Local Offer - Latest News and Hot Topics

Read about the latest news and hot topics.

Latest News

SEND Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA)

The Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA) has been developed to help us to understand and identify the needs of children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) in Doncaster and identify priorities which will help improve identification and outcomes.
SEND Joint Strategic Needs Assessment - 2023
Download (2.04MB - PDF)

SEMH Hubs Set to Open in 2024

The City Of Doncaster Council is in the process of developing four specialist Social, Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH) Hubs. The Hubs will be attached to three primary schools and one secondary school in Doncaster. When they are fully operational, the Hubs are expected to provide places to up to 10 children each, on a full time basis. The Hubs will be attached to:

  • Brooke Primary Academy
  • Castle Hills Primary Academy
  • Conisbrough Ivanhoe Primary Academy
  • The McAuley Catholic High School

The Hubs are expected to be operational in 2024 and placements are likely to be allocated to children who have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP).

Further updates on the SEMH Hubs will be shared on the Local Offer as and when this becomes available.

New Family Fund Grant Programme

Family Fund have opened the new Support for Families with Disabled Children (SFDC) grant programme in England, open to families with disabled or seriously ill children and young people aged 17 or under, on a low income. The SFDC programme is funded by the Department for Education, and replaces Family Fund's previous main programme for families in England, but offers grants for the same wide range of items to make family life that bit easier, including household items or grants for days out and family breaks for fun and relaxation together.

Find out more about the programme on the Family Fund website.

Joint SEND Commissioning Strategy

The SEND Joint Commissioning Strategy sets out how we, as a Doncaster City partnership, will work together over the next 3 years. This outlines our shared commissioning priorities and principles to improve the outcomes for 0–25-year-old Children, Young People with SEND (with or without Education Health and Care Plans) and their families. This will be supported by the data and intelligence provided by the SEND JSNA, which provides a clear assessment of local needs.

Joint SEND Commissioning Strategy 2023-2025
Download (1.73MB - PDF)

Nursery World Pre School of the Year Winners 2023

We are beyond proud and thrilled to the share that Seedlings, Doncaster were the winners of Pre School of the Year at the prestigious National Nursery World Awards 2023 on Saturday 30th September 2023!

Huge congratulations to the Early Years Inclusion and Portage team for their dedication, passion and unlimited commitment in driving forward change for our children and families with Special Educational Needs and or disabilities, within our City of Doncaster.

Seedlings received huge praise from the highly esteemed judges in its commendation stating, “the unique Ofsted rated outstanding provision, is the only specialised provision nursery where children can attend without having an Educational Health and Care Plan and or a diagnosis. Owing to the highly skilled staffs alternative and augmentative communication, the curriculum is embedded within the ethos and philosophy of the nursery”.

”Children are immensely valued by deeply nurturing staff, who have high expectations of them all. As a result, all children including children with special educational needs and/or disabilities make very rapid progress”.

“The pre school not only delivers excellent outcomes to families but acts as a system leader in Doncaster by modelling best practice, enhancing staff knowledge and experience, and sharing its expertise with other establishments that support children with SEND.”

It goes without saying an immeasurable thank you to all our children and families as without their belief, support and partnership this award would not have been possible.

Launch of CFVI Parents and Carers Guide

The Curriculum Framework for Children and Young People with Vision Impairment (CFVI) was developed to support children and young people with vision impairment access an appropriate and equitable education.

Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) are pleased to announce the launch of our CFVI Parent and Carer Guide, which has been produced to help parents and carers understand and use the CFVI when talking to professionals about a child’s education.

The CFVI can be used to enable parents and carers to understand the pathways of support for their child and the services who may be involved in providing that support within a given nationwide context. This increased understanding of the key areas of learning for children and young people (CYP) with vision impairment along with the common language and shared vocabulary that the CFVI provides, should enable parents to feel more comfortable and confident when meeting professionals to discuss a child’s progress and participation in education and the wider world.

The guide is written by and for parents and carers and provides information about how to best use the CFVI to advocate for CYP with vision impairment, including first-hand experiences and example questions that can be adapted for use in meetings with the professionals who form a key part of a child’s education journey.

Download your copy here.

Join RNIB's launch events to learn more about how the CFVI can support you!

