The report provided an
update on the progress across Children’s and Young Peoples
Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Sufficiency Phase Four,
following the annual Cabinet update for Children’s and Young
Peoples Services Safety Valve Agreement. The Commission was
familiar with this work having received reports on the Sufficiency
Strategy and Written Statement of Action at previous
The Chair invited
Nathan Heath, Assistant Director, Education, and Inclusion to
introduce the report.
The Safety Valve
Agreement update was provided to Cabinet on the 24 April 2023,
which informed of the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities
(SEND) Transformation Work conducted in Rotherham. The Safety Valve
Agreement was a financial plan provided by the Department of
Education, to support the deficit in the High Need Grant. This
allowed continued growth in Rotherham for SEND requirements. The
Council had also taken the opportunity to transform SEND services
aligned to the Written Statement of Action, which was provided as
part of a previous SEND inspection.
Within the report,
contextual information is outlined showing Rotherham’s
current situation in relation to SEND. The SEND Sufficiency has
reported to Scrutiny three times previously throughout previous
phases. Phase One was focused on creating additional school places
for children with SEND requirements. Phase Two was focused on
learning to work closely with partners, to develop mainstream and
integrated resource bases.
It was highlighted that
attendance at Scrutiny from representatives of Wales High School
was very positive, with the school being recognised as a model of
best practise regionally. It was also advised that the developments
at Newman School in Whiston was on track to be completed in July
and this remained a positive new provision which would be
accessible from September 2023.
Key areas that drove
challenge within Rotherham were social, emotional and mental health
as well as autism and communication which was outlined in the
report. As part of the proposals submitted to Cabinet in September,
it was agreed that an additional one hundred resource bases in
Rotherham would be created. These would become available from
September 2023 and focus on a partnership approach between the
Local Authority, the Department for Education and schools across
There has been a shift
in movement from Phase Two where the Council worked in partnership
with schools, to Phase Four where due diligence would be completed
and the opportunity to support the development of schools would be
offered. As a result, the expressions of interest from schools have
been very high, which means that children and young people
requirements that were attending schools, would have an
opportunity to stay in a mainstream school setting for longer.
The profile of
provision that the Council was seeking to create was focused on
areas of need, by creating additional places. This includes forty
additional places across social emotional or mental health and
forty additional places across communication and interaction.
The resource base was a
dual purpose focused around aligning and equipping Rotherham
schools to meet the needs of their pupils, whilst also emphasising
was a mainstream requirement. There was a strong recognition that
placing children in educational settings outside the Borough did
not align with good financial management or strong educational
Children’s and Young Peoples Services put forward to Cabinet
the proposal of creating an accessibility fund. This was proposed
because of previous situations where very complex young
people with SEND requirements, have
been unable to have their individual needs met within a mainstream
educational setting due to inaccessible buildings. Therefore, a
proposal was put forward to Cabinet to create two
accessibility funds across the next three academic years, to
provide schools with the funding to make any required capital
adaptions to the building.
The key element to this
phase was partnership working with SEND parents, carers
and young people providing lived experience, which has guided and
underpinned the services planning. This would remain a key emphasis
throughout this phase.
The Chair invited the
Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Transformation Project
Lead to give a presentation.
presentation explained that a resource provision was attached to a
mainstream school providing specialist therapeutic input and
support for pupils with a specific SEND need type.
development of resource provision through SEND Sufficiency Phase 4,
would increase capacity for this provision, following an initial
eight resource provisions developed during previous rounds of SEND
eighty-five young people accessing resource provision across
Rotherham with primary and secondary provisions across the need
types of communication and interaction, moderate learning
difficulty, speech and language and hearing impairment.
strategic aim set out for Phase Four was to enhance mainstream SEND
capacity to meet a wider level of need across all schools and
mitigate the need for children, young people, and young adults to
be educated in settings outside the Borough and promote inclusive
Sufficiency Phase Four would create ten additional SEND resource
provisions within mainstream education settings creating a minimum
of one hundred additional SEND places over the next three academic
of interest were sought to identify schools that were able to host
a resource provision. In total fifteen schools completed expression
of interests which matched well and, in some cases, exceeded the
intended schedule of provision.
multi-agency selection process identified schools to be taken
forward into a period of due diligence; this included assessing the
provision model, capital funding requirement, location factors and
place planning so we had an equal spread across the
and approvals are provided by the SEND Sufficiency Board. This is a
multi-agency board with mixed specialisms and the Department of
Education, as part of the school’s significant change
process. As part of planning, the first additional places would be
profiled for September 2023.
provided around Rotherham families living with SEND requirements.
