Agenda item

Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) - Update


Further to Minute No. 53 of the Commission held on 22nd March, 2017, Jenny Lingrell, Assistant Director, Commissioning, Performance and Inclusion, and  Paula Williams, Head of Inclusion, presented a progress report assisted by the following powerpoint presentation:-


The Rotherham Context

-          There were 45,028 children and young people attending Rotherham’s schools as at January 2018 School Census (43,882 in 2016)

-          7,513 children were identified as having a Special Educational need (16.6%).  A rise of 0.6% since the census of 2016.  Nationally 14.6%

-          13.7% of the Rotherham’s school population have needs met by a graduated response (SEN Support) in 2018 compared to the National average of 11.7%.  This was a fall from 2014 when 17.3% of the Rotherham School population had needs met by a graduated response in schools in comparison to National 15.1%

-          1,333 of these children have needs met with support of an Education Health and Care Plan (2.9%).  However, this only measures the school population and not those placed outside the Borough

-          Current position at the end of August 2018 showed that there were 1,956 children and young people in Rotherham who had an Educational Health and Care Plan in place with approximately 354 of the children accessing an out of authority provision (18%) which is not in the Borough and 1,602 children and young people access provision for which was within the Rotherham Borough (82%).  33 of the children had their EHC Plan administered by another local authority due to being resident outside Rotherham

-          The 321 children accessing an out of authority provision is split with 116 of them being statutory school aged and 205 being Post-16 aged

-          Looking at those in specialist provision only: 142 children and young people as at end of August 2018, 78 of whom are statutory school aged and 64 that were post-16


Rotherham’s 5 Key Themes in the SEND Strategy

-          Co-Production Voice and Influence

Families and services working together to produce better outcomes for Children and Young People with Special Educational Needs

There was clear and strong communication, participation, engagement and co-production with children, young people, families, practitioners and partners

-          Integrated Services and Joint Commissioning

There was collective responsibility and a streamlined approach for children, young people and their families when accessing relevant assessments, services and support

-          Sufficiency of Provision

There was sufficiency of provision to meet the range of needs of children and young people with Special Educational needs and/or Disability

Wherever possible, this should be within line with their choice or that of their parents and within Rotherham

-          Quality of Provision, Performance and Assurance

Provision made through the graduated response and/or an Education Health Care Plan should be of the highest quality to enable the best outcomes for children and young people.  This area would include developments in the specific areas of Autism, Social Emotional and Mental Health Needs

-          Value for Money and Savings

Provision made should be early, involve timely assessment and ensure the best use of funding available


What’s Going Well

-          A SEND Strategy (at consultation) and an established action plan focussing on 5 themes

-          A co-produced action plan to develop the “Voices” of young people and parents within the planning of SEND provision

-          New Assistant Director for Commissioning, Performance and Inclusion now in post

-          SEND Sufficiency Plan Year 1 in delivery – all 7 projects underway

3/7 resulting in Rotherham from September 2018

2/7 resulting in provision from December 2018

2/7 projecting provision from September 2019

-          Rotherham’s first 19-25 provision for SEND would be in place for September 2018

-          Social Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH) mainstream resources (2 primary 1 secondary) under discussion

-          Preparation continuing for a Local Area SEND Inspection

-          New joint lead for Education Health and Care Assessment Team (EHCAT) and Children with Disabilities Team.  Restructure of EHCAT on track for the end of October 2018.  Plan in development for improved quality of Education Health and Care Plans (EHCP)

-          Turning the Curve plans in place for reduction of EHCP assessment requests and reduction in Exclusions

-          Over £1.5M cost avoidance projected by increased places through sufficiency

-          All Age Autism Strategy in draft

-          SEMH joint welling strategy underway with involvement of Social Care and CAMHS colleagues

-          Proactive Health Focus Group in place

-          SEND workforce training across all organisations


Areas for Development

-          Budget pressure on education funding for SEND via the High Needs Dedicated Schools Grant