RNIB will be hosting two online events to launch the new guide:

Parent/carer guide launch event: Wednesday 17 May 19.30-20.30

Parents and carers are invited to join a free, online event via MS Teams featuring parents and VI education professionals on hand to answer any questions. Find out how the guide can help you make practical use of the CFVI. There will be the opportunity to send in any questions for the panel ahead of the event.

To book a place on the launch event and submit any questions for consideration, please email cypf@rnib.org.uk with ‘CFVI Parent Guide’ in the subject line and we will contact you with further instructions (please check junk folders if you do not receive our reply).

Parent/carer guide professional event: Wednesday 24 May 16.00–17.00

Following the launch of the parent guide, RNIB are inviting professionals to attend an event that will explain the background to the Parent Guide as well as offer the opportunity to discuss some of the questions and topics that it covers. The focus of this session is supporting professionals to work effectively with families using the shared language and resources the CFVI offers.

For more information about the launch event for professionals, and to book your place, visit our ‘Training for professionals supporting learners with visual impairments’.

Local Offer Annual Report

Read our Local Offer Annual Report for 2022-2023.

Local Offer - Annual Report

Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and Alternative Provision (AP) Improvement Plan

Early in March 2023, the government has published the response to the SEND Review Green Paper consultation – the SEND and Alternative Provision Improvement Plan: Right support, right place, right time.

This plan follows extensive engagement with around 6,000 consultation responses and 175 events, ensuring the new reforms take into account the views of children, young people, parents and carers.

The plan sets out a clear roadmap to transform the SEND and AP system. It includes:

  • establishing a single national system that delivers for every child and young person with SEND so that they enjoy their childhood, achieve good outcomes, and arewell prepared for adulthood and employment
  • giving families greater confidence that their child will be supported to fulfil their potential through improved mainstream provision in their local setting
  • for those children and young people with SEND who do require an EHCP and specialist provision, we will ensure they get prompt access to the support they need, and that parents don’t face an adversarial system to secure this
  • strengthening accountability across the system so that everyone is held to account for supporting children and young people with SEND

Read the improvement plan in full here.

There are also a range of supporting documents available including:

Yorkshire and Humber Local Offer Video

We have worked together with local authorities across Yorkshire and Humber to create a video about The Local Offer. You can view it on the link below.

Yorkshire & Humber Local Offer Video

Short Breaks Survey

Doncaster Council and our partner agencies want to gather regular feedback from families who have received support via Short Breaks.

If your child receives Short Breaks, we would appreciate it if you could take a moment to complete the short online survey using the link below:

Short Breaks Survey

Local Area SEND Inspection

An Area SEND Inspection is due to take place in Doncaster at any time. An Area SEND Inspection inspections education, health and care services for children and young people, aged 0-25 years, with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) in a local area.

To find out more about Area SEND Inspections, and learn how you can get involved, please visit the page below:

Area SEND Inspection

Provisional Dates for Autism Workshops for Parents

Please note that these are subject to change – please check the Doncaster Autism Service Facebook page for more info

  • 02/02/23 | 1pm-3pm – Accessing support in school
  • 23/02/23 | 10am-1pm – Managing behaviours that challenge
  • 09/03/23 | 10am-12pm – Preparation for transition from Primary School to Secondary school
  • 21/03/23 | 10am-12pm – Post 16 Transition and options
  • 27/03/23 | 10am-12pm – Explaining Autism to your child and siblings
  • 11/05/23 | 10am-12pm – Using PECS
  • 23/05/23 | 10am-12pm – Managing Anxiety
  • 13/06/23 |10am-12pm – Food and Autism
  • 29/06/23 | 10am-12pm– Home Schooling
  • 13/07/23 | 10am-12pm – Surviving the Summer break

There will also be evening sessions planned but these are yet to be confirmed.

SEND Review - October 2022

Doncaster Council want to hear from children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), and their parents and carers, about the support they receive and how it can be improved. Your feedback will help influence the new SEND Strategy. Have your say using one of the surveys below:

Holiday Activities and Food Programme (HAF)

The Holidays Activities and Food programme is managed by Doncaster Council in partnership with a range of other local organisations. The programme aims to provide children and young people with opportunities to participate in fun activities and enjoy nutritious food during school holidays.

