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Agenda item

Special Educational Needs and Disability Reforms - Update


Donald Rae, SEND Strategic Lead, presented an update on the preparations to implement the Special Educational Needs and Disability Reforms in Rotherham.


The Children and Families Bill was enacted in March and a new version of the SEND Code of Practice published with the final version expected shortly.


This was the largest reform of how information and support was provided to children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities for over 20 years.  It brought together the different systems in Early Years, Schools and Colleges and ensured better integration with health and care.  It aimed to improve the support provided so that children and young people were able to live independent and fulfilling lives in adulthood.  Placing the needs of parents and young people at its heart, the new system focussed on those aged 0-25 with new duties for local authorities, Clinical Commissioning Groups and Early Years Providers, Schools (of all types) and FE Colleges.  Late amendments to the Bill had increased the role of the local authority in providing Mediation Services for education, care and health as well as bringing young people within Youth Offending institutions into the scope of the Act.


Organisations in Rotherham, including parents and young people, continued to work in partnership to implement the reforms.  Key tasks which needed to be completed before September, 2014 included:-


-          Putting children, parents and carers and young people at the heart of the new system

-          Publish a Local SEND Offer

-          Establish a new SEND Assessment Pathway for all of those aged 0-25 with Special Educational Needs or a disability, including plans to transfer those with a SEN Statement or Learning Difficulty Assessment (LDA) to the new Education Health and Care Plan

-          Set up a new structure with the CCG to jointly commission education, care and health services for those with special educational needs or a disability

-          Ensure parents and young people can receive support through a personalised budget if they request one

-          Consultation on Rotherham’s SEND Aspiration and Mission


Whilst the SEND Reforms were part of national legislation, it was important to be clear about what this meant for the children and young people in Rotherham.  To help this process, consideration was being given to developing a consensus about the purpose of the SEND Reforms.  Building on the Government’s stated aims, the following have been proposed and discussion already started with may groups with the aim of reaching a final version in July, 2014:-


Rotherham’s SEND Aspiration

“Rotherham children and young people with Special Educational Needs will achieve well in their early years, at school and in college; lead happy and fulfilled lives and have choice and control”


Rotherham’s Special Educational Needs and Disability Mission

“Rotherham education, health and care services will create an integrated system from birth to 25.  Help will be offered at the earliest possible point, with children and young people with special needs and their parents or carers fully involved in decisions about their support and aspirations”


This was a huge piece of work for all partners.  Feedback from a visit from the DfE to establish Rotherham’s preparations for the reforms had stated that all the correct structures, systems and personnel were in place to take them forward and impressed by the working relationship with the CCG.


Discussion ensued on joint commissioning:- 


-          The commitment and all the elements of joint commissioning were there and needed to be actioned

-          Services had to be delivered more cost effectively and needed to be clear as to what joint commissioning meant in terms of any service reconfiguration and procurement and how it worked for the Local Authority as a large provider

-          To the recipient of the Service it did not matter who was the commissioner of services it as long as they had the best outcome

-          Education/schools needed to be brought into commissioning

-          Communication strategy across all Services required


Resolved:-  (1)  That the report be noted.


(2)  That the report be forwarded to the Health and Wellbeing Board for consideration.

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