SEND news

SEND news

The latest updates about services and support for children and young people with SEND.

23 September 2021: SEND support events

A wide range of support groups and engagement sessions have been announced for the rest of 2021.

Find a SEND support event in Bristol.

31 August 2021: Lessons learnt from lockdown

Visit the Council for Disabled Children website to read the Lessons learnt from lockdown report.

This a report on the highs and lows of the pandemic's impact on disabled children and young people. There's a full detailed version, a children and young people’s summary and an easy read version.

Over 600 children and young people, 128 parents and 110 professionals have been surveyed by the Making Participation Work programme, funded by the Department for Education and delivered by the Council for Disabled Children and KIDS.

18 August 2021

More options have now been added to the Ignite Bristol 2021 Inclusive Sport Summer Guide (PDF).

If you're a sports club, or a professional or volunteer working in the disability, sport, education or health sectors then join the Ignite Bristol Network. There are events upcoming in August, September and October.

26 July 2021

The national rules around Coronavirus (COVID-19) changed on 19 July. Healthwatch Wakefield have shared an accessible easy read guide to help understand these changes (pdf, 1.9MB) (opens new window) .

19 July 2021

The summer holidays start this week, and we've created a guide for families of children and young people with SEND.

You'll find information about: 

Download the summer holiday guide

You can also follow updates on our Facebook page with #BristolSENDSummer.

24 June 2021: Alternative Learning Provision survey

Help to shape the Alternative Learning Provision (ALP) 2022 to 2027 strategy in Bristol.

If you're a school age young person, or you support someone who is, tell us what you think of the strategy so far in this short questionnaire.

The survey is open until 23 July and can be found in standard and easy-read format.

Your comments will help get the right support to young people who need an alternative to mainstream school, some or all of the time.

Watch a short video about the survey.

22 June 2021: New SENDCo training

We're working with NASEN and Whole School SEND to offer 2 sessions for new, or nearly new, SENDCos:

  • Identification and Assessment: 30 June 2021, 10am to 12pm
  • Strategic Leadership of SEND, a practical guide: 6 July 2021, 2pm to 4pm

There may also be limited spaces for experienced SENDCos who are prepared to mentor new SENDCos next year. 

To book, or register future interest, email

22 June 2021: SENDCo training

Emerging needs to EHCP: A graduated response and using the new Ordinarily Available Provision (OAP) guidance
Monday 5 July, 10am to 12.30pm via Zoom

This new training has been designed to support SENDCos to work effectively with Bristol systems from the early identification of SEND through to applying for an Education and Health Care needs Assessment (EHCA).

Attendees will look at case studies and match these to OAP and more specialist provision.

The session will also launch and use new ‘cheat sheets’ for the OAP (the short, essential version).

The session will be delivered by SEND Assessment Team Manager, Verity Goodchild, SEND School Improvement Officer, Emma Lloyd and Assistant Principal Educational Psychologist, Jenny Maxwell.

There will also be a further session in term 1 next year.

To book, or register future interest, email

Review of Alternative Learning Provision

We carried out a review into the effectiveness of Alternative Learning Provision (ALP) in Bristol.

See the review report and draft Statement of Action.

18 June 2021: SENDCo survey

As we approach the end of the academic year, Sirona Care and Health would like to gain some insight on the service your school has received from its Sirona Children’s Therapy services during this last year.

The feedback helps to shape the way services are offered in the future. 

Complete the survey.

Short breaks 2021 statement

We've published our 2021 short breaks statement. This includes how short breaks help, what the law is and what's on offer.

Bristol’s short breaks statement for 2021 (pdf, 1.1MB) (opens new window) .

Bristol Parent Carers (BPC) annual event

BPC recently held their annual event. They covered:

  • Bristol’s Local Offer
  • Special Educational Needs (SEN)
  • Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans
  • transitions to adulthood
  • social care
  • the Autism Hub
  • mental health support

You can watch a video of the annual event on the BPC website.

Bristol Parent Carers Facebook page

Families, Local Offer, Resources and Advice (FLORA)

Contact the new FLORA team to speak to someone about your child's additional needs:

  • call 0117 352 6020
  • email

Find out more about FLORA and other support services for families with children who have SEND.

Supportive Parents May bulletin

See the latest newsletter from Supportive Parents.

