Improving Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) services

Surrey County Council is planning to improve SEND services in Surrey in what they are calling the SEND 2020 programme. If you are involved with SEND services, then read the letter below from Liz Mills, SEND 2020 Programme Manager to find out more about the programme and what you can expect to change over the coming months.

Dear parents and carers,

To those parents and carers who have experienced difficulties and frustrations with SEND services, then please let me begin with an apology. We are committed to putting things right, but will only be able to achieve that by working with you and our partners.

Our starting point is what families have told us about SEND services in Surrey through different surveys and channels. We are working closely with the local parent and carer forum, Family Voice Surrey, and other groups to ensure we understand families’ needs and can involve them in planning new and better services.

What have you told us?

We are using your feedback to help guide the SEND 2020 improvement programme.  Some of the messages we have heard from you are:

  • you are the experts on your children. We need to listen to your advice and insights into your child or young person, and work with you to arrive at the right solutions;
  • for many parents, SEND has involved a ‘battle’. We want to make it simpler, more transparent, and remove bureaucracy as much as possible;
  • you want to tell your story once, and only once;
  • you need the right support at the right time - delays mean that problems get progressively worse;
  • early intervention is key, and prevents much bigger problems and greater stress later on;
  • SEND affects the whole family. We need to always remember this, and treat you with respectand compassion;
  • our services across education, health and social care need to be as seamless as possible. Where appropriate, we need to find better ways to integrate our internal processes, pool funding and share information - these are not your problems, they are ours.

Although SEND 2020 is a five-year programme, we plan to make improvements as soon as we can agree and design new services and ways of working with parents, carers and partners. We do recognize, however, that some things take longer to achieve than others and we will not be able to improve the system overnight.

We will only succeed with your help and the involvement of all the partners across education, health services and social care. That is the only way we will get it right.

As part of this, we have produced a one-page summary of our improvement strategy, vision and the areas of work that we will concentrate on over the next few months. In addition, we will produce regular updates of our progress, key improvements and timescales for your information over the coming months.  You can also follow SEND 2020 on Linked In for all the latest news and updates.  

Please do contact me on if you have any queries about the improvement programme or want to give your views on any SEND issues in Surrey. Family Voice Surrey has a lot of experience of working with families with children or young people who have special educational needs and disabilities. They are completely independent of Surrey County Council. If you wish to contact Family Voice Surrey, you can do so through their website:

We know we have a lot of work to do, but together I am confident we can ensure all our children can reach their potential, and be happy, healthy, safe and confident in their future.

Kind regards

Liz Mills

SEND 2020 Programme Manager

Surrey County Council  

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