational Needs supported us to review the outcomes framework and help us to develop ways that our work can be measured against the list of 7 ambitions. The feedback we received was so useful and highly valued.

Moving forward, families will be involved in this piece of work ensuring that we are able to measure how well we are ensuring all children and young people with special educational needs in York are achieving the 7 ambitions, and are living a good life.


How Well Did We Do

In the summer of 2020, some families told us that they wanted to be listened to, specifically regarding their child's Education, Health and Care Plans. In order to allow families to share their views with us specifically on how they found their experience with the Special Educational Needs Team (SEN Team), a 'How Well Did We Do' survey was developed.

This survey was developed with the support of families who have been through the request for assessment process. We wrote some questions outlining what we needed to include. These questions were sent to families and we asked for their honest opinion on the wording, content and accessibility. The families gave their feedback and made changes to the questions ... changes which had not been thought of - this is just one of the benefits to working in Joint Partnership with families. The final questions included areas such as feeling involved and like a partner in the process, confidence in the service, quality of contributions to the plans and how well families understood the language and processes being used.

These questions are now being used at various stages during a families journey with the SEN Team. Please look out for the survey being sent in emails from the team and share your feedback with us. Your feedback is so valuable, and helps us to shape our services and improve outcomes for children and young people in York.

Model of Joint Partnership

The Model of Joint Partnership has been jointly produced with families and colleagues. The aim of the model is to outline how we at the City of York Council and Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group will work together with families in York. We aim to improve our individual joint partnership when developing plans for children, and also involve families and partners when developing strategic documents, improving services or developing a new service.

The audit framework will help us measure how well we are working with families. This will support us on our Special Educational Needs and Disability improvement journey.

- Model of Joint Partnership and Audit Framework

If you would like to get involved and help us make decisions, contact

Communicating Better with Families

Communication Strategy

We know that we need to communicate better with the families, children and young people we’re working with. In August, the Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group and City of York Council have created a joint ‘communications strategy’ which sets out how we want to communicate with, who with and when.

Our communications in the future will include information about:

- updates and changes to Special Educational Needs Services in York

- updates regarding the Ofsted visit and the Written Statement of Action we have in place

- what we are doing to improve the outcomes for children and young people

- information about how parents and young people can be involved in our work.

We’ve also looked at how we can work better with families and young people to shape and improve our services.

Co-Production Training Sessions (Joint Partnership)

During the Council for Disabled Children's deep dive sessions, it was clear that colleagues at York Council and Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group needed to gain a better understanding around what co-production is, and how it can be used to benefit the work we do with children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities in York.

4 training sessions were ran throughout July and members of teams across the Local Authority attended.

"In practice, co-production involves people who use services being consulted, included and working together from the start  to the end of any project that affects them. When co-production works best, people who use services and carers are valued by organisations as equal partners, can share power and have influence over decisions made."

During the sessions it was clear that the term co-production was not recognised by staff or parents. Therefore, a survey went out and was completed by 34 parents and carers to choose the new name based on ideas collected from the sessions.

The new name for co-production in York is Joint Partnership.

A summary document of the findings from the sessions has been developed for families to read.

These sessions supported the development of the Model of Joint Partnership.

Council For Disabled Children - Deep Dive Sessions

The council for Disabled Children were requested to facilitate two deep dive sessions. One on joint commissioning and how services across the Local Authority work together, and the second regarding co-production, a way of working that involves parents and young people in decision making, both of which when done effectively will support positive outcomes for children and young people in York.

The Main objectives of the day was to bring together stakeholders from education, health and social care with parents and carers to come to a shared understanding of how co-production and joint-commissioning are currently being used in York. At this session we had parent representatives and their views were so important to help us understand the experience from a parent perspective.

The second session was held on the 17th July 2020. This session was aimed at drafting a strategic outcomes framework for York.

Written Statement of Action

As a result of the SEND inspection, a Written Statement of Action has been developed. This document outlines the changes that will be made, the outcomes we aim to see and the time frames in which these should be achieved. This document will be updated regularly.

- York's Written Statement of Action Official Document

SEND Inspection December 2019

Inspection of City of York Council local area’s effectiveness in identifying and meeting the needs of, and improving outcomes for, children and young people who have special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) from Monday 11 November 2019 to 15 November 2019. (This inspection was postponed due to the absence of Her Majesty's Inspector)

The inspection of city of York Council local area’s effectiveness in identifying and meeting the needs of, and improving outcomes for, children and young people who have special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) was then reorganised and took place between the 9th December and 13th December 2019.

On this page are documents that have been released to the public as a part of this inspection.