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December 2020 Newsletter 4 - Head of SEND

Special Education Needs and Disabilities (SEND) in Blackpool

Quarterly Newsletter 4 - December 2020

Blackpool Council’s Local Offer

It is with great joy that I write this newsletter on the morning that Margaret Keenan, aged 90, of Coventry is recorded as the first person in the world to receive the Pfizer/BioNtech Vacccine for Covid 19. This is a ray of hope on our horizon after the last 9 difficult months.

It will be a while before everything in life returns to normal. However, please be assured that the SEND team continues to work hard to keep everything running as it always has done. This includes the incredible efforts of our Advisory Teachers, Early Years team, Portage, Social Care, Educational Psychology service and SEND Assessment Team who have continued with class observations, co-producing Education Health and Care Plans and ensuring that support for school SENCo’s and families has continued throughout the pandemic. I thank each and every one of them for their efforts and for their determination to continue to put the child at the heart of everything we do. Thank you.

The Autumn Term saw the roll out of our communication portal, the EHC Hub. This software allows advisors, schools, social care, health and families to communicate and benefit from full transparency of their child’s case as they progress through to an Education Health and Care Plan. There are videos to help advisors and parents understand the system and, of course, there is always a phone call to our SEND team on 01253 476602.

The EHC Hub will also be used for annual reviews where your child, with an EHC plan, is in a phase transition year – from nursery to reception, year 6 to high school and year 11 to post 16. I know that the team will continue to support everyone with this new technology and our new ways of working with families.

I would like to extend my thanks to all the schools in Blackpool who have worked so hard to ensure that vulnerable children are risk assessed, receive food parcels and continue to receive differentiated learning to help support their special education needs. Schools have worked tirelessly to help support children’s bubbles that have been sent home and, as a consequence, have had to be home educated for their period of isolation. Thank you.

Blackpool Council have also commissioned new special educational resources at existing settings within our community. I am passionate about ensuring that the children in Blackpool are supported within our community with the best provision available to us. The provisions at Marton, Thames, Boundary and Revoe are specialising in key areas of SEND and our focus is for these children to engage with a full education programme that allows them to be included in school life and to eventually succeed into adulthood.

Congratulations too to the Local Offer Consultation Group – our group of charities, parents and young people who have worked with Blackpool Council to ensure that our Local Offer is now an award winning website. Well done to everyone involved. I would encourage all parents and young people to become more involved in the Local Offer Consultation Group by completing the form or by contacting This would involve minimum time and effort on your part, but we would be ensuring that your voice is heard. Thank you.

Our short break review continues, and I look forward to being able to report more about the provision for the SEND community to you in the first quarter of 2021. SENDIASS continues to work hard on engaging with and supporting parents and carers. Again, thank you for everyone’s hard work.

Lastly, and by no means least, I wish to extend my thanks and my very best wishes to Keith Berry, Head at Park who is retiring at the end of this Autumn Term. I have known and worked with Keith for many years, and he has been an inspiration and a tireless force in supporting children and young people with SEND. Thank you Keith for all your hard work– you will be missed. I, along with all the people who have worked with you, wish you a very long and happy retirement.

May I wish you all a safe and happy Christmas.

Yours sincerely


Phil Thompson
Head of SEND

Time / Date Details

When is it on
December 2020
 Last updated: 15 Dec 2020