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SEND Transformation Briefing (Winter 2018)

You can download this update as a printer friendly version (0.98 MB) and also use it to save for offline viewing.





SEND transformation vision   Back to top

The vision of the SEND transformation programme is to ensure that all children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) are able to reach their full potential. We want to ensure that they receive the right support at the right time, with choice and control so that they are able to realise their aspirations and lead fulfilling lives in their local school, home and community.

We want to ensure that children with SEN and disabilities are appropriately supported to achieve their full potential in their local school, home and community. Wherever possible we want to reduce the need for escalation into higher tier services. However, when escalation is necessary, we want to ensure that the process is as streamlined as possible to ensure children receive the correct support quickly and efficiently.

Right Support, Right Place, Right Time



Staffordshire’s education vision - double district meetings   Back to top

In early October, the county council held a number of double district events across the county with schools and education settings to discuss Staffordshire’s education vision. 

At the meetings, we discussed the education and skills strategy consultation, the SEND strategy consultation, the local area review, and the SEND transformation as well as the future direction of travel for education in Staffordshire. 

Following the success of these meetings, we wanted to hold another event in the new year to continue our discussions and tell you about some of the developments taking place in the new year. The events will be hosted by a dedicated school representative and Helen Riley, the deputy chief executive and director for families and communities from Staffordshire County Council.

To reserve your place at any of the events below please contact Families First Workforce Development by email at  FamiliesFirst.Traini@staffordshire.gov.uk.

Newcastle / Moorlands The Kings, First Ave, Kidsgrove, Stoke-on-Trent. ST7 1DP 5 March 2019 09:30 – 11:30
Burton/ Tamworth Rawlett, Comberford Rd, Tamworth B79 9AA 8 March 2019 9:30 – 11:30
Stafford / South Staffs Council Chamber, County Buildings, Martin Street, Stafford ST16 2DH 14 March 2019 13:30 – 15:30
Cannock / Lichfield Erasmus Darwin  Pool Road, Burntwood,
Staffordshire. WS7 3QW
19 March 2019 9:30 – 11:30



SEND Strategy Consultation   Back to top

Staffordshire County Council are currently in the process of publicly consulting on their ‘Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Strategy’. This consultation is a chance for you to have your say on our vision and proposed plans to support children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities throughout their time in education.

The strategy has been informed by engagement with families and a number of education settings.  Future plans within the strategy include improving support and inclusion for children with SEND in mainstream schools, improving service provision and making processes simpler.

Parents, carers, users and education providers are all being contacted but the consultation is open to all interested parties. It runs until 21 December 2018. 

The consultation is now closed. 



SEND Prototype Updates   Back to top

The SEND Transformation has been testing new ways of working to help shape the new approach to supporting children with SEND.

The two hubs based in South Staffordshire and Leek have focused on improving the SEND journey for children at statutory school age. The aim of the development activities has been to find different and innovative ways of working in partnership with each other and local agencies to improve the SEND support children receive in their area.

The below videos have been created by the prototype leads and demonstrate how each hub is unique and has developed in a different way depending on local need and resources. 

South Staffordshire SEND Prototype

Presented by Paul Elliot

Leek SEND Prototype

Presented by Kevin Allbutt

Both hubs are continuously changing and developing as they progress through the prototype process. We hope that the learning gained through these prototypes will enable us to develop a local working model that can be rolled out across Staffordshire in April 2019.



High needs block – update   Back to top

Earlier this year, Staffordshire County Council took papers to the Schools Forum which explained the concerns about the £5m - £7m overspend of the ‘High Needs Block’ budget which supports children with special educational needs.

High Needs BlockWe have been working with schools to address the high needs budget overspend. In October 2018, the Schools Forum were informed that a number of SEND services currently commissioned through ENTRUST are being reviewed. The Schools Forum also decided to escalate a proposal to the Secretary of State regarding the transfer of 0.5% funding from the DSG to the High Needs Block budget (to reduce the overspend). The 0.5% represents approximately £2.4 million which would go to support the most vulnerable learners in our county.

Schools forum were not prepared to agree to the transfer of funding and have decided to pass the decision to the Secretary of State to demonstrate the financial pressures Staffordshire schools are under. Whilst we are hopeful that the Secretary of State will agree to the transfer, there is no guarantee that he will do so.

We will keep you up to date with any changes. We should hopefully know more in the new year.



SEND local area review   Back to top

Between Monday 12 November and Friday 16 November, Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission carried out an inspection of support for children and young people who live in Staffordshire and have special educational needs and disabilities.

SEND Local Area ReviewThe five-day inspection included meetings with officers from education and social care at the county council, as well as key people from the local health service, school leaders, parents and pupils.

The review is now complete, and we would like to thank you all for your support, whether your school was visited, you were part of a feedback group or you helped inform parents of how to get involved, your support has been greatly appreciated.

During the review, the inspectors commented that Staffordshire is a very self-aware local authority and that we clearly understand our strengths as well as the areas that need to improve. They also expressed thanks for the openness and transparency within the various locations that they visited and from the parents they spoke to.

We expect to receive the draft report in mid-December and will then have 10 days to respond to them with any comments or challenges. We hope to be able to share the final report with you early in the new year.



SEND local offer website   Back to top

The new and improved SEND local offer website that launched earlier this year provides information on the provision available to children and young people aged 0-25 years with SEND in Staffordshire. 

Young people, parents and practitioners each have their own page. There are options to search by age range or by subject.

The local offer covers:

  • Early years and childcare.
  • Education.
  • Social care.
  • Health and wellness.
  • Travel and transport.
  • Places to go, things to do.
  • Money matters.
  • Preparation for adulthood.
  • Information and support.
  • Extra help.
  • Policies.

