The opportunities for children and young people to ensure they have the best possible start to life were the focus of two key events which have been hosted by North Yorkshire Council.
About 140 education leaders and headteachers attended an event at Thirsk Racecourse earlier this month to focus on best practice and innovative solutions for inclusion and special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) for schools and post-16 education.
Attendees took part in interactive workshops and heard about the great work that is happening in the county. Topics included leading a proactive approach for settings and children with autism, videos communicating the many different pathways to employment, and approaches that schools can use to support children and young people with behaviour needs.
An early years’ event was also held at Ripley Castle with more than 50 education leaders and head teachers attending. They heard about the great work happening in early years and there was a focus on enhancing skills and confidence for those working with children with SEND.
The move was part of the council’s work to support Inclusion Locality Boards; a collaboration between education settings and the Local Authority, to improve education outcomes and share best practice.
North Yorkshire Council’s executive member for education, learning and skills, Cllr Annabelle Wilkinson, said: “It is a council plan priority to strengthen our work with partners to improve outcomes for children and young people.
“We are committed to working with school leaders to strengthen the early identification and range of provision for children with SEND and the recent events we’ve supported are a step toward this goal.”
The authority’s assistant director for inclusion, Janet Crawford, added: “We want all of our children and young people to have opportunities to reach their full potential.
“In North Yorkshire, we have over 16,000 children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and we can lead the way on inclusion through working collaboratively, proactively and innovatively.
“We are pleased to support the work of Locality Boards and these engagement events show how together we can share practice and be ambitious. These events have captured the passion of our educational leaders in ensuring schools and education settings are inclusive communities”.
The chief executive officer of Northern Star Academies Trust and the chair of Harrogate, Knaresborough and Ripon Locality Board, Jenn Plews, said: “It’s vital that our education leaders continue to come together to collaborate and connect with a focus on inclusion to meet the needs of our children and young people. It’s an opportunity to learn and share best practice and the events we’ve held are a stepping stone to more collaboration.”
Meanwhile, North Yorkshire Council’s executive member for children and families, Cllr Janet Sanderson, said: “All our children and young people are entitled to a high-quality education that promotes high standards. We want them to receive the very best support at the right time, be able to access suitable education and to achieve their potential by being well prepared for a fulfilling, healthy life.”
Keynote speaker, Carol Allen who advises on inclusion worldwide, added: “I hope that schools in North Yorkshire got the message that everyone can be inclusive. You don’t need extra resources – just a creative and positive mind. Every child and teacher can succeed.”
There are five locality boards in North Yorkshire:
- Hambleton and Richmondshire.
- Harrogate, Knaresborough and Ripon.
- Scarborough, Whitby and Ryedale.
The locality boards work together to find solutions to improve education across the county.