Supportive Parents provide information, advice and support about SEND to children, young people and their parents and carers.

Youth Matters 16-25 newsletter

See the latest Supportive Parents newsletter for 16 to 25 year olds.

Wellbeing webinars for parents and carers

We're running free, online webinars for parents and carers of children with SEND. The sessions are led by an experienced psychologist and will have a mix of useful content, engaging activities, reflection and discussion with practical tips and techniques.


Exploring the way our minds can generate anxiety and how it can dominate our day. We'll look at different ways to relate to anxiety, leaving us with a bit more choice to pursue what matters to us.

Book online through Eventbrite:


Many times our own self-care can slip way down our to-do lists. Here we'll explore the cultivation of a compassionate attitude towards ourselves and our wellbeing.

Book online through Eventbrite:


We'll explore the impact of isolation and practical ways to take small steps towards building connections with others.

Book online through Eventbrite:

Contact for more information

Murmuration Community Therapy

These groups connect parent or carers who are concerned about disability or potential disability due to a diagnosis or developmental differences in their child. SEND parent nurture groups gather together parents of children with Special Educational Needs or Disabilities (SEND) to break isolation, share experiences and foster a sense of belonging and connection. Over 8 weekly sessions, a small group listen to each others’ stories, explore shared challenges and process the emotional impact of parenting a child with additional needs.

Find out more on the Murmuration Community Therapy website or email

Call for volunteers

Are you a parent or carer of a child with SEND? Would you like to help other families?

We want to make some short videos about your lived experience. What helped when your child was first identified with SEND? And what still helps? 

We hope this will provide reassurance for other families and an alternative to all the written information.

This would involve 1 hour of your time, wherever you feel comfortable.

To find out more, email

Download our poster (pdf, 672KB) (opens new window) .

Help to shape the Young Carer and Young Adult Carer strategy in Bristol

If you're a young carer aged 14 to 25, or you support young carers, tell us what you think in this short questionnaire

Your comments will help make sure we offer the right support to young carers and young adult carers.

Bristol SEND support plan

Following feedback from users and work with the SENDCO group, the Bristol SEND Support Plan (BSSP) has been reviewed, revised and simplified. Find the 2021 version in our guide to SEND support for education settings.

Sensory Support Service training course

The Sensory Support Service are delivering an introduction to supporting children and young people with Cerebral Visual Impairment (CVI):

  • to gain an understanding of CVI and its causes
  • to understand the implications of CVI in completing daily activities and accessing the curriculum
  • to advise on practical strategies to support access, participation and inclusion

If you’re a professional or a parent or carer with an interest in CVI, this online course may be for you.

Date: 24 June 2021 1pm to 3.15pm
Venue: Online (Teams)
Cost: £20 professionals, £35 for 2 from same organisations, £10 parents or carers 
Closing date for applications: 10 June 2021

More information and application form (pdf, 162KB) (opens new window) .

Childcare Sustainability and Development Survey

If you're a parent or carer that uses childcare, or have thoughts on how childcare is provided in Bristol, we want to hear from you.

We're looking for feedback from parents and carers to shape how our Childcare Sustainability and Development service is delivered.

This service aims to ensure there is sufficient childcare for working parents in the city, and that childcare providers are supported and trained to deliver the safest and best quality childcare possible.

The survey runs until 25 April. 

You can find further information and complete the survey online at Childcare Support Consultation. 

10 March 2021: Public Health England (PHE) launches new Psychological First Aid training

The online training, developed by PHE, is now available for those supporting children and young people affected by coronavirus (COVID-19).

People who care for or work with children and young people aged up to 25 who have been affected by COVID-19 (or other emergencies or individual crises) can access a new online Psychological First Aid (PFA) training course.

For more information visit PHE launches new Psychological First Aid training (GOV.UK).

March 2021: March 4 SEND

Instead of our usual SENDCO conference this year we’ll be offering a range of virtual events.

SENDCos will come together online to understand the most recent developments about SEND. 

Go to March 4 SEND to see the timetable of activities.

1 February 2021: Supportive Parents Wellbeing Hub

Supportive Parents have launched their new Bristol Wellbeing Hub.

The Hub is an online portal which provides young people with access to information about local services that can support wellbeing.

It contains videos and information from organisations across Bristol, showcasing a range of activities and opportunities to get involved with. 

