Hello, and welcome to this month’s SEND news. As ever it is packed full of useful information and news.

“Nothing about us, without us” is a central idea about work with people with SEND – participation is key to getting things right. Josh Lancaster is one young person in Somerset who has made an awesome contribution to ensure the voices of young people with SEND are heard and has influence. He is a member of the Unstoppables, Youth Parliament and Children and Young People’s Self Advocacy. Ealrier this month there was a special event to recognise and celebrate Josh’s contribution. You can find out more below. Thank you, and well done Josh.

I know that sometimes for children and young people with SEND and their families, it is difficult to know what support is available across education, health and care. Somerset’s Local Offer is a really valuable resource for school staff, other professionals and families, with information about what is available across the county. In March we are taking the Local Offer on the road. There are Local Offer Live sessions happening across the county, which will bring together local organisations to share what they do and how children, families and schools can access support. Please do take a look at the information below to find out more.

Finally, I would like to take a moment to share some personal news. At the end of March, I will be stepping down from my position as Service Director of Inclusion. I have decided that it is the right time for to take on a new challenge. From April I will move on to work as a consultant, supporting other local authorities to enhance opportunities for children and young people with additional needs and vulnerabilities.

Somerset is a fantastic place, and it has been incredibly rewarding working here over the past three years. I have met many wonderful people, and enjoyed collaborating with colleagues and partners who share the same dedication to inclusion and breaking down barriers that many children and young people face. I will continue to champion SEND in Somerset even as I move on.

Best wishes,


Rob Hart photograph

About this article

February 29, 2024

Molly Venn