Parent/Carers & Families is a collaborative partnership between all of the special schools and specialist provision within Somerset. stands for Special Educational Needs Somerset Expertise. We have a wealth of experience within our schools and many outstanding practitioners support us in our work to make a difference to the lives of children and young people who need more than what is offered in mainstream education.

There are ten schools, a specialist provision within a primary school and a number of supportive providers making up the membership of We recognise that working together, we are stronger. Our collective expertise is vital to meet the unique needs of each child and young person we work with.

We are committed to making a difference and enriching the lives of our students and their families. All children are our children and because of this we will help you with advice and support until you have the right provision for your child/young person.

Celebrations is where we share with you some projects and successes that we are especially proud of, it also details when we have featured in local and national news.

News enables you to keep abreast of the most recent changes and amendments to national and local SEN policy and new government initiatives as well as detailing new thinking from the key players within our area of expertise.

Outreach will give you more detail of the services, advice, guidance and support available from each school to support

Choices for Life Events - 2017

We would like to invite you to our Choices for Life events for 2017.

They will take place  at Junction 24 in North Petherton on 11th October and  Yeovilton Fleet Air  Arm Museum on the 14th November- posters attached.

This is  following our very successful event in March where young people and their families were able to access the support required to make the best choices in their education and future careers. We are thrilled to be able to host a separate Choices for Life area as part of the major cross county careers events meaning that our young people and families will have opportunities to meet future employers as well as discuss the support they might need to achieve their goals.

In addition to the employer stands, young people have told us that they wanted an event that focused on raising aspirations for being independent, making their own choices in life about what they want to do in the future they called these the Five How’s.

•             How can I live more independently?

•             How can I choose my next school or college?

•             How can I find things to do in my spare time?

•             How can I find a job and keep a job?

•             How can I stay safe and healthy?

We would invite you to attend and use the opportunity to ask questions and begin to plan for the future.

If you have any questions about this please contact Claire Merchant-Jones on

For more info follow links:

Career Fair poster (careers-fair-poster-2017-2.docx)

Choices for life 2017 (a5-posterchoicesforlife2017.pdf)

South West SEND Technology Exhibition

Using Technology to make a Difference

7th November 2017, 9:30am - 5pm

Haynes International Motor Museum, Sparkford, Somerset

  • An Exhibition including award winning & innovative providers
  • Hands on opportunities to learn about technology designed to enhance learning and independence in education and at home
  • A programme of seminars throughout the day; sign up on the day (see link below for details)

For more information, contact: 01935 411384

SEND Exhibition 2017 (send-technolgy-exhibition-nov-2017.pdf)

Seminar details: SEND seminars 2017 (send-tech-exhibition-seminar-list.pdf)

Launch of new Threshold Guidance aims to embed Early Help

The Somerset Safeguarding Children Board (SSCB) has launched new guidance for professionals and managers to make sure help is available for children, young people and families as soon as it is needed. The guidance aims to further establish the principles of Early Help for all those who support children, young people and their families in the County.

The guidance aims to make existing thresholds of need clearer for professionals so they can identify if a child or family might need some help and support. Understanding when children and families might need support can ensure they are given the right service, in the right place, at the right time.

The new guidance can be found by visiting:

First of its kind - Private Counselling service for people with  Learning Difficulties to be launched in Taunton

According to the ‘Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities’, between 25-40% of people with LD also suffer from mental health problems. With this in mind local Community Interest Company,  Community Life Design CIC have launched a counselling service specifically for people with learning disabilities in Somerset for over 18s. Becky Wright, Service Manager said, “ Someone who has learning disabilities or learning difficulties (LD) may find it hard to learn things in a straight forwards way as the brain is not able to receive and process information in the same way as others.  In Somerset the current provision for specialist counselling support is patchy at best and we wanted to offer a private alternative to the existing NHS offering.'

LD Clients in Somerset currently have two options for counselling in Somerset:

    •       NHS counselling (specific services for those with LD, follows a referral & waiting list)

    •       Other support services which provide a range of support, for example social skills, but not specific counselling.

First for Somerset -
This is the first private counselling service delivered by a community interest company specific to this client groups needs. The service will initially be delivered at The Conquest Centre at Norton Fitzwarren, which offers both indoors and outdoors as an eco-therapy mode.  Session times will be around an hour costing £45.  Personal budget money could be used only be used for therapy if a need for therapy has been identified in the clients plan. It would need to be clear whether this was a social care need (paid for out of Personal Budget) or a healthcare need (paid for out of Personal Health Budget).   

Counselling can help deal with issues such as Abuse, Anger, Anxiety, Bereavement, Bullying, Depression, Fear, Family issues, Low self-confidence,  Low self-esteem,  Relationship issues, Self harm and Stress. 

