Access and Inclusion Service
(Special Educational Needs)
Everyone has the right to an education. For some youngsters, having a disability means specialist help is needed in the classroom. That’s why the council’s Access and Inclusion service works to come up with new, innovative ways of helping children to learn.
“It’s our job to develop ideas and methods that give children with disabilities access to the national curriculum while staying in mainstream schools wherever possible,” says Russell Bloom, technical officer for the council’s special educational needs service. “We help them overcome learning barriers such as physical, sensory, intellectual or emotional problems.
“To do this, more than 70 specialist members of staff offer advice, guidance and support to schools and pupils on topics ranging from access to buildings, information and the curriculum, to different ways for pupils to hold a pen, etc. and come up with solutions that fit a child’s particular needs using specially qualified tutors and state-of-the-art technology.
“When a child with a disability arrives in the catchment area for a school, we work closely with the Educational Psychology Service to make an assessment of their needs and draw up a strategy that is tailored towards that individual child. Maybe they have a visual impairment or need to use a wheelchair to get around. Sometimes, they might not be able to move or talk, or English might not be their first language. The challenge for us is how we can help these children obtain an education that is as normal as possible.
“At the moment, we are helping 2,300 pupils – almost 10% of the school population - in schools throughout Bridgend County Borough, but it’s entirely possible that more children with special educational needs could arrive in the area at any moment. Obviously, there’s a high cost involved in providing the children with this service, but it plays an essential role in improving their quality of life. Without this specialist help, many would be simply unable to communicate at all – it makes a huge difference to their lives.”
And it is making a difference – with the help of the service, pupils have been able to take GCSEs and A levels and many have gone on to study at university.
The aim of the service
The Access and Inclusion service seeks to ensure that all children and young people identified as having special educational needs within the county borough have access to a broad and balanced curriculum, the environment and all relevant information.
The service will support schools, in partnership with families and other agencies, in achieving this aim within pupil’s local mainstream school wherever practicable.
Range of services provided by the Access and Inclusion service
The service directly manages, or supports schools in making provision for the following range of needs:
- Visual impairment
- Hearing impairment
- Communication and interaction disorders
- Motor/physical disabilities
- Specific learning difficulties
- General learning difficulties
The team also has responsibility for the following areas:
- Able and talented pupils
- Elective home education
- English as an additional language
- Family learning difficulties
The Information and Communications Technology Special Educational Needs Technical Officer supports provision across the whole range of service responsibility.
Some of the key functions of the service
- To contribute to the identification, assessment and review of the special educational needs of children and young people from 0 to 19 years of age.
- To support schools in managing the process of inclusion
- To make specialist provision for children and young people with special educational needs.
- To provide in-service training for staff who are making special educational provision and others, such as school governors, who have a responsibility for overseeing special educational provision
- To liaise with other statutory and non-statutory agencies to ensure effective, efficient and equitable planning and delivery of provision for children and young people with special educational needs.
- To provide parental advice, guidance and support, or facilitate such support from other agencies
- To represent the Authority on regional and national bodies and contribute to wider research and strategic initiatives
more information about the Access and Inclusion Service, please telephone: (01656) 815230 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org