A version of this Strategy is also available to download as a PDF.


Welcome to the 2023 to 2026 Southend Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) Area Partnership Strategy for children and young people aged 0 to 25.

This SEND partnership strategy outlines our five key priorities and our aims and ambitions, all of which focus on improving the lived experiences of children and young people with SEND and their families.

Much has been done to improve services for children and young people with SEND since October 2018, when the Care and Quality Commission (CQC) and Ofsted carried out a Local Area joint inspection of the SEND offer in Southend. Four areas of weakness were identified, and the Southend SEND Partnership was formed to oversee the journey of improvement, so that children and young people with SEND in Southend and their families have better experiences.

The Area SEND revisit in May 2021 and the Area SEND Inspection in March 2023 confirmed the progress made and the difference was recognised, but the need to keep improving remains.

This strategy has been informed through public engagement, consultation and some co-production by the SEND Strategic Partnership. Details of which can be found on Your Say Southend website ( The strategy builds on existing work and shows what will be done to ensure the SEND offer continues to improve. There is a commitment to increase co-production over the lifetime of this strategy and beyond.

Feedback from families tell us that the priorities set out here are important to them. We expect that children and young people with SEND and their families will feel the impact of the work of the Southend SEND Partnership.

The Southend SEND Partnership works together to drive high standards and continuous improvement and is committed to improving the experience of our children and young people with SEND aged from 0 to 25 by providing the right help and support at the right time.

What are special educational needs and disabilities?

'A child or young person has SEND if they have a learning difficulty or a physical or mental impairment which has a long-term and substantial adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities, which calls for special educational provision to be made for them.'

This is a combined definition from the Children and Families Act 2014 and the Equality Act 2010. These Acts guide the responsibilities and statutory duties of the Southend SEND Partnership to ensure that children and young people have the support they need.

We asked some local children and young people "what does having SEND actually mean for you?". They told us:

  • "I am comfortable and happy at home or at school, but outside in the community it is more difficult"
  • "Having special needs affects your confidence quite a lot"
  • "You feel the need to prove yourself"
  • "People judge before getting to know you"
  • "Having SEND is helpful in school as people understand and I have support to get involved"

They told us they want:

  • "To be in control and choose what I want to do, feeling welcome."
  • "Look forward to each day as it comes!"
  • "A feeling of belonging and inclusion in the school and local community"

The Southend SEND Partnership is committed to working together to make things better for children and young people with SEND.