-          Urgency to understand and agree a local tri-partite funding agreement between Education, Health and Social Care

-          Co-ordination of the Preparation for Adulthood agenda

-          First Tier Tribunals increasing (although remain very low)

-          Request to reconsider SEND hub from Corporate Landlord

-          Understanding of the commissioned service offer from health for children with SEND

-          Business Support Review delaying centralisation and streamlining of Inclusion admin

-          Some uncertainty when Head of Inclusion post becomes vacant


Current Actions and Timelines

-          Publication of the finalised SEND Strategy – November 2018

-          Co-production and Communication

Implementation of the Voices action plan

-          Joint Commissioning

Joint Commissioning Strategy to be reviewed to include plans for SEND hub, EHC Panel and work with health colleagues

Health Sufficiency Plan in place – October 2018

-          SEND Sufficiency

Completion of all Year One projects – 31st March 2019

Planning Year Two projects to begin on time: 1st April 2019 – March 2020

Further investigations into mainstream SEMH resources – September-December 2018

-          Assuring Quality

Education Health and Care Planning

EHCP – Team Restructure - October 2018

Moderation of EHCP Quality protocol in Place – December 2018

New EHCP Assessments completed in statutory timescales at 90% - March 2019

Implementation of Turning the Curve Action Plan to reduce EHCPs - December 2018


All Age Autism Strategy finalised - November 2018

Sensory Assessment protocols and graduated response agreed with Health - December 2018

Social Emotional and Mental Health Needs (SEMH)

New SEMH Strategy incorporating all work across education, Health and Social Care in place – January 2019

Preparation For Adulthood (PfA)

Preparation For Adulthood Board to agree and monitor leads for all areas of development in line with self-assessment and feedback from young people – December 2018

-          Value for Money

Development of a robust High Needs Budget monitoring group to investigate and monitor decision making – December 2018

Review to Top Up/Element Three funding

Mainstream resource funding model and commissioning agreements reviewed – December 2018

Traded Service model reviewed

Review of all posts and services funded from within the budget


Discussion ensued with the following issues raised/clarified:-


·           Work was currently underway on benchmarking High Needs budgets across the region.  Funding had been available to schools in the School’s block of the Dedicated Schools Grant higher than the national average but less money available in the High Needs Block than the national average resulting in Rotherham being quite low funded around High Needs Block.  The one area that was common to Rotherham and other authorities was around SEMH.  Rotherham also had the additional pressure of out of authority placements


·           There was a very strong team that worked together across the voluntary service and within Inclusion, Health and Social Care.  A Voices event had taken place with the young people on what they wanted to say about their provision and involvement in Rotherham SEND.  An action plan had been co-produced with the young people about the things that needed to be developed from their perspective


·           The SENDIASS Team had a Young People’s Officer and a Children’s Officer whose specific roles were to capture voices and to work with young people and make sure that their voices were heard whether on their plan or the Strategy.  There had been an excellent piece of work carried out on the consultation of the SEND Strategy itself and had provided a large amount of written comments about young people’s feelings and thoughts about a whole range of issues.  The SEND Strategy Board had tasked the Assistant Director to feedback to the young people who had contributed to the consultation that their voices had been reflected in the draft Strategy to give them confidence that they were being listened to


·           The Children and Young People Partnership Board, a multi-agency group, had agreed in principle to put in place a multi-agency funding arrangement to ensure the Voices work was sustained going forward


·           Transition to adulthood was an area that traditionally had been quite difficult.  The recent consultation had included a section on preparing for adulthood and it had also been highlighted by parents as the next area they wanted to help the Service with.  There was now a multi-agency Preparing for Adulthood Board consisting of representatives from Adults and Children’s Services, Social Care and Health, which met on a monthly basis


