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Agenda item

Social, Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH) Needs Strategy - Update and School Exclusions


Consideration was given to a report, presented by the Head of Inclusion, Education and Skills, stating that, during a period from 2015 to 2016, the Council had commissioned an external consultant to support the preparation of a Strategy to address Social Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH) needs in schools.


The report listed details of the existing strategy, which had now been in place for two years.  Reference was made to the increase in the number of Rotherham school pupils excluded from school (both fixed-term exclusions and permanent exclusions) during the period 2012 to 2015. After two years of the implementation and impact of the SEMH strategy, there has been a significant reduction in the number of pupils being excluded from Rotherham schools.


Members noted that a Task and Finish Group has been established to develop and prepare a new, co-produced SEMH strategy, involving representatives of the Education community, the Inclusion Service, the Early Help Service, Social Care, the Health Service and the Virtual School. The draft of this refreshed strategy is expected to be available for public consultation at the end of February, 2018, when the views of children, young people and parents will be sought.


The Select Commission’s discussion of this item included the following matters:-


: the extent of financial sanctions imposed upon schools whenever a pupil is permanently excluded and whether the school should fund the cost of the alternative educational provision which the pupil(s) will receive;


: pupils at risk of exclusion form school, for whom attendance on a part-time basis may be limited to one hour per week at school; children of statutory school-age have the entitlement to 25 hours of education per week; there should be the continuous monitoring and recording of details of pupils who have a part-time timetable at school; the part-time timetable should have clear objectives with the aim of returning the pupil to full-time education as soon as possible;


: arrangements may sometimes be put in place, by schools in partnership, for individual pupils at risk of exclusion from school (thus avoiding the need for a pupil to join a pupil referral unit); examples were : short-term visits to other schools; temporary placements for several weeks on a different school campus; the formal managed move and eventual permanent transfer to a different school; these arrangements were established in a protocol agreed between the Local Authority, schools and academies; pupils who are out of school may also be considered by the Local Authority’s Fair Access panel;


: the Local Authority monitors children and young people who are educated otherwise than at school and maintains close relations with the children and young people and their families; their views will also be sought on the revised SEMH strategy.


Resolved:- (1) That the report be received and its contents noted.


(2) That the Improving Lives Select Commission:-


(a) notes the positive direction of travel with regard to both the permanent and fixed-term exclusion of pupils from school; 


(b) notes and supports the plan for a joint Social, Emotional and Mental Health strategy across Education, Health and Social Care;


(c) supports the suggested timeline, as now reported, for the development of a revised Social, Emotional and Mental Health strategy.


(3) That a report describing the progress of the development of the new Social, Emotional and Mental Health strategy be submitted to a meeting of the Improving Lives Select Commission during September, 2018 and such report shall include the views of children, young people and parents on the development of the strategy.

Supporting documents: