Partnerships for Inclusion of Neurodiversity in Schools (PINS)

PINS is a new acronym which has been popping up in our news and social media updates – you might have seen it mentioned in our recent job advert for an engagement worker. PINS is one of the projects that this role covers, and it dovetails with Autism in Schools by building on the idea of a community approach to improving experiences in school for neurodivergent children and young people.
But what does it involve?

PINS stands for Partnerships for Inclusion of Neurodiversity in Schools. It is a national project, funded by NHS England. The partnerships bit refers to bringing together the Integrated Care Board (the NHS and partner organisations), the local authority, the local parent carer forum (that’s us!) and, crucially, the school community – children and young people, their families, and school staff – to work together to understand and improve support for neurodivergent children.

Parent carer groups will be created in the participating schools and surveys sent out to all parents and carers (not just of children with SEND – special educational needs and/or disabilities) which will help to identify what is currently working or not working. Training will be provided for all the schools involved, and there will also be a focus on understanding children’s experiences in school to help improve the classroom environment – something that hopefully will be beneficial to all children.

The project is funded by NHS England, in partnership with the Department for Education, Department of Health and Social Care, and the National Network of Parent Carer Forums.

National funding is provided for 40 schools in each Integrated Care Board area. Our ICB is NHS Sussex, which covers Brighton & Hove, East Sussex, and West Sussex, so the pot is spread across the three different local authority areas. Allocating the number of schools per area was done according to pupil population numbers, and this means for East Sussex we will be working with 16 primary schools. Schools were asked to put themselves forwards to be involved. From these expressions of interest, 16 were selected, considering data around exclusions attendance and outcomes for children on their SEND registers. See further down for a list of all the schools involved.

This project currently only includes primary schools – a decision made nationally and unfortunately not something that ESPCF could influence. We’re hoping that if the project continues then it will be extended to include secondary schools.

What all this means in practice is that:

ESPCF has already been in touch with all the schools signed up to the project to share a survey for parents and carers of children at the participating schools. This is to understand the strengths and weaknesses in terms of support, communication, being included, and being heard and valued. Similarly to the Autism in Schools project, the information gathered will be used to help shape and tailor the support given to schools.

We are about to start arranging parent carer groups in schools, hopefully one every half term between September 2024 and March/April 2025.

Schools will be completing self-assessment forms, and will also receive five days of specialist training.

A tailored support ‘menu’ will be developed for each school.

We’re really looking forward to going out into schools in East Sussex and hearing from families about their experiences and ideas, and we’ll share progress of the project with parent carers in our regular news emails.

List of schools participating in PINS project

Ashdown Primary School
Bodiam CE Primary Schools
Brede Primary
Buxted CE Primary
Dallington CE Primary
Guestling-Bradshaw School
Newick Church of England Primary
Pevensey and Westham
Polegate Primary School
Ringmer Primary and Nursery School
Rotherfield Primary
St Mary the Virgin Church of England Primary School
St Thomas a Becket Catholic Primary School
The Baird Primary Academy
Willingdon Primary School