SEND Short Breaks

Reading SEND Local Offer

Short Breaks (all ability activities & overnight breaks)

The Breaks for Carers of Disabled Children Regulations 2011, requires Local Authorities to provide a range of short breaks for families with disabled children (age 0-19yrs). In Reading this is delivered through Brighter Futures for Children (BFfC).

Short breaks provide opportunities for disabled children and young people to spend time away from their families and have fun; they also provide families with a break from their caring responsibilities.

Updated October 2023

What is a Short Break?

Short breaks provide opportunities for children and young people with disabilities to access mainstream and specialist activities such as after school clubs, a few hours at a leisure or sports activity group, holiday groups or an overnight stay. A Short Break can take place in a parent or carers home, the home of an approved carer, or a residential or community setting.

Short breaks may also include specialist sessions for children and young people with more complex needs and can include both day and overnight provision.

Short breaks give children and young people the chance to develop new friendships, take part in new experiences, learn new skills and have fun whilst achieving positive outcomes. The purpose of shorts breaks is to give children and young people with disabilities the same opportunity as others to take part in various activities. Also for parents and carers to have a short break from caring.

Statutory Guidance – Short Breaks for Disabled Children

Short Breaks Statement 2023-2024, Easy Read for Children & Young People & Short Breaks Parent carer guide 2023

Short Breaks Statement 2023-2024 - click here to view the document

Short Breaks Statement - easy read version for young people - 2023 - click here to view the document.

Short Breaks - An easy read guide for parents / carers in Reading - 2023 - click here to view the document.

Universal, Targeted and Specialist Services

Universal, Targeted and Specialist Services

Universal, targeted and specialist are terms applied to services available for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) 

Universal Services - These are services which all families can expect to access without needing any extra SEND resources. Universal services are expected to make reasonable adjustments to accommodate children/young people with SEND.

Targeted Services - These are services for children with additional needs over and above what is available to them through universal services. Often these services will be short-term and embedded into universal services. 

Specialist Services - Specialist services are those which families may require following individual assessment and referral by specialists. Typically, they will be long-term and for children with complex needs.

Is the Short Breaks Service Means Tested?

Short Breaks services are not means tested.

Does my child qualify for a Short Break?

To find out if you qualify for a short break please email: 

Other short breaks services are available from external organisations such as charities who offer clubs and leisure activities and they can vary from 2 hours upwards. Most of these are subsidised and can be accessed with just with a diagnosis.

How do I access a Short Breaks Service?

Universal or Targeted Short Breaks can be accessed directly by the parent/carer.

Access to Specialist services is only available after an assessment has been done. To request and assessment, contact the Children's Single Point of Access.

The Reading Services Guide Short Breaks section lists all short breaks and how to access them.


Are all Short Break services funded by Brighter Futures for Children?

No, many short breaks are funded by external sources such as lottery funding.

Children's Action Teams (CATs) Early Help

Children's Action Teams (CATs) in Reading are local teams providing help, guidance and support, working together with families and communities to create and achieve positive change for Reading's children and young people.

CATs work closely with schools and other services to provide family-centred support that meets a variety of needs. This can be single or multiple issues arising from the child's education, their health or other significant areas of their family life.

If you need help from the CAT's please call directly on 0118 9373641

How do I find out about Short Breaks that are not funded by the Brighter Futures for Children?

Information on Short Breaks can be found on Reading’s Local Offer section of the Reading Services Guide SEND Local Offer and how to access them. Under ‘View All Services’ on the Short Breaks page, you will able to filter those short breaks that are funded and others that are not.


Do I have to pay for a Short Break?

Short breaks available from external organisations are usually subsidised, some of them by Brighter Futures for Children, but there is usually a cost implication and this can vary.

Do I need an EHCP to access a Short Breaks service?

Only a Specialist service - Access to these services is only available after an assessment from the children with disabilities social care team. Support needed would be identified as greater than that required from Targeted Services. Every child is entitled to an assessment, although not everyone will receive a service. Every family is entitled to ask for one, however the Social care team will probably need to ensure you have accessed all the targeted services available to you before agreeing to carry out an assessment).

Universal: where services are available for anyone, such as access to the local leisure centre or a club, football team etc.

Targeted: are those that are aimed specifically at children affected by disability, such as a specialist play scheme or after school club. These may be part-funded by the local authority to keep the contribution made by families to a more affordable level.



Related Advice

Personal Budgets (Children)

Page last reviewed: 17/10/2023

Contact the Team

Family Information Service 0118 937 3777 OPTION 2 0118 937 3777 OPTION 2

SEND Local Offer 0118 937 3777 OPTION 2 0118 937 3777 OPTION 2

Adult & Carers Support 0118 937 3747 0118 937 3747
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