What autism / Asperger / ASC awareness training has Essex CC EDucation SEN College Transport received?

P. Smith made this Freedom of Information request to Essex County Council

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was partially successful.

Dear Essex County Council,

Please would you provide information about autism awareness training undertaken by staff in the SEN College Transport Department, for the last ten years.

Who provided this training?

What sort of training was it?

Also, please would you tell us what autism awareness training their decision and policy-making bosses in the council hierarchy receive?

Yours faithfully,

[P. Smith]

Ruth Byford Taxonomy Officer, Essex County Council

3 Attachments

Please find attached an acknowledgement of your Freedom of Information
request.

Ruth Byford
on behalf of ISIS
Internal Audit & Risk Management
Essex County Council | telephone: 01245 435944 | extension: 55944 | email:
[email address]
EssexWorks
For a better quality of life

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Dear Ruth Byford Taxonomy Officer,

Thank you.

Yours sincerely,

[P. Smith]

Your Right To Know, Essex County Council

2 Attachments

Please find attached the response to your Freedom of Information request.
 

Ruth Byford
on behalf of ISIS
Internal Audit & Risk Management
Essex County Council | telephone: 01245 435944 | extension: 55944 | email:
[email address]

EssexWorks
For a better quality of life

 

 

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Dear Your Right To Know,

Re my request: "Please would you provide information about autism awareness training undertaken by staff in the SEN College Transport Department, for the last ten years.
Who provided this training?
What sort of training was it?
Also, please would you tell us what autism awareness training their decision and policy-making bosses in the council hierarchy receive?"

I was not just asking about the training of the escorts who accompany young people in the bus itself - once transport has been agreed for them - although the autism awareness of escorts is also very important.

I am talking about a previous stage in the process -

Your responses misses the point about the eligibility of students for SEN transport, and the barriers of understanding around autism which prevent them from being agreed and getting the transport in the first place by officers in the ECC SEN Student Transport section.

What autism awareness training do the officers get who make decisions regarding the application forms for SEN student transport?

In my experience, and that of others, Aspergers / autism / ASCs and the accompanying hidden but significant complex difficulties that make travelling a nightmare, and act as a barrier to obtaining further education, don't seem to count at all.
However hard parents try to explain the difficulties, the officers concerned either do not "get it", or are using the hidden nature of autistic difficulties to deny the help the students need.
Why this discrimination against those with autism who are nonetheless bright and want to learn?

Yours sincerely,

[P. Smith]

Torgun Bullen left an annotation ()

My son who has autism received Transport Training last year and is now successfully catching the bus home from college. People on the autistic spectrum are different, affected to a different agree when it comes to how much independent travel they are capable of, as well as in other respects.
Some get isolated and virtually housebound, typically only with the computer – and any cyber friends they can find – for company. With a little more effort from society and our various public bodies, this need not be so. With a bit more “willing” by people in decision making positions to “see” the problem, with a little more investment or even more inventive use of the resources already available, we can help to make daily life for these young people more bearable, even interesting and liveable! – Thus preventing maladjustment and problems later on.

P. Smith left an annotation ()

I agree with Torgun. Travel training may be appropriate for some, but not for all. At a time when a young person is leaving mainstream senior school (where they have often had great ongoing stress and traumatic experiences, time out of school, incomplete education, bullying etc etc, and are left with mental health issues (having been referred to CAMHS etc etc)) they are facing the whole new experience of college. Although it may be a more positive one than mainstream school, they nevertheless may be extremely stressed at the prospect. They have many issues to cope with as part of their autism - which Essex SEN Student Transport Department DO NOT not take into consideration - hence my FoI question. Some will be practically agorophobic. I know of girls who have been physically sick at the thought of going out. It is, in some cases, putting too much of a mental and emotional burden on a young person with autism to cope with transition to college - AND travel training at the same time, or having to deal with the stress of going by public transport. Mainstream children do not have this double stress-whammy at this age to contend with, therefore it could be seen as discriminatory. Getting an education, and continuing their education, and fulfilling their goals is so VERY very very hard for those with Aspergers / ASCs / autism. There are too many unnecessary obstacles in their way, many through a lack of autism awareness training.

Darren Sewell Customer Care Officer P&S SCF, Essex County Council

Darren Sewell Customer Care Officer P&S SCF would like to recall the
message, "Your complaint about the Freedom of Information Request to the
Schools, Children and Families Service".

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Darren Sewell Customer Care Officer P&S SCF, Essex County Council

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    Freedom of Information request What autism Asperger ASC awareness training has Essex CC EDucation SEN College Transport rece.txt

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Dear [P. Smith]

 

Thank you for your email dated 27 June 2011, in which you raise concerns
about the information provided to you in respect of your Freedom of
Information Request (copy attached)

 

The Schools, Children and Families Service is committed to providing high
quality services that meet our customers needs.  Therefore, we value your
feedback about these services, so that we can constantly review and
improve them. 