18 January 2021: Take part in our SEND surveys

We want to hear your views about SEND services in Bristol. We need to know what is working well and what changes you would like to see, to help with our ongoing improvements to SEND services. 

Both surveys are open from 18 January to 5 March.

5 January 2021: Home to School travel arrangements for Bristol pupils.

Following the government national lockdown announcement on Monday 4 January travel arrangements for Bristol pupils were cancelled for Tuesday 5 January. 

The Home to School Travel Team are working closely with schools to make arrangements for all children who will be attending school during the current lockdown. Transport will run from Wednesday 6 January where schools have confirmed arrangements.

1 December 2020: You said, We did: SEND event feedback

SEND feedback events have been recently held.

Find out what you told us and what we’ve done on SEND event feedback.

25 November 2020: Alternative Learning Provision Parent/Carer survey

This is your chance to tell us about your experiences of Alternative Learning Provision (ALP).

ALP is somewhere your child can learn when they are unable to remain in school. There are a number of types of ALP including hospital education, a Pupil Referral Unit (PRU), tutoring or mentoring, or a programme a child attends outside of the classroom.

Bristol City Council wants to know about the experiences of your child, or the child you care for.

Follow the link to complete the survey Alternative Learning Provision - Parent/Carer Survey.

Survey closes 11 December 2020.

19 November 2020: Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan performance data published 

Bristol City Council have published their performance data for finalised EHC plans on the Open Data website. 

An EHC plan is a legal, personalised document that sets out a child or young person’s: 

  • education, health and care needs 
  • support they will get to meet those needs
  • aims for the next 12 months, as well as longer term goals

Each plan should be finalised within 20 weeks of being received. 

Find the performance data on Bristol’s Open Data website.

6 November 2020: Disabled children and their families survey from WECIL 

Tell WECIL about the challenges you have faced during coronavirus (COVID-19). 

WEIL and the Voice and Influence Partnership want to know about the experiences of disabled children and their families during coronavirus. 

Your experiences will help to inform services and promote local and national change.

Fill in the short, accessible survey on the WECIL website.

22 October 2020: Free early education for two year olds 

If you're the parent or carer of a two year old and you receive certain benefits you could be eligible to apply for a free early education place.

We’re prioritising applications from families who have children: 

  • with special educational needs and disability (SEND)
  • with an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan
  • who have sent a request for a EHC plan assessment

If you’re eligible you could receive up to 15 hours of free childcare a week during term time, starting in January. 

Find out if you’re eligible and how to apply

21 October 2020: Test and Trace Support Payment scheme launches in Bristol

Applications now open for the NHS Test and Trace Support Payment scheme.

Bristol City Council has opened applications for the NHS Test and Trace Support Payment scheme, to help residents affected by COVID-19 (coronavirus).

Payments of £500 will be given to eligible low income workers in the city who have been asked to self-isolate and are unable to work from home.

Read more about the scheme in our news release.

Find out if you’re eligible: NHS Test and Trace Support Payment scheme

29 September 2020: New eco-apartments for SEN students open at City of Bristol College’s Brislington Centre

The eco-apartments are complete with two bedrooms, a living space with cooking and washing facilities and a bathroom. The homes are a joint project between the college and Bristol City Council, with the council financing the venture to better support special educational needs (SEN) students in Bristol.

The Brislington Centre is managed in partnership with Bristol City Council and offers week-day accommodation for up to 13 students with SEN. The centre’s team support the students to develop skills for independent living, including cleaning, cooking, washing as well as learning how to budget and use public transport.

Read the full story on City of Bristol College’s website

22 September 2020: Written Statement of Action update 

Find the latest update about the Written Statement of Action (WSoA) on the Ofsted/CQC updates page

The WSoA is the detailed plan to improve key areas identified in the Ofsted/CQC inspection report, which was published at the end of last year.  

15 Sept 2020: Full SEND survey report for children and young people

In February and March 2020 we ran an online survey for children and young people with special educational needs and disability (SEND), to find out more about your experiences of SEND services. Altogether, seventy seven children and young people took part in the survey.

Read the SEND services children and young people survey full report (pdf, 595KB) (opens new window) .

Thank you to everyone who took the time to respond. Your feedback will help to inform our improvements to SEND.

