I was really thrilled to be asked to introduce myself and my new role within the Inclusion team at Somerset Council.

In December I started my role as Head of SEND – this has meant that as well as the Statutory SEND team I am now responsible for the wider SEND Support teams.

I have worked with children and young people with SEND throughout my career mostly within Further Education where I led a number of Supported Employment initiatives to support young people with SEND into paid work. Playing a role in the development of Project SEARCH at Musgrove Park Hospital remains one of my proudest achievements and I continue to chair the Supported Employment Forum here at Somerset Council.

This links into the recent release of the Government’s SEND and Alternative Provision Plan with its focus on successful transitions and preparation for adulthood.

It has been an exciting week for Somerset with the announcement of a new specialist free school for children in east Somerset.

Our Local Offer Live events start this week and include an introduction to our Somerset Supported Employment Co-ordinators, please book in and find out more about how young people with SEND can be supported into work. There are many other exciting opportunities as part of the Local Offer Live week. The Unstoppables also share their update, with an invitation to apply to become an Unstoppable. Please take the opportunity to apply and become part of this fantastic group- you won’t regret it!

Claire Merchant-Jones

Head of SEND

Somerset Council

Claire Merchant-Jones photograph

About this article

March 6, 2023