 

I have now had the opportunity to investigate the matters you have raised
and can respond as follows.

 

In addition to the training we provide to our passenger assistants, who
will have daily contact with students with autism, the officers whose
responsibility it is to make decisions around entitlement have also
received training in this area.  Many of them have attended the passenger
assistant course, outlined in our previous correspondence.  Team managers
have also arranged and provided a two hour briefing from our SENCAN
Officers for all members of the assessment team to raise awareness of
autism. 

 

Furthermore, when considering applications for home to school transport
for any student with an additional need, not only those with autism, we
liaise very closely with that students caseworker to ensure all
information about that particular individual is known as often parents do
not provide vital pieces of information within their application.  In
addition all of our officers have visited and maintain close relationships
with schools and colleges around Essex who are dealing with the children
we currently transport on a daily basis.

 

I hope that my response answers your concerns.  However, if you remain
dissatisfied you should contact the Customer Care Manager, Essex County
Council, Schools, Children and Families Service, PO Box 297, County Hall,
Chelmsford CM1 1YS within 28 days of this letter.  You will be asked to
explain your outstanding concerns and will be given advice about any
further steps that can be taken to address your concerns, which in some
circumstances may include a formal investigation under the complaints
procedure.

 

 

Regards

 

Darren Sewell

Customer Care Officer

Customer Care Team

 

Essex County Council 

Telephone: 01245 434172 | Extension: 40172

Email: [1][email address]

 

EssexWorks

For a better quality of life

 

 

show quoted sections

Darren Sewell Customer Care Officer P&S SCF, Essex County Council

Dear [P. Smith]

 

Thank you for your email dated 27 June 2011, in which you raise concerns
about the information provided to you in respect of your Freedom of
Information Request (copy attached)

 

The Schools, Children and Families Service is committed to providing high
quality services that meet our customers needs.  Therefore, we value your
feedback about these services, so that we can constantly review and
improve them. 

 

I have now had the opportunity to investigate the matters you have raised
and can respond as follows.

 

In addition to the training we provide to our passenger assistants, who
will have daily contact with students with autism, the officers whose
responsibility it is to make decisions around entitlement have also
received training in this area.  Many of them have attended the passenger
assistant course, outlined in our previous correspondence.  Team managers
have also arranged and provided a two hour briefing from our SENCAN
Officers for all members of the assessment team to raise awareness of
autism. 

 

Furthermore, when considering applications for home to school transport
for any student with an additional need, not only those with autism, we
liaise very closely with that students caseworker to ensure all
information about that particular individual is known as often parents do
not provide vital pieces of information within their application.  In
addition all of our officers have visited and maintain close relationships
with schools and colleges around Essex who are dealing with the children
we currently transport on a daily basis.

 

I hope that my response answers your concerns.  However, if you remain
dissatisfied you should contact the Customer Care Manager, Essex County
Council, Schools, Children and Families Service, PO Box 297, County Hall,
Chelmsford CM1 1YS within 28 days of this letter.  You will be asked to
explain your outstanding concerns and will be given advice about any
further steps that can be taken to address your concerns, which in some
circumstances may include a formal investigation under the complaints
procedure.

 

 

Regards

 

Darren Sewell

Customer Care Officer

Customer Care Team

 

Essex County Council 

Telephone: 01245 434172 | Extension: 40172

Email: [1][email address]

 

EssexWorks

For a better quality of life

 

 

show quoted sections

Dear Darren Sewell Customer Care Officer P&S SCF,

"In addition to the training we provide to our passenger assistants, who will have daily contact with students with autism, the officers whose
responsibility it is to make decisions around entitlement have also received training in this area."

Please be specific.

"Many of them have attended the passenger assistant course, outlined in our previous correspondence. Team managers have also arranged and provided a two hour briefing..." TWO HOURS??????? "...from our SENCAN Officers for all members of the assessment team to raise awareness of autism.

Furthermore, when considering applications for home to school transport for any student with an additional need, not only those with autism, we liaise very closely with that students caseworker to ensure all
information about that particular individual is known as often parents do not provide vital pieces of information within their application..." (How patronising is this????? In my experience you can provide reams of evidence which is totally ignored.)
"In addition all of our officers have visited and maintain close relationships with schools and colleges around Essex who are dealing with the children we currently transport on a daily basis."

Two hours? what type of training? I'm sorry but that is not nearly enough training in autism to know all of the difficulties. In fact it's scandalous.

We are dealing with disadvantaged vulnerable very particular children here.

I have never heard of a transport decision-maker going into schools. Please provide evidence of this.

What caseworker? (We never had one.)

Yours sincerely,

[P. Smith]

Darren Sewell Customer Care Officer P&S SCF, Essex County Council

Dear Ms Smith

To confirm receipt of your email.

