Monthly Archives: February 2020

Cheshire East Autism Team – Service update


Cheshire East Autism Team’s Interim Manager, Joan Sherry, has asked us to share a statement she sent to schools in in January 2020, clarifying how CEAT work to support schools to include children and young people with ASC and social communication difficulties.

The statement says:

CEAT’s offer to School from January 2020

CEAT’s way of working with schools to date has been through a number of methods i.e. training, consultations, school visits, parental support etc.  CEAT has recently undergone an in depth review of its service, looking at what is working well and areas for development. There have also been changes to staffing which will have an impact upon our capacity going forward. We have therefore needed to review our offer in order to ensure that we can continue to provide an equitable and effective service to schools. As part of this process, we have taken the opportunity to look at the schools allocated to our specialist teachers, making some changes with a view to providing more continuity of support from primary through to high schools and reducing travel time for the team. (A list of schools and the teachers allocated to them is attached).

The Jan/Feb half term will be a time of transition.  For those schools that will be having a change of specialist teacher, where possible both teachers will attend the first group consultation to allow for a smooth handover. School visits which are already booked will be honoured as far as possible.

Our programme of support and training for parents will continue in its present form.

We will monitor the service over the next few months and will welcome feedback (with regard to both strengths and areas for development).

The CEAT offer will be as follows:

Group consultations

Schools can bring to consultation children or young people they have concerns about who are presenting with social communication difficulties and/or autistic traits.  The student does not have to have a diagnosis of ASC for CEAT to become involved. Each school will continue to have the opportunity to access a group consultation once every half term. We will also be looking at whether it may be possible to split some of the larger consultation groups into smaller groups in order to ensure that all cases can be heard.

The process will remain the same i.e. :-

  • School provide signed parental consent prior to discussion at Consultation
  • School to complete a preparation form detailing strategies already tried and their impact. It should also be clear what specific concerns school wishes to have addressed at consultation. This should be sent to the relevant CEAT specialist teacher prior to the group consultation
  • Following consultation, school will complete the action plan section of the preparation form and return a copy to CEAT and send a copy to parents
  • Strategies to be implemented and recorded in the action plan prior to review at the next group consultation

Advice for EHCP

Requests for advice for EHCPs will continue to be completed where a child or YP is known to CEAT from a school visit (rather than simply through consultation). We may need to have a flexible approach across our service, meaning that we share the workload to keep advice timely (i.e. a visit and advice may be submitted by a team member who is not the school’s usual Specialist Teacher).


Annual Reviews

CEAT Specialist Teachers will attend annual reviews where the child is known to us and there is significant cause for concern e.g. the placement is in danger of breaking down.

Advice to support diagnosis

With our current capacity level, CEAT will provide support for diagnosis only if the child is known to us and they have been seen by a Specialist Teacher.  The most recent CEAT report can then be sent with a supplementary email or short telephone call, but an additional visit will not be possible.  If the child is not known to CEAT, then diagnosticians will need to receive an education report directly from the school. We are in discussions with Health regarding how best we can support diagnosis moving forward.

School visits:

A school visit may be requested if there are still significant concerns about a child or young person despite undergoing at least two cycles of plan, do, review via Group Consultation. In exceptional circumstances a visit could be requested sooner. With the current level of staffing, CEAT will have a limited capacity to offer school visits. We are looking at a probable allocation of either 0, 1 or two half day visits per term per school, depending upon the number of pupils on roll and the level of need. Such a visit could include:

  • Observation of a child/YP in lesson; 1:1 meeting with the child/YP (which may include an informal assessment); report submitted to school to be shared with parents
  • SCERTS observation
  • RAMP – specialist teacher to support school and parents to create a RAMP for a particular child/YP
  • Meeting with SENCO and/or class teacher to discuss one or more children and provide strategies

In addition, where appropriate we may also be able to offer a limited number of visits as follows:

  • CEAT SALT observation and assessment of child/YP, followed by a report with strategies for school to implement (referral via Specialist Teacher and only appropriate where NHS SALT are not involved)
  • Specialist Support Assistant (referral via Specialist Teacher)
    • Support Specialist Teacher to complete Informal Assessment
    • Advice and modelling to TA/Teacher re use of visuals
    • A short, targeted programme of 1:1 support for emotional literacy, self-esteem and self-awareness

