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Parent Carer Survey 2023

To better understand if services are meeting the needs of users, a consultation with the parents and carers of children and young people 0-25 that interact with the SEND system was undertaken in spring 2023. The aim of this consultation was to help develop and shape future services to ensure they work best for the end users: the children and young people with SEND and their parents and carers. Below are some of the key themes that came out of the survey and how they are being addressed.

1. You said:

We want more support to help our young people travel independently.

We have:

Successfully run a pilot travel training scheme for young people in the Summer holidays of 2023 (see details below). There are plans to run the programme again in 2024 as part of an ongoing project.

Pilot travel training review

19 children and young people participated in the training, 14 of whom took part in four days of training with Enable Ability and five of whom took part in five days of training at a local  School.

Feedback from the participants and their parents was very positive. After the training one of the pupils commented that they would be keen to take a trip to the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard for the first time.  One parent of a child who had attended the Enable Ability training commented,

“just wanted to say a big thank you for today. CS has been able to recite all that he has learnt from today’s session which has been amazing … so well done to you and your team”.

All of the participants on the scheme were sent a Solent Go bus pass topped up with 5 days’ worth of travel to encourage them to keep getting out and about on the bus.

2. You said:

We would like to have better access to Short Breaks.

We have:

  • Set up a community inclusion project with local providers, and local PCFs, with an aim to make existing services more inclusive and accessible. This includes surveying the public, running training and advice sessions for providers as well as delivering parent/carer sessions.
  • Dynamite Young inspectors are working on inspecting local venues and rewarding them with a sticker of approval if they are accessible and inclusive which is featured on the Local Offer Dynamite pages.

3. You said:

We would like better navigation on the Local Offer website.

We have:

  • Investigated better search functions within the limitations of the website.
  • We are working on condensing and deleting old pages.
  • We have made significant improvements to the Preparing For Adulthood pages and the Young Person’s section of the Local Offer website.
  • The work to improve the Local Offer website is ongoing and we welcome your feedback and ideas.


4. You said:

We want better SEND support within schools.

We have:

  • Expanded the Inclusion Outreach Service, which includes teachers from Solent Academies Trust, and organised a comprehensive programme of training for teachers, SENCO and Teaching Assistants.
  • Introduced parent hubs across 16 school in Portsmouth where parents can access support. These are proving to be incredibly popular and useful. Feedback from a parent who has visited one of the hubs below:

“I walked into the room and there were 12 other parents sat down and for the first time during my son’s secondary school experience I didn’t feel alone. They just listened to me, they didn’t judge me and actually asked me to share something positive about my child or something I’m proud off. Most people forget there are nice things about our children who have ASD and ADHD.

  • We have started work on an admissions protocol to support the primary to secondary transition.

5. You said:

The cost of Living is affecting you. Higher proportions of SEND families are buying less or cheaper food, trying to use less electricity and using food banks.

Our response:

We recognise this is a national problem and need to do more to try and support our families. We have set up a working group with parent carers to look at how we can provide more information and identify ways to offer support.

Residents can use the Cost of living hub – Portsmouth City Council for support.

6. You said:

Getting assessments and diagnosis is really difficult.

We have:

Launched the Neurodiversity Profiling tool alongside the multi-disciplinary team within the city.

The tool identifies the needs of a young person in co-production with the family and professionals/setting that knows them best. Following on from the tool being completed support and strategies can be implemented to meet needs at an earlier stage.

The neurodiversity multi-disciplinary team are available to support and signpost families. You do not need a diagnosis or referral into the team to access support. Anyone can contact the team for advice and support.

The ND Profiling Tool has been co-produced by Portsmouth City Council in partnership with Portsmouth Parent Voice, Dynamite and partners across education, health, social care and early years. It is delivered through Health and Care Portsmouth.

7. You said:

Mental health and accessing support such as CAMHS is not working well.

We are:

  • Solent NHS Trust are due to introduce CAMHS self referral pathway for young people and families.  They plan for this to be in place by May 2024.
  • Work is underway with partners to develop an Integrated Front Door for Children and Young Peoples Mental Health which will improve and streamline access to services and support.  The plan is for this to be in place 2025.

We have:

  • Co-designed with parent representatives simple and accessible guides that described the social and emotional mental health related support services, how to access that support and the self-help resources that help young people and families to thrive. The guides described the support for children 5 – 11 years of age and 11 – 16 years of age.  The guidance was aimed at both professionals and parents/carers.


  • We also produced general social emotional mental health guidance to support professionals, young people and families




8. You said:

There is a lack of knowledge and understanding about SEND in the community.

We are:

  • Held a Moving Forward Event in March 2024 which provided information on education, employment, health and community. There were over 40 exhibitors present.
  • Held a Local Offer Live in Cosham Community Centre in November which saw a turn out of over 80 people. Plans for a Local Offer Live in Summer 2024 are underway.
  • Running termly campaigns and themes through the Local Offer to provide information on topics that are trending with families, drive traffic to the Local Offer website and increase general awareness of SEND in the community.



9. You said:

There is a lack of facilities within the community for children with SEND.

We have:

  • Set up a working group with local providers to encourage venues to be more inclusive which includes training sessions.
  • Run a Summer Fun Local Offer campaign in 2023, to list all the activities and venues that are SEND friendly during the summer holidays. This was a successful campaign with lots of traffic to the Local Offer website. There are plans to run a similar campaign in the summer of 2024 which we hope will not only provide information to families, but will encourage providers not listed to consider their SEND offer.

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Contact the Portsmouth Send Local Offer to gain help, get more information or to leave feedback about the website.

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