·           A piece of work had started in October 2017, completed January 2018, and was part of a regional peer project, to assess where Rotherham was in preparation for adulthood.  As the Preparing for Adulthood Board was to start developing an action plan, a new audit tool from the national body “Preparing for Adulthood” had been released so the action plan was now aligning with the audit tool which was much more in line with what young people needed and wanted.  The audit tool would group work that needed to be done under the 4 areas of Preparing for Adulthood and it would be seen as Preparation for Adulthood rather than transition from Children’s into Adult Services i.e. it looked at employment, how you prepared young people for employment and to do so at the age 12/13, friendships and being part of the community



·           Rotherham had been offered support from the national body for Preparing for Adulthood


·           Although Rotherham did not have high NEET figures, there were more post-16 young people requesting an EHCP and young people who felt they had to look outside Rotherham to get what they needed under their EHCP. This was starting to be addressed through the college provision but there was still work to do in this area. 


·           The 19-25 provision was based in the Broom Valley area.  The situation was ideal for young people with the aim of helping them become independent in that it was near shops that they could go on their own, it was on a main bus route and was down the road from the hospital.  The site had been secured for 3 years during which time consideration would be given as to whether it was the right site and area, required adapting or an alternative site


·           Approximately 50 children would be in Rotherham provision from September 2018 rather than outside the Local Authority.  The college provision was only for 15 young people but would make a significant difference because they were high cost placements when out of authority.  There were 20 places at Abbey School, 15 at Aspire, 10 at Kelford and 10 places already in place and 15 coming on line in December at Rowan


·           It had been the intention to ensure there was a range of provision within the sufficiency plan and increase the sufficiency of provision for a range of different needs especially for SEMH where it had been found most children left the local authority


·           The 2 provisions that would come on line later was a special school and one for Early Years for very young children who found it difficult transferring from a F1 private provider into a mainstream environment.  In Year 2 there would be a full Autism mainstream school provision for secondary age children within the new school being built on the Waverley development which would have an Autism mainstream provision for primary education


·           It had to borne in mind that if children or young people were settled in their out of authority provision it was very difficult to move them.  It had to be done at their annual review and had to be the best thing for that child/young person.  The number had already reduced by approximately 50 as from September 2018.  It was the plan to increase the college provision over the next 2 years up to a 50 place provision


·           It was a new Ofsted inspection regime and the first time that local areas have been inspected around SEND and disability; it was not an inspection of the local authority but inspection of the local area undertaken by inspectors from Ofsted and the CQC.  The inspectors would firstly talk to parents and the young people to hear about their experience of the local area.  They would be able to ask comments on what they received from Education, Health, Social Care,  Post-16, Early Years providers and look into some of the issues that they raised as well as talking to the Service


·           The inspectors were approximately about half way through inspecting the local areas of England.  The inspection was imminent but the Service felt prepared.  Rotherham had a good story about the journey it have been on and the reforms that had been put in place since 2014.  There was still work to do but there was no stone that had not been turned over and no area of improvement not known about


·           There was no concern about meeting the deadlines in the action plan.  There were leads identified to make sure that someone would take over that role.  Handover work had also taken place to ensure the leads did complete those tasks in the way they needed to be done.  The timescales for the recruitment of the post of Head of Inclusion were being agreed


Councillor Watson, Deputy Leader, stated that he was confident in the Service and had no areas of concern to raise.  Due to the excellent way the Council had prepared for the Ofsted inspection and the issues other authorities had faced during their SEND inspection, there was a readiness for the inspection.  There was confidence that it was a good story, with strategies in place and the weaknesses known but plans to deal with them.


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


(2)  That a further update on the progress being made with the SEND/Inclusion agenda be submitted periodically over the next 3 years to ensure the continuation of the travel of direction and pace of developments given the change in 2 key leadership posts.


(3)  That more information be submitted to the Select Commission on the High Needs budget monitoring group once established.


(4)  That the Select Commission receive information regarding the regional evaluation when it was available.


(5)  That the Select Commission’s thanks be placed on record for the work of Paul Williams and their best wishes in her new post.

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