Training offer

  • Staff meetings. This could be focussed on a particular child/yp who is causing concern, or on a specific area of ASC (45 – 60 min)
  • TA training – focus on specific techniques and strategies (45 – 60 min)
  • Bespoke training
    • 2 hours £175.00
    • Half day £250.00
    • Full day £500.00
  • 2 Day training
    • £75.00 for maintained school
    • £150.00 for Academies and Free Schools


Your Future! Options and information events for Young People

Thinking Ahead! Planning your future: information events for young people with SEND

Drop in events for all young people with SEND (age 12 years and above) and their families – no need to book!

* Youth Support Service * Education * Social Care * Health services * Activities *  Independent Living * Employment * Healthy Living *

  • Crewe – Thursday 26 March 2020
    Crewe Alexandra Football Club, CW2 6EB
    12.30 – 3.30pm and 5.30 – 7.30pm 
  • Macclesfield – Thursday 2 April 2020
    Macclesfield Town Hall, SK10 1EA
    12.30 – 3.30pm and 5.30 – 7.30pm

Any questions please contact Youth Support Service: 
Crewe –
Telephone: 01270 686923.
Macclesfield –
Telephone: 01625 384320

Meet the new Central Locality SEND Team

Parent Carers are invited to come along and meet the new Central Locality SEND team

Meet your locality SEND Team – Parent Carer Coffee mornings

You are invited! Meet your Locality SEND team

Following the recent restructure of the Cheshire East SEND team (click here for more information on the SEND team restructure), we have arranged coffee mornings for parent carers to meet the SEND officers and Locality manager.

Click here for updated contact details for all SEND teams

North locality (Macclesfield, Knutsford, Wilmslow, Poynton)

Central locality (Sandbach, Congleton)

South locality (Crewe, Nantwich)

  • 3 March 2020, 10:30 to 12:30
  • The Lounge, Autism Inclusive – Unit 6, Brierley Business Centre, Crewe, CW1 2AZ


Short Breaks Re-Commissioning: Consultation Survey Results

Recently the Short Breaks Team consulted with parents, young people and short break providers to ask their views and priorities for short breaks. The responses will inform the re-commissioning of providers’ bids to provide short breaks for children & young people with SEND.

You can click here to see the results of those consultations:

Cheshire East Parent Carer Forum has been invited to send a parent representative to participate in the consideration of the short listed bids. We would encourage members’ to contact us with any views or experiences they wish to share with their representatives – please email or call 07794431768

SEND Inspection Revisit – Information for Parent Carers

Following the Local Area SEND Inspection in 2018, Cheshire East SEND Partnership were required to put together a Written Statement of Action, setting out how they will address the key issued that were identified.

The next stage is that the inspectors will be coming back, to carry out a Revisit.  The SEND Partnership will get a call on a Monday to let them know, and the Inspectors’ next call should be to the Parent Carer Forum.

Cheshire East SEND Partnership are expecting to get the call anytime, and once we hear we will let you know, and will keep you updated throughout.

In the meantime, the SEND Partnership have put together a briefing for Parent Carers to explain what will happen and how the inspectors will gather their views and experiences.  Click here for the SEND Revisit Information for Parents as a PDF

About the Local area special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) re-visit
SEND re-visit due soon!

Cheshire East is expecting a SEND re-visit anytime between now and April 2020. This is a short guide so you know what this involves and what to expect.

What is a SEND re-visit?

The purpose of the SEND re-visit is for Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to assess if Cheshire East has made enough progress in addressing the two areas of significant weakness that they identified in the joint local area inspection of Special Educational Needs and Disabilities in 2018.  The two areas were:

  • Area 1 – the timeliness, process and quality of education, health and care (EHC) plans
  • Area 2 – the lack of an effective autism spectrum disorder (ASD) pathway and unreasonable waiting times

The inspectors will review how effectively organisations in Cheshire East work together to support children and young people with SEND. In reviewing how well we work together, the inspectors will want to see evidence that we have made sufficient progress in these areas and be assured that we will continue to make further improvements going forward.