7 Sept 2020: Accessible SEND survey report for children and young people

In February and March 2020 we ran an online survey for children and young people with special educational needs and disability (SEND), to find out more about your experiences of SEND services.

77 children and young people took part in the survey. Find the accessible report (pdf, 71KB) (opens new window) .

Thank you to everyone who took the time to respond. Your feedback will help to inform our improvements to SEND.

28 August 2020: Home to school travel service update for children that require an escort

If your child is allocated a school place and we usually provide travel with an escort, you may find your child has a new escort for the new school term starting September 2020. This is because many of our escorts are unable to return to work because of coronavirus (COVID-19).

We also have a reduced number of escorts. If your child’s escort is unable to work, we will not be able to replace them. If this happens we will either:

  • ask if it’s possible for you or a household member to accompany your child
  • see if it’s possible to arrange a later run with another escort

We are seeking to resolve this issue by recruiting new escorts and will provide an update in October.

If you have any questions or concerns call us on 0117 903 6328 or email

25 August 2020: Proposals to invest over £28m in Bristol’s special schools

The SEND Sufficiency and Capital Proposals outline an investment of over £28m for Bristol’s special schools. The proposals will be reviewed at Cabinet in September. If approved, the proposals would enable the council to deliver more specialist provision for children and young adults with Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans.

An open letter from Councillor Anna Keen and Director for Education and Skills, Alison Hurley (pdf, 101KB) (opens new window) outlines the proposals.

Read more about the proposals in our news release.

20 August 2020: Changes to Bristol Autism Team Education Hub 

The Bristol Autism Team (BAT) Education Hub has become an Autism Education Trust (AET) Training Hub and is changing the way it will deliver its services from September 2020.

Currently, BAT and the Educational Psychology (EP) team write joint Education Health Care Needs Assessments (EHCNAs). From 1 September, the BAT Education Hub will no longer provide this service for children and young people who are not active cases for the team.

This will avoid a duplication of services with the EP team, and more effectively manage the number of assessment visits for both parents and carers, and educational settings.

This will also enable the BAT Education Hub to focus on early intervention and training, which will make their specialist advice more widely available for the benefit of a far greater number of children and young people.

BAT will continue to provide joint EHC Needs Assessments with the EP team for the families and young people they are already working closely with to ensure specialist advice is developed jointly for families and young people.

The BAT Education Hub will have greater capacity to provide specialist advice and information to schools and education settings, as well as delivering a nationally recognised program of AET autism training, endorsed by the Department for Education.

Key changes to BAT

  • The BAT Education Hub will be able to work more closely with schools to offer specialist advice clinics, to provide advice and support for individual children and young people, and to deliver AET training across the city.
  • The BAT Education Hub will not automatically be asked to provide joint advice with the EP team for all EHCNAs where there is an autism diagnosis, but will continue to do this for children and young people they are currently working with.  
  • Where BAT input is requested for other EHCNAs, we will support the EP team in providing these assessments. There is no statutory requirement for BAT to provide assessments for EHCNAs
  • The EP and BAT team will continue to work closely to ensure specialist advice is developed jointly.

From September 2020 BAT Education Hub will:

  • provide a nationally recognised program of autism training  for all educational settings, endorsed by the Department for Education
  • hold annual cohort meetings with educational settings to agree what support is needed tailored to the needs of the setting and its pupils
  • hold regular drop-in clinics for both education staff and parents and carers to gain informal advice
  • continue to offer a package of consultation, including observations and discussions with staff and parents, to fully assess children and young people’s needs, providing written recommendations for outcomes and provision
  • offer follow-up visits in line with the SEN Code of Practice

Find more information on the Autism support section

If you've any questions or concerns contact the BAT hotline email on:

The BAT are a term time only service, and will respond to your email as soon as the new school year begins. 

2 July 2020: Bristol’s SEND survey report published

In February and March 2020 we ran an online survey for parents and carers of children and young people with special educational needs and disability (SEND), to find out more about your experiences of SEND services.

370 parents and carers took part in the survey. Find the Bristol's SEND survey report (pdf, 1.2MB) (opens new window) .

Thank you to everyone who took the time to respond. Your feedback will help to inform our improvements to SEND.

The report also contains the results for the children and young people survey.

An accessible, easy-read version of the report is being developed, and will be published here soon.

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