Find out more: Holiday activities and food programme 2021

Hot Topics

Single Route of Redress – SEND Tribunal Extended Powers

In line with Schedule 2 of the Special Educational Needs and Disability Regulations 2014 all local areas in England are required to publish details in their local offers for ‘notifying parents and young people of their right to appeal a decision of the local authority to the Tribunal’. The following information on the extended powers of the SEND Tribunal, is to supplement the information that must already be published on the right to appeal a decision of the local authority, has been included below to support local authorities in fulfilling this duty. Read more about the Single Route of Redress.

Older News

DfE SEND Review: Right Support, Right Place, Right Time

The government has published a green paper on the future of the special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and alternative provision (AP) system and is undertaking a public consultation on the green paper’s proposals.

You can access information on the review, and share your comments at: SEND Review: Right support, right place, right time

Activity Alliance launches campaign to challenge negative attitudes towards disabled children and young people

National charity Activity Alliance is calling time on negative perceptions through its campaign, ‘Who says?’. The leading voice for disabled people in sport and activity wants disabled children and young people to have the same opportunities to be active as their non-disabled peers.

Who says? draws attention to just some of the negative perceptions that can impact disabled children and young people’s opportunities to be active. Activity Alliance’s research highlights that there is significant work to do for it to be a level playing field for disabled children and young people in sport and activity.   Only a quarter (25 per cent) of disabled children say they take part in sport and activity all of the time at school. This is compared to 41 per cent of non-disabled children.

Who says? focuses on four perceptions about disabled children and young people. The perceptions arise from the charity’s research – My Active Future report:

  1. Young disabled people should sit out of PE lessons
  2. Disabled people can’t be leaders
  3. Disabled children can’t grow up to be active adults
  4. Families can’t be active together

The campaign is brought to life through four short films. Who says? provides straight-talking and upbeat insight from a mixture of disabled and non-disabled children and adults on what the perceptions mean to them.

Disabled people of all ages have countless personal experiences that lead to marginalisation, low confidence, and inactivity. Who says? empowers people of all ages, on and off the field of play, to challenge their own and others’ perceptions.

Kirsty Clarke, Director of Innovation and Business Development for Activity Alliance, said:

“We’re delighted to launch this year’s campaign after two years in a pandemic affecting disabled children and adults the most. Changing attitudes is core to achieving our vision - fairness for disabled people in sport and activity. Who says? raises awareness of negative perceptions that are ingrained in our society. If we want a nation in the future that is inclusive and active, we need to address our own and others’ views.

“Everyone deserves the right to be active, how and where they wish to be. The positive messages in our campaign are authentic and give a taste of how negativity is affecting real people. We need more people to join us as we build a movement that pushes for change and fairness.” 

Tim Hollingsworth, Chief Executive for Sport England and Government Disability and Access Ambassador for sport and physical activity, said: 

“Tackling the inequalities that disabled people face when playing sport and getting active is central to our strategy, Uniting the Movement. And there is no aspect of that more important than ensuring positive experiences for all at a young age.

“Disabled children and young people have been disproportionately negatively impacted by the pandemic. So we absolutely welcome this campaign. Challenging perceptions and breaking down barriers so that more disabled young people have positive experiences of being active that will last into their adult lives is essential.”

Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work Chloe Smith, said:

“Sport is vitally important for our physical and mental health, and everyone deserves an equal opportunity to get active.

“We know common misconceptions can prevent participation in sport and I’m pleased to support this campaign to help remove these barriers for young disabled people.

“Like Activity Alliance, the Government is committed to levelling up the playing field for disabled people and those with long-term health conditions by working with Sport England to address the inequalities they face.”

Rainbow Mbuangi, Who says? film contributor, said:

“It was great to be involved in the Who says? films. Challenging people’s attitudes and perceptions of disabled young people is really important to me as a young person. I believe that everyone is equal and should receive the same amount of help within society. I want to grow up in a society that is friendly, inclusive and thinks more positively about disabled children and adults. As a totally blind sportsman my   ambition is to continue as a young leader and role model in sport and show other young disabled people that anything is possible. Sport has transformed my life – who says we can’t let more disabled children have the same positive experience?”