What will a SEND re-visit cover?

Cheshire East was required to submit a Written Statement of Action to Ofsted to explain what we would do to address the two areas that were identified in the 2018 SEND inspection. Since this time, members of the 0-25 SEND Partnership and Parent Carer Forum have been working hard to deliver what we said we would do in our Written Statement of Action.

The SEND re-visit will only focus on the progress made in these two areas. It will not review any other elements of support for children and young people with SEND. This means that if you take part in the inspection, inspectors will only ask you about these two areas.

The inspectors will be looking to see what impact our improvements have made to children and young people’s experiences and how our improvements have made a difference to children and young people and their families.

What happens during a re-visit?

The inspectors will contact Cheshire East Council and the Clinical Commissioning Groups on a Monday to announce the SEND re-visit. On this day the inspectors will also inform the Chairperson of the Parent Carer Forum of the re-visit. We will let you know that the inspectors are starting the SEND re-visit through the Parent Carer Forum.

The local area of Cheshire East will then have two weeks (ten working days) before the inspectors arrive on-site. During these two weeks, the local area sends the inspectors information about local services and the progress that has been made against the two areas. They will also work with the inspectors to arrange the timetable for when the inspectors arrive in week 3.

During the second week, the inspectors will invite parents and carers to give their views through an online survey. The survey will be available over five days and will ask for your views on what progress has been made so far in the two areas since the inspection in March 2018, and what difference this has made to you and your family.

The inspectors will arrive on the Monday of week three. On day one of the on-site visit the inspectors will meet with a variety of people. This will include the Parent Carer Forum. On this day the inspectors will also hold an open meeting with parents and carers to discuss what progress has been made in the two areas identified in our Written Statement of Action. Like the survey, this meeting will focus on what changes have been made in these two areas since the previous inspection in 2018, and what difference this has made to you and your family. The inspectors will want to know what is different since the inspection in March 2018, what is better, and how services listen to you and involve you.

On the final day of the re-visit, inspectors will meet with senior leaders of services in Cheshire East and inform them of their findings and whether sufficient progress has been made. At this point the findings cannot be shared as they may still change.

Findings of the re-visit

Following the re-visit, Ofsted and CQC will produce a letter that will inform Cheshire East of their decision as to whether the local area has made sufficient progress against each of the areas in our Written Statement of Action. This letter will be published on the Ofsted website and on the CQC website.

Want to know more?

For more information on the SEND re-visit, please refer to the inspection handbook (part 3).

Further information is also available on the role of the Cheshire East Parent Carer Forum.

For information on how we have been developing our services, please see our newsletter Key Contacts


Update: “Improving Autism Assessment & Integrated Support for Children & Young People in Cheshire East”

The SEND Partnership has sent us the following update on Autism Assessment Pathways to share with parent carers in Cheshire East – you will see that there was a session in Macclesfield on 21 January and there are two lined up in Crewe where parents can meet representatives from this workstream and ask any questions
As always, CEPCF parent reps would also really like to hear your thoughts so that they can ensure they can represent you – please email call 07794431768 or through the Facebook group

Update for Cheshire East Parent Carer Forum: Improving Autism Assessment and Integrated Support for Children and Young People aged 0-25 Across Cheshire East
(Publication of Integrated Autism Pathways)

As many of you will know we have been working hard to reduce the waiting times for autism assessments for children and young people across Cheshire East and to improve the overall pathway and support available.

We want to update you on some of the improvements we have made to waiting times and the extra support that is now available across Cheshire East and to share with you the Integrated Autism Pathways that have been developed as part of this work.

During our joint area inspection by Ofsted and CQC in March 2018, Inspectors found that waiting times for autism assessment and diagnosis were far too long in some parts of Cheshire East and that there were gaps in the service. This meant that children and young people were not always getting timely access to the services they needed.

By listening to parents, carers, children and young people, along with health, social care, education and local charity experts we have made improvements to the existing services and commissioned some additional services. 

We will be holding a Drop-in sessions at Autism Inclusive on Thursday 6th February, 10am – 12noon and Wednesday 4th March, 6pm- 9pm to provide more information about this improvement journey and to answer your questions.

We have already held a drop-in session at Space 4 Autism, which was really helpful to check our updates against your actual experiences. Feedback from this session is being summarised and we are also looking into some specific issues some people have highlighted.

We know that there is still work to do and more improvements need to be made but we feel that together we have made good progress. Some of the actions we have taken include:

  • An All Age Autism Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA) has been written. This helps us to understand the numbers of people affected by autism across Cheshire East and the types of support they may need both now and in the future.  It helps with planning and has informed the new All Age Autism Strategy for Cheshire East, this will be published very soon. 
  • We have invested in our autism assessment services to reduce waiting times in line with the three-month guideline recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). As a result, waiting times for assessment and diagnosis have fallen  despite a large rise in referrals locally.
  • In October 2018 there were 478 children and young people waiting for an autism assessment  in Eastern Cheshire, (where waits were particularly long), with the longest wait being 104 weeks (almost 2 years). By 6th December 2019 there were 29 children and young people waiting longer than 12 weeks and the longest waiting time for assessment was 17 weeks. The longest waiting time from referral to start of a specialist multi-disciplinary autism assessment was 12 weeks by 31st December 2019.  Across the South Cheshire area the average time for an assessment has been between 10-16 weeks.
  • We measure the waiting time for assessment based on the Guidance from the National Institute for Clinical Excellence, which is from referral to the start of the multidisciplinary assessment.  We know that some children and young people have then waited after the assessment to receive the formal diagnosis and we have recently increased the medical time in the services to improve this wait and overall assessment process.  We are aiming for this to be reduced to a maximum of 4-weeks after the assessment has been completed. We are currently looking into all the cases where families have waited longer than this. We are also doing more work to review the overall waiting time from first appointment to the end of autism assessment and receiving the formal diagnosis to ensure that this overall timeframe is reasonable.
  • There has been recruitment for additional clinical staff to support the multi-disciplinary assessment of autism.  Speech and language therapists specialising in autism are now in post. The Clinical Care Coordination function is being reviewed with the aim of bringing greater consistency across the Cheshire East area.
  • A multi-disciplinary team of healthcare and education experts has been commissioned at East Cheshire NHS Trust on a recurring basis to complete autism assessments for pre-school children (age0 to 4 years) in Eastern Cheshire to ensure there is a consistent offer across Cheshire East. We are currently confirming the referral pathway into this service in response to questions from families.
  • We are offering consistent early intervention support as part of both a family-centred and settings approach with specialist support being offered in all children’s centres, including peer-led groups and workshops through our Early Start Team and seconded Health Visitors.
  • We have worked with local charities to commission additional pre and post diagnosis support and training for parents/ carers of children, young people on the pathway or with a confirmed diagnosis of autism. These community-based programmes offer practical help and strategies on issues such as sleep management, sensory advice, anxiety management and positive behavioural support. The programme in Eastern Cheshire has already supported 120 families and 466 training sessions have been delivered between 9th September and 13th January 2020. We have received very good feedback from people who have attended these courses and we are looking to expand them to offer more support for children, young people and adults living with autism. A similar support programme will commence across the rest of Cheshire East and Vale Royal in February (Northwich and Winsford) and March 2020 (Middlewich and Crewe).
  • We have developed an Integrated Autism Service Specification which is supported by a series of integrated pathways, to ensure that children, young people and their families can access appropriate help and support according to their level of need. These have been based on the Mental Health Child and Family Centred ‘Thrive Multi-agency Framework’. The aim is to ensure that services are working together around the needs of children, young people and families.

Click here for the Integrated Autism Pathways, which include:

  • Getting advice – first concerns/early identification (0-4 years & school age)
  • Getting help – local offer/specialist Autism assessment
  • Getting more help – pre and post-diagnostic support
  • Getting risk support – prevention of crisis/specialist risk support

We hope that this helps to provide you with an update on some of the improvements we have made.