Resources available for parents/carers and families

Within our 5 Learning Support Centres there are a range of resources available to borrow - these include:

  • Puppets
  • Puzzles
  • RE Boxes
  • Artefacts
  • Games
  • Story Boxes
  • Topic Boxes
  • Big books
  • Sensory Activities
  • Support and Advice

For more information, please see the Learning Support Centre Page.

Resources available to the community

Fiveways School

Fiveways School, Yeovil

Contact: T: 01935 476227

  • Multisensory Hydrotherapy Pool
  • Training Centre
Selworthy School

Selworthy School, Taunton:

Contact: T: 01823 335935

  • Selworthy Learning Support Centre is open to all parents (both Selworthy and non-Selworthy) and professionals and offers specialist support and advice, create bespoke resources as well as the opportunity to loan various pieces of equipment.
  • Sensory Hydrotherapy Pool is available to hire
  • The school hall is available to hire
  • Skills list to support P Level assessment
Fairmead School

SEN professionals working with the community

Fairmead School, Yeovil

Contact: T: 01935 421295

  • Play/Social Interaction Therapy
  • SALT
  • Drama Therapy
  • Music Therapy
  • Educational Psychologists
Fiveways School

SEN professionals working with the community

Fiveways School, Yeovil

Contact: T: 01935 476227

  • Somerset Partnership Teaching School
  • ITT - Inclusion Support
  • Community Inclusion Support
Selworthy School

SEN professionals working with the community

Selworthy School, Taunton:

Contact: T: 01823 335935

  • FAST team (Families and School Together) are Selworthy parents employed by the school to support parents
  • Selworthy Learning Support Centre staff are available to support and advise parents (both Selworthy and non-Selworthy) and professionals
  • Our Educational Psychologist works with Selworthy parents, Selworthy staff, partner schools (both specialist and mainstream), social care settings and local businesses
  • Our Communication Specialist work with Selworthy parents, Selworthy staff, partner schools (both specialist and mainstream), social care settings and local businesses
  • Our Outreach leader can signpost parents and partner schools (both specialist and mainstream) to various teachers who can offer bespoke support and advice
  • Our Music Therapist (National SEN Teacher of the year 2011) offers music therapy to sessions commissioned by schools or directly by parents

Online Safety

  • Online safety concerns safeguarding children and young people in the digital world.
  • It emphasises learning to understand and use new technologies in a positive way.
  • It is less about restriction and more about education about the risks as well as the benefits.

The following is a supportive guide for parents, carers and young people and looks at four popular online social media forums and how to use them as well as protecting your information and managing who can access it.


What is Facebook?

Facebook is a popular free social networking website that allows registered users to create profiles, upload photos and video, send messages and keep in touch with friends, family and colleagues.

The following information will help you to ensure you are in control of your Facebook account, or can enable you to help your child manage their account safely.

You're in charge!

Be in control:

Use the Privacy Checkup Dinosaur

Click on the padlock and the dinosaur will be there to help you with your privacy settings.

Here you will see:

  • Who can see my stuff?
  • Who can contact me?
  • How do I stop someone bothering me?

Facebook's privacy settings help you control who can see your stuff on Facebook and how you connect with other people.

Consider the amount of information you want to share with different people. Do you want to share the same things with your work colleagues as your friends?

Who can see my stuff?

Consider only letting your "Friends" see everything. Remember though when tagging is involved, you need to be mindful that often 'friends of friends' can also see who and what you tag. For up-to-date tagging info, visit:

  1. Click the Privacy shortcut (top right)
  2. Click who can see my stuff
  3. Under Who can see my future posts, select Friends from the drop down list.

Note: Check out what your timeline looks like to the public by using the View As...tool in your privacy shortcuts

Keep an eye on your timeline

  1. Click the Privacy shortcut (top right)
  2. Click on See More Settings then Timeline and Tagging
  3. Turn on Review posts friends tag you in so you can choose what's visible on your timeline

Ensure you can't be found in a public web search

  1. Click the Drop Down (top right)
  2. Settings, then Privacy Settings
  3. Who can look me up?
  4. Do you want other search engines to link to your timeline?
  5. Click edit and remove tick from the box.

Who can see your posts?

Facebook has in-line privacy controls so you can set your audience to: Private, Friends, Friends of Friends, Public, before you post an update.

Note: The Activity Log is only visible to you. This tool makes it easier for you to review your posts and make changes to the audience of past content

Facebook's Reporting Tools

Report abuse to Facebook

If you feel you are being bullied on Facebook, you can report it on the site using the Drop Down in the corner of any post. Use the Social Reporting feature to get help from a parent, teacher or trusted friend without reporting the perpetrator directly.

Teenage user updates

It is important that teenagers using Facebook use their real date of birth

  • New users aged 13-18 will have a default privacy setting for sharing content with 'friends' only.
  • You can choose to make your posts Public but this will mean that anyone, including people you know, will be able to see them. As such, think carefully before you post anything publically.