To make you aware I have shared your email with the Information
Governance team for their information and action as necessary.

Kind Regards

Darren Sewell
Customer Care Officer
Customer Care Team

Essex County Council
Telephone: 01245 434172 | Extension: 40172
Email: [email address]

EssexWorks
For a better quality of life

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Ruth Byford Research & Analysis Officer, Essex County Council

3 Attachments

Please find attached an acknowledgement of your Freedom of Information
request.

Ruth Byford
on behalf of ISIS
Internal Audit & Risk Management
Essex County Council | telephone: 01245 435944 | extension: 55944 | email:
[email address]
EssexWorks
For a better quality of life

show quoted sections

Dear Darren Sewell Customer Care Officer P&S SCF,

[Message alerting the council to the email mistakenly sent to this request]

Yours sincerely,

[P. Smith]

Darren Sewell Customer Care Officer P&S SCF, Essex County Council

I am currently out of the office.  In my absence this mailbox may not be
monitored.  If you need urgent assistance please contact the Customer Care
Team using the teams mailbox at [email address]. 

I will endeavour to deal with your email shortly after my return.

Regards

Darren Sewell

Customer Care Officer

show quoted sections

Your Right To Know, Essex County Council

Please find attached the response to your Freedom of Information request.
 

Ruth Byford
on behalf of ISIS
Internal Audit & Risk Management
Essex County Council | telephone: 01245 435944 | extension: 55944 | email:
[email address]

EssexWorks
For a better quality of life

 

 

show quoted sections

Alex Skene left an annotation ()

A response containing an attachment was sent accidentally to this thread - it has been removed in line with our takedown policy.

Regards
Alex - WhatDoTheyKnow volunteer

Dear Your Right To Know,

? Sorry, what attachment?

Thanks.

Yours sincerely,

[P. Smith]

Ruth Byford Research & Analysis Officer, Essex County Council

1 Attachment

Please find attached the response to your Freedom of Information request,
with our apologies for omitting the attachment in our previous email.
 

Ruth Byford
on behalf of ISIS
Internal Audit & Risk Management
Essex County Council | telephone: 01245 435944 | extension: 55944 | email:
[email address]

EssexWorks
For a better quality of life

 

show quoted sections

Dear Ruth Byford Research & Analysis Officer,

1. Re: "We can however provide
further context to this area as we have calculated that as a percentage of Post 16
students that we have travelling, those with ASD account for 2 % of the students
travelling."

Thank you, could you please clarify what this means?
Does this reflect the occurrance of autism in the population compared to that of other disabilities?
Does this mean that the percentage of students with ASCs who have been provided with help from your department is only 2%? That sounds very low. Worryingly low, but not surprising. Is it because your department has a policy of not helping those with ASCs? If so why?

Or is it because there is a lack of training in your department so that Essex SEN College Transport department doesn't recognise what the needs of those with autism (hidden disability) are re travel? (Yet I know from experience that when a parent applies for help for their Asperger child, and explains all the problems carefully, Essex SEN Transport Dept will ignore anything they say, and not address the list of issues, but respond with a blank "no", with no proper reasons.)
What other factor could explain why those with autism can rarely access ECC SEN College Transport?
This means that many with Aspergers for example, experience a patchy, incomplete traumatic education with scant support or understanding in mainstream school, only to be followed by a struggle to access college.

How many applications from parents of children with ASCs / Aspergers / HF autism were received in the last 5 years and how many had their applications turned down? & Compared to other disabilities?

2. Re: "I have never heard of a transport decision-maker going into schools.
Please provide evidence of this.
Decision-makers maintain contact with schools via telephone calls, and where
necessary a personal visit on an ad hoc basis. We do not record when these
visits take place in an accessible format and are therefore unable to provide this
to you."

Is Essex CC SEN College Transport going to start to keep more thorough records to ensure better internal monitoring and checks, plus better accountability and transparency to parents?

Why are those children & young people with autism, particularly HF autism and Aspergers, the "Cinderellas" when it comes to support in Essex?

Many thanks,

Yours sincerely,

[P. Smith].

Ruth Byford Research & Analysis Officer, Essex County Council

3 Attachments

Please find attached an acknowledgement of your Freedom of Information
request.

Ruth Byford
on behalf of ISIS
Internal Audit & Risk Management
Essex County Council | telephone: 01245 435944 | extension: 55944 | email:
[email address]
EssexWorks
For a better quality of life

show quoted sections

Your Right To Know, Essex County Council

1 Attachment

Please find attached the response to your Freedom of Information request.
 

Ruth Byford
on behalf of ISIS
Internal Audit & Risk Management
Essex County Council | telephone: 01245 435944 | extension: 55944 | email:
[email address]

EssexWorks 
 

show quoted sections