Activity Alliance wants everyone to get involved in the campaign and join the movement by posting your own experiences using the campaigns hashtag, #WhoSays. Share Activity Alliance’s Who says? films and make your own to add your voice to the campaign. 

To find out more, please visit the Who says? campaign page. Follow the #WhoSays campaign on Twitter.

National Autistic Society: School Report 2021

The National Autistic Society (NAS) have recently launched their 2021 school report, which is based on surveys of over 4,000 parents, carers, autistic children and young people about their personal experiences of education and support they receive.

Findings showed that:

  • A quarter (26%) of parents waited over three years to receive support for their child.
  • Three quarters (74%) said their child’s school place did not fully meet their needs – this has almost doubled since 2017.
  •  Only one in four parents are satisfied with the special educational needs support their child is receiving.
  • Less than half of autistic children are happy in school.
  • 44% feel their child’s special educational needs are not being met in general.
  • Seven in ten autistic children and young people said school would be better if more teachers understood autism.
Read the news story here, or view the full report here.

The Children and Young People's Mental Health Coalition: Members Report 2021

The Children & Young People’s Mental Health Coalition (CYPMHC) has published its Members’ report for 2021, which reviews the state of mental health support for children and young people in England.

Topics covered by the report, based on insight gathered from coalition members, young people and parents, include: the impact of the pandemic on mental health; rising demand for services; monitoring and identifying need in education; improving access to treatment; and mental health inequalities, including the impact of living in unsafe housing.

Recommendations include: the development of a cross-departmental strategy to put the mental health of children at the heart of future policy initiatives and education recovery; supporting every school, college and university to adopt a ‘whole education approach’ to mental health and wellbeing; and launching a network of early support hubs to provide young people with somewhere to go to access mental health support.

View the full report here.

Thomas Pocklington Trust: What do we see? 2

Thomas Pocklington Trust is delighted to announce the launch of ‘What do we see? 2 – How the world looks to vision impaired children’. Created for professionals who work with vision impaired children and their families, this video simulates five common sight conditions in an educational setting to raise awareness and understanding of each condition, how it affects a young person, and tips to support them.

Using augmented reality, the video simulates five of the most prevalent conditions in children and young people to show how things typically look to those living with: Nystagmus, Retinitis Pigmentosa, Cataracts, Retinopathy of Prematurity and Optic Atrophy. Watch the video here.

Updated Special Provision Fund Plan - May 2021

New online course for parents, relatives and friends of children with additional needs

'Understanding your child with additional needs', is an online course for parents, relatives and friends of children who may have a physical or learning disability or who may have autistic traits. It is a substantial course, similar to ‘Understanding your child’ but it has been rewritten for parents of children with additional needs. 

Families in Doncaster can access this free course online with the code: STGEORGE 

£280m capital funding boost for children and young people with SEND

Investment will provide more specialist places and improve provision for SEND pupils across country. Read more.

The Independent Review of Children's Social Care: Call for Ideas (Closed 15/12/21)

The Independent Review of Children’s Social Care is inviting submissions to a new ‘ Call for Ideas’, an opportunity for stakeholders to share ideas to change and improve the children’s social care system. Submitted ideas will help to inform the Care Review’s final recommendations, due for publication in Spring 2022.

Submit your ideas here. Submissions are open until 5pm on 15 December 2021. 

New funding delivers £780 million for children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND)

Prime Minister boosts schools with £14 billion package. The deal includes £780 million extra for children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) in 2020/21, so every pupil can access the education that is right for them, and none are held back from reaching their potential. GOV.UK Press Release

100-Place Purpose Built School, Bader Academy, for Children with Autism Now Open

The brand new 100-place school that which has been purpose-built to offer specialist education for children with Communication and Interaction needs is now open!

The school was given the green light by planning committee on 30th July 2019 and opened it's doors September 2020. 

Bader Academy will welcome young people aged 5-19 from across Doncaster, with the construction of the facility starting in the coming months, subject to final approval from the Environmental Agency. The newly built school will be located on land adjacent to Hungerhill School in Edenthorpe, and will be run by Nexus Multi-Academy Trust.

The school’s curriculum will be specially designed for children with communication and interaction needs (high functioning Autism), enabling them to thrive and gain the skills and knowledge they need to progress into positive further or higher education, training and employment. It will nurture the development of children’s communication and interaction skills in a different environment to that of a traditional classroom, with smaller class sizes and a personalised curriculum.

Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Schools, Councillor Nuala Fennelly said of the announcement:

“We are thrilled to announce that this brand new school has been given the go ahead and work can now begin on a facility that has the potential to transform the lives of many young people with very specific needs. These students are capable of leading independent lives and achieving academically, but could be held back by the traditional school system. It will also offer some students who currently travel out of Doncaster to access specialist education, to be educated closer to home.”

Nexus Multi-Academy Trust who will run the new school, will bring their expertise of running other specialist schools including Pennine View in Doncaster.

Warren Carratt, Chief Executive Officer of Nexus Academy Trust added:

“We are really excited to be opening this new academy. We’ve worked closely with Doncaster Council throughout the design phase of this project and now that we have planning permission we’re really keen to push forward and see the school come to life. Bader Academy will add more choice for children and families and puts Doncaster ahead of other areas in reshaping the local offer.”

The school’s namesake, local war hero, Sir Douglas Bader was famed for his story of overcoming adversity to achieve great things, and it is hoped this will inspire young people attending the school to ‘reach for the sky’ and achieve their dreams.

Speaking of the naming of the school, Chief Executive of the Sir Douglas Bader Foundation, David Bickers added:

“This is a wonderful use of the Douglas Bader name associating him to a new exciting forward-thinking School that will benefit and inspire those with this particular form of disability.‘’

Mental Health and Well Being Local Transformation Plan 2019

The Mental Health and Well Being Local Transformation Plan details the current state of play and what we will aim to do over the next five years to improve services.

Doncaster Local Transformation Plan
Download (5.1MB)
Finalised Data Collection Template
Download (183KB
Doncaster LTP 2019-20 final version
Download (9.97MB - DOCX)
Doncaster LTP 2019 FINAL
Download (6.48MB - PDF)

Review of SEND Provision 2018/19

Thank you to young people, parents/carers and practitioners for completing our consultation survey on developing SEND provision in Doncaster and taking part in our engagement events. 

Please see below to view the outcome of our consultation and engagement activity.

Summary of CYP Survey Monkey Feedback
Download (202KB - PDF)
Appendix 2 Summary of Survey Monkey Feedback
Download (362KB - PDF)

Read more about the review of SEND Provision for Doncaster.

Multi - Agency Early Help Strategy for Children, Young People and their Families

Early Help is not a service but a way of ‘thinking’ and ‘working’ through a collaborative approach between services with families. It is about prevention and earlier intervention, by providing support to families when a need is identified or as soon as a problem emerges, at any point in a child’s life. This can be from the point of conception through to the teenage years, to prevent or reduce the need for statutory services. Early help can also prevent further problems arising, for example, if it is provided as part of a support plan where a child has returned home from a period of care, or protection through Children’s Social Care. It is about working with the family by identifying their strengths whatever they may be and involving wider family members and friends building resilience to sustain change and to find their own solutions in the future.

Local authorities, under Section 10 of the Children Act 2004, have a responsibility to promote inter-agency cooperation to improve the welfare of children.

DCST Early Help Guide for Families Booklet
Download (3.15MB - PDF)
Early Help Strategy Revised 2017 to 2020 Final with Action Plan
Download (1.26MB - PDF)

Doncaster Local Authority’s amended Transfer Plan, Year 3 Progress report and final Progress Report

Trailblazer - Supporting the Mental Health of Children and Young People 2019

41 educational settings within Doncaster have been chosen to take part in the development of a project to support children and young people’s mental health, otherwise known as the mental health trailblazer.

More information about what is involved and who is involved in the development of this project can be found in the documents below.

Trailblazer SEMH 2019
Download (332KB - PDF)
Development Offer for Trailblazer - local offer
Download (199KB - PDF)
A audit and self-evaluation tool to promote wellbeing and mental health through a whole school approach
Download (361KB - PDF) 

Back to Get Involved and Latest News

Local Offer Homepage


Last updated: 08 February 2024 16:56:40


Find Doncaster Local Offer on Facebook

City of Doncaster Council’s Families Information Service is responsible for co-ordinating and publishing the Local Offer – Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND).

Did you find this page helpful?