Colchester's Multi Schools Council wins top NHS award for special educational needs

Success - The Multi School Council, including Kierran Pierce, won best 'Co-production' at the NHS SEND Awards <i>(Image: Submitted)</i>
Success - The Multi School Council, including Kierran Pierce, won best 'Co-production' at the NHS SEND Awards (Image: Submitted)

A SPECIAL council focused on helping SEND children with their input has won an award in the first ever NHS SEND Awards.

Multi Schools Council director Kierran Pearce started the Multi School council in 2012 to help break down perceptions for children special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

The council means children from mainstream and special secondary and primary schools can create plans to make a difference to their own education – further improving their social skills and confidence.

The council which now works with 385 schools across Essex, excluding out-of-county schools, last month won one of the inaugural NHS SEND awards in the ‘co-production category’.

Gazette: Voice - One girl from the Multi School Council speaking at the awards
Gazette: Voice - One girl from the Multi School Council speaking at the awards

Voice - One girl from the Multi School Council speaking at the awards (Image: Submitted)

Kierran said co-production can be defined as making sure “young people are involved from start middle and end in relation to services that matter to them”.

Kieran also thanked his colleagues and team leaders Amy Gair and Kayleigh Osben for joining him two years which had made a “massive difference” to the organisation.

Gazette: Vital - Team leaders Amy Gair and Kayleigh Osben with the award
Gazette: Vital - Team leaders Amy Gair and Kayleigh Osben with the award

Vital - Team leaders Amy Gair and Kayleigh Osben with the award (Image: Submitted)

Kierran added that all young people can be very valuable to learn from and said: “We see working with young people that they don’t have the pre-set barriers adults sometimes can.

“For example, in group meetings sometimes us adults can worry about saying the wrong thing, but instead they are more organic - they do think differently.”

When asked about the news that Essex is currently the worst county in the country for SEND assessment waiting times for schools, Kierran said: “My point would be the only way we are going to address those challenges is working together.

“There is a lot of frustration with the system at the moment but know more than ever, we cannot lose sight of what young people are saying. Not just adults talking amongst themselves but young people saying what works for me.

“Young people need to be at the centre of this. It’s how we can learn from young people, working with schools all over the country.”