Wolverhampton is underlining its commitment to children and young people with disabilities through the launch of a new strategy to ensure they have the best possible chance in life.
The Joint Special Education Needs and Disabilities Strategy outlines the way that the City of Wolverhampton Council, Wolverhampton Clinical Commissioning Group and their partners will work together to give disabled children and young people the same opportunities as children who do not have a disability.
And it includes 16 key aims for the years ahead, from helping more disabled young people into work to improving Early Years services for children with disabilities and ensuring that the city's special schools fully meet the complex needs of their pupils.
Latest figures suggest around 3,000 children and young people in Wolverhampton have some form of disability, and this is set to increase by around 50 over the next decade.
Councillor Val Gibson, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: "This strategy highlights the good work already taking place in Wolverhampton, but also outlines areas for further development.
"There is much to celebrate but we know that there are also many challenges, in particular the increasing number of children and young people with profound and multiple learning disabilities, physical disabilities, autistic spectrum disorder and language and communication difficulties.
"Listening to children, families and carers is an integral part of the work we do. They tell us we should be striving for well-planned support for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities from birth to the age of 25. This means providing integrated services across education, health and social care which work closely with families and carers and meet their needs without unnecessary delay.
"We believe that every child and young person with special educational needs and disabilities from Wolverhampton should, where ever possible, have their needs met locally. We also believe they should be recognised as full citizens with the ability to contribute to their local community, and that when they need support to do this that the right support is available.
"This strategy highlights our priorities over the coming years, which I am confident will improve still further the excellent help and support agencies provide to children with disabilities and their families."
The strategy was approved by the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet yesterday (Wednesday 24 February, 2016), and can be seen here: http://bit.ly/21tj6NC.