The majority of the eleven thousand children and young people with SEND
requirements are in
mainstream schools due to a lack of capacity within specialist
was a recent Rotherham Parent Carer’s Forum member survey which highlighted
that SEND provision was a top priority,
with preparation for adulthood being a close second.
study provided from Wales resource provision was detailed to
members. The provision opened in September 2020 and offered a
rolling intake. The provision included investment to build
purpose-built facilities such as sensory rooms and a bespoke
entrance to the school. The places were allocated by the SEND Place
The aim of
the Wales resource provision was to provide an academically
challenging curriculum that was bespoke to each child, matched by
communication and social skills support, to provide reasonable
adjustments to enable students to integrate into all aspects of
mainstream school life and to equip students to successfully gain
GCSE or equivalent qualifications by end of key stage
individual case study was provided from the school representative
of a year nine child who had a place granted in Wales in September
2020. The child was provided with an enhanced transition program,
bespoke intervention to address gaps in learning and a bespoke
timetable to gradually build time in mainstream school. This child
then went on to access sixty five percent of a mainstream
timetable, which was an increase from zero in year six.
was informing the Local Authority School’s Accessibility
Strategy, with the strategy consisting of three core aims which are
the extent to which SEND and/or disabled pupils can participate in
the physical environment of schools to increase the extent to which
disabled pupils can take advantage of education.
the delivery of information to disabled pupils and their parents
and/or carers through the Rotherham Local Offer.
co-production work completed with young people as part of the Local
Authority School’s Accessibility Strategy update. The Council
were working alongside Guiding Voices to ensure members were
continuously involved in shaping funding opportunities beyond the
steps were to encourage schools to update their Accessibility
Strategy on their school website and to encourage mainstream
schools to be able to support a wider level of SEND
provision need. There was also a
focus to create a more sustainable high needs system where pupils
can be educated locally wherever possible, through Accessibility
The Chair thanked the
officers for the presentation and invited questions, this led to
the following points being raised during discussions:
process beyond due diligence, names of the schools that have
expressed interest would be made available to the Improving Lives
As part of
the due diligence process, accountability would be held to
the inclusion strategy, in relation to bullying, behaviour
policies and school attendance. The Council would equip schools
struggling in these areas also.
had been completed with all Rotherham schools, with a clear
emphasis that the expression of interests could come from any part
of the education system. There had been a range of stakeholder
events completed, assuring accessibility for all head teachers.
These events had been followed up by individual discussions with
each school leader, including face to face visits.
phase was to develop the outreach by creating a network of resource
bases that would share best practise.
School offered a number of BTEC and vocational qualifications,
alongside GCSE qualifications.
were invited to visit Kimberworth Place, to see the great
achievements made there.
Four there would be a slight imbalance between primary and
secondary school places being made available, with sixty secondary
places and forty primary places being offered.
Rotherham College had won a contract to supply a sixteen to
provisions discussed today were not dependent on a diagnosis, they
would be based on school views and other professional
currently three thousand and fifty-four children and young people
with educational health care plans in Rotherham, this figure
includes people up to the age of twenty-five.
currently work ongoing around a distinct place planning profile, to
project future number and to monitor and these numbers across
provision enhanced the offer for the whole school and not only for
the children that attended, but this was also supported by sharing
best practise across the system with a partnership
always be a need for specialist provision and independent
specialist provision. The government’s response to the green
plan placed a strong emphasis on provision of need and all schools
would have to have an offer to meet needs of pupils, with
SEND provision being a mainstream
priority for the Council was making sure every child had access to
the best education provision, which would be mainstream where
possible or alternative provision if deemed more
whole education system, staffing retention and recruitment was a
high priority. There were challenges due to the rising cost of
living and pay increase pressures.
Voices was a group of young people with experiences relating
toSEND. Lived experience and
feedback was captured from this group regularly. The Council
acknowledged that there was still continuous improvement to be made
regarding capturing lived experience, in relation to lessons
learned and this was a priority.
thanked the Cabinet Member, officers and partners for their
the Improving Lives Select Commission accept
the report and note the progress made on Special Educational Needs and
consideration be given to the inclusion of SEND provision in the
2023/2024 Work Programme.
location of the SEND provision and presentation be circulated to
members of the committee.
arrangements be made for committee members to visit resource hubs
and schools and meet with parent carers and children and young
people as appropriate.
further update on progress be provided.