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Heroes of 2021: Jenny Taylor & Laura Hardcastle, Kirklees

Sandra Ositelu

‘Heroes of 2021’ is IMPOWER’s annual end of year celebration, acknowledging the fantastic individuals and teams we have worked with this year. We are inspired by the passion and commitment of all our partners to deliver better outcomes for their citizens, but IMPOWER colleagues have nominated clients who have particularly stood out to them this year. 

Nominated by: Sandra Ositelu, Manager

I would like to nominate the Local Offer and Inclusion Support Offer (ISO) team at Kirklees Council: Jenny Taylor, Laura Hardcastle, Ali O’Neill and Richard Dresser.

The Inclusion Support Offer is a special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) advice line we set up with Kirklees Council to support early intervention within SEND. The Local Offer leads, Richard and Ali, have been involved in design workshops, recruitment and training and now manage the ISO duo, Jenny and Laura. They are great at communicating the vision of the offer and empowering them to develop. Co-production is fully embedded in their ways of workings, always finding creative ways to engage with parents, carers, children and young people. They have supported the ISO to work in this way as well with setting up ongoing SEN Coordinator (SENCO) engagement groups.

Jenny and Laura both jumped in feet first, going away from each huddle adapting and developing prompts, tools and resources to support them in their role. Launched in April, the service has already achieved impact and Jenny and Laura also provided insights into the SEND system, bringing with them their past experience as practitioners in Early Help, Early Years and schools, their networks, and their ability to build trusting relationships quickly. They are committed to providing information, advice and support that makes a difference, and have recently taken up opportunities to spend a day with a couple of SENCOs to better understand challenges within schools, and are using this to shape their role further.

This is a team that adapts and pivots to the needs they see in the education community. They are keen to build resilience in the community and as a result, the ISO receives overwhelmingly positive feedback from settings, who share with us how it impacts on children, young people and their parents and carers. Through their work, they are having an influence on the way settings plan for transitions and complete My Support Plans and Annual Reviews. They ensure settings really understand need and the child as a whole, to create better plans and deliver the best outcomes for children and young people in settings. And they are always identifying new areas they can support!

Written by

Sandra Ositelu

Senior Manager, IMPOWER



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