You can review who you are sharing content with after posting but remember, if your post was public, someone else may already have shared it.



What is Snapchat?

Snapchat is a photo messaging app with a twist. Users can take photos, record videos, add text and drawings and send them to people. These 'Snaps' aren't saved by default so it feels like socialising without leaving a trail behind you. Once everyone has viewed a Snap, Snapchat's system is designed to automatically delete it from their servers. Opened Snaps typically cannot be retrieved from Snapchat's servers by anyone, for any reason.

Age restrictions

Snapchat is for people over the age of 13. It is not intended for children under the age of 13. Teens aged 13-17 should have permission from a parent or legal guardian to use the app. If a child is under the age of 13 and had created a Snapchat account the account can be deleted by entering the child's username and password. If Snapchat obtains knowledge that a user is under 13 years of age they will terminate the account.

What else can I do on Snapchat?

Geofilters: This is a fun way to share where you are through filter overlays. They are specific to neighbourhoods' and their unique designs will change from place to place, so require your devices location settings to be enabled. Remember, if you add a Geofilter to your Snap or Story, you're publicising your whereabouts to anyone you share it with.

Video Chat: When you and a friend are both present in Chat, the yellow icon will turn blue. Press and hold the blue 'Here' icon to immediately start video chatting. When your friend presses and holds the blue 'Here' icon on their screen at the same time you do, you'll immediately be in a two-way video chat.

Stories: 'My Stories' string Snaps together to create a narrative that lasts for 24 hours. Depending on their privacy settings, the photos and videos added to a Story can be viewed by either all Snapchatters, just the user's friends, or a customomised group.

Our Stories: 'Our Stories' are a stream of user submitted Snaps from various locations and events. Users who have their location services on at the same event location will be given the option to contribute Snaps to the Our Story. The end result is a Story told from a community perspective with lots of different points of view.

How can I stay in control?

Changing Your Privacy Settings

By default, only users you add to your friends list can send you Snaps. If someone who isn't your friend tried to send you a Snap, you'll receive notification that they added you, but will only receive the Snap when you add them to your friend's list.

To change who can send you Snaps:

  • Tap ghost on the camera screen to access your profile, then tap the gear icon on the upper-right corner of the screen
  • Tap the 'Send me Snaps...' option and choose either:

- 'Everyone' - This allows anyone to send you Snaps (even strangers)

- 'My Friends' - Only your friends are able to send you Snaps

To change who can send you Stories

  • Swipe right on the camera screen to access your profile, then tap the gear icon on the upper-right corner of the screen
  • Tap the 'View my Stories....' option and choose either:

- 'Everyone' - This allows anyone to see your Stories (even strangers)

- 'My Friends' - Only your friends are able to send you Snaps

- 'Custom' - This allows you to choose which friends can see your stories

Note: To clear a conversation, tap ghost, then tap the gear icon in the top right hand corner and scroll down to find 'clear conversations'.


What is Twitter?

Twitter is a social networking site with over 288 million users!

The big appeal with Twitter is how rapid and quick the Tweets come in, meaning there is nearly always something new to read: you can track hundreds of interesting tweeters, and read their content with a glance, even celebrities and public figures.

Who Can Follow Me?

My Followers

If you have chosen to 'Protect your tweets' you will receive a notification when someone has requested to follow you. This allows you to choose whether to 'accept' or 'decline' their follow.

If you have chosen not to protect your tweets, anyone can follow you (unless you have previously blocked them) and you will receive notification informing that they have started following you.

Who am I Following?

If you are looking to follow a celebrity you like, Twitter has made it easy for you. Twitter verifies celebrities, famous people and public figures. This is displayed with a tick next to their Twitter handle. Twitter allows parody and fan accounts so this helps you identify the real deal quickly and easily.

Unfollow or Delete Content?


If you no longer with to follow someone you can unfollow them by going to their Twitter profile, click the 'following' button and you will automatically 'unfollow'. If you still want to follow someone but don't want to see their tweets; click the gear icon on their profile and select 'Mute', you can 'un-mute' at any time.

Deleting Content

If you would like to delete a post you created, all you need to do is click on the triple dot icon next to the favourite star icon on the post and click delete. This works for any tweet or re-tweet. If you have 'Favourited' something but didn't want to, you just have to click on the star icon again.

Protect my Privacy?


When you set up a Twitter account it is automatically set to 'Public', this means that anyone can see your Tweets, even if they don't follow you; even if they don't have a Twitter account. You can 'Protect' your tweets, which means anyone who doesn't follow you would need to, in order to see your tweets.

To check if your account is public or private take these steps:

  • Login to Twitter
  • Click on your small profile pic next to the search bar
  • Click on 'settings' and choose 'Security and Privacy' in the left menu
  • Scroll down to the 'Privacy' section. If you want to be private, tick 'protect my tweets', if you want your account to be public, make sure it is unticked.
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