We have been working with children, young people and parents to design materials to promote the website. We have developed flyers and posters – these will be sent to education settings shortly. Children and young people have also designed a business card for providers they would like to recommend to register on the Local Offer.

We would love to hear your feedback on the new SEND Local Offer.  Please email any comments to localoffer@staffordshire.gov.uk.



Graduated Response Guidance   Back to top

The local authority are in the process of developing a guidance document for schools regarding the graduated response. The document has two main purposes: 

  • To provide information and guidance for schools in meeting the needs of children and young people in line with the SEN code of practice.
  • To aid the county council and schools in the decision making process around education health and care (EHC) needs assessments. 

The document will be structured to take into account each area of need and will focus on both quality first teaching and provision at SEN support and will also provide guidance on working with specialist agencies. We plan to consult with stakeholders and education settings on the proposals early in the new year. 



South Staffordshire SENCO Event   Back to top

The South Staffordshire SEND prototype plan to hold their second SENCO event on 24 January 2019 at Wightwick Hall.

The event will be an opportunity for SENCOs in South Staffordshire to learn more about the graduated response guidance and the consultation. For more information about the event, please contact the South Staffordshire SEND Co-ordinator, Paula Ricketts at paula.ricketts@staffordshire.gov.uk.



Education health and care plan online hub - pilot   Back to top

EHC plan online hub pilotIn January 2019 the county council plans to pilot the EHC hub. This is an innovative digital platform for families, professionals and education settings to engage, contribute and collaborate on education, health and care (EHC) needs assessments, plans and reviews.  

The EHC hub puts children and their families at the heart of these processes and provides secure access to all other stakeholders to actively contribute and view information. It has been designed to support local processes and to work alongside existing systems. The hub offers a digital approach to the way children and young people are supported and provides greater transparency throughout the process.

The live pilot is starting in January 2019. Following the pilot and district launch events, it is envisaged that we will go live in September 2019.



Alternative provision update   Back to top

In the Autumn term (2017-18) it was agreed that a further strand of the SEND transformation program would be established to develop the alternative education provision offer for Staffordshire.

In the summer term 2018 a number of options were developed to take forward as part of the alternative provision workstream. The below snippets give you an update on how the projects are developing.

Alternative provision dynamic purchasing system is now live

We are now commissioning alternative provision for children who are out of school using our new dynamic purchasing system (DPS).

So far, we have had over 40 providers apply with 20+ of these being registered as approved DPS providers.

All approved providers are now visible on the local offer with the Staffordshire County Council logo next to their name. Pupil referral units (PRUs) are able to utilise the new system to commission alternative education provision too.

Consultation on cost recovery charge

The local authority have recently opened consultation with schools regarding the introduction of a cost recovery charge following a child or young person’s permanent exclusion.

This consultation’s aim is to gather views about the principles and levels of a cost recovery charge in order to ensure that admitting schools receive sufficient financial support to cover the additional costs of reintegrating a child or to fund appropriate alternative education provision.

Consultation will remain open until Friday 14 December 2018. If you wish to have your say in the consultation please visit the electronic school bag week beginning 6 November 2018 for more information and email your response to send.tippingst@staffordshire.gov.uk.

Develop Primary and Secondary Resource bases

We have been working in partnership with mainstream schools to develop a number of primary and secondary resource hubs across Staffordshire linked in with already established social emotional and mental health (SEMH) specialist provision. The resource bases will promote early intervention strategies for pupils with SEND within mainstream schools to avoid escalation of challenging behaviour. This is a partnership model where mainstream schools 'host' a colleague from a special school or PRU.

Behaviour Support Helpdesk

During Summer 2018, the local authority and Entrust ran a five-week trial of the recommended 'Behaviour support helpdesk'. The trial gave schools the opportunity for five  weeks to speak directly to a behaviour specialist who could provide advice on specific pupils and generic classroom strategies. 

Unfortunately, during the trial, the helpdesk didn’t receive any phone calls from schools and received only one phone call from a parent. Due to the disappointing outcome of the trial, we have decided not to move this recommendation forward. 

Nurture model

The nurture model was very popular during the workshops feedback but it was agreed that the nurture model was best placed to remain as part of the school remit and responsibility under the graduated response. Schools are now driving this model forward.

Alternative provision panel

The alternative provision panel is now up and running. We have PRU head teachers that sit on the panel regularly. In addition, County Councillor Johnathan Price has attended on a number of occasions as an observer. 

We are keen to get some more representation from mainstream headteachers to help support the panel. Although the panel meets every Tuesday morning at 9am in Stafford, headteachers can attend on a flexible basis.

If you would like to attend a meeting, please contact Karl Hobson for venue information at karl.hobson@staffordshire.gov.uk.

District inclusion partnership (DIP) funding

We are currently considering bids from primary and secondary DIP's on funding of projects for the 2018-19 academic year which will support inclusion in mainstream schools and reduce permanent exclusions. We had to extend the deadline until October half-term to give partners sufficient time to consider applications before submitting them to the local authority. We have now responded to over half of the submissions and are currently in the process of responding to the final submissions. 

Pupil referral unit (PRU) review

We have now completed the external review of our six PRUs and will be considering the next steps in partnership with the PRU headteachers.

District Inclusion Partnership (DIP) Database

We have been delayed with the development of the DIP database due to some ICT difficulties. We are now on track to get this set up for the start of the Spring 2019 term and have a training date on the 7 December 2018 with the DIP clerks to go through the new system and explain how it works.


SEND transformation contact details

If you have any questions, or would like some more information about anything you have read within the SEND Transformation Briefing, please contact: sendtransformation@staffordshire.gov.uk

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