Views are being sought on a specialist support service for children with severe learning needs in Gwent as part of an independent review.
Parents are being asked for their views on the SenCom service, which is currently delivered regionally across Caerphilly County Borough, as well as Newport, Blaenau Gwent, Monmouthshire and Torfaen.
The leaders of all five Gwent councils have said they are committed to SenCom until the end of their administrations, after Newport had previously threatened to leave.
An independent review is now being carried out to provide clarity on the ‘range, volume and impact’ of service provision in each local authority.
A series of consultation meetings across Gwent are taking place from this week.
Mark Geraghty, an independent consultant, said: “An important part of the evidence gathering process is listening to the views of children, young people and the families who receive a service from one or more of the SenCom’s teams.
“In all the meetings I’ve attended so far across all levels, the passion and desire to ensure children and young people with a speech, language and communication, hearing and visual impairments receive high quality support and appropriate resources, has been manifestly apparent.
“As such, I look forward to welcome parents to any of the meetings arranged to discuss with us their experiences of SenCom.
“These views will be vital to the review in order to ensure evidence-based decision making.”
The service supports additional learning needs in specialised areas including speech, language and communication, and visual, hearing and multi-sensory impairments.
About 1,500 children and young people currently receive support from SenCom, across the five authorities.
In May, the partner local authorities involved in SenCom requested the Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA) to commission an independent expert to review and report on the service to explore a “more sustainable way to deliver the regional model.”
The independent consultant, Mr Geraghty, has since arranged a number of meetings to consult with parents and stakeholders as part of the review.
Meetings will be held at the council offices in Tredomen at 6pm on Friday, November 15 and at 9am on Tuesday, November 19.
Parents and stakeholders can also provide their feedback via a questionnaire, which can be found at smartsurvey.co.uk/s/SenCom.