Decision Maker: People Committee
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: No
Is subject to call in?: No
This is the quarterly update on the delivery
of the Written Statement of Action.
Fiona Phelps, Assistant Director, Education and SEND presented the report.
The Chair commended the Assistant Director, Education and SEND and officers involved for the work that has been completed to date.
Members discussed the role of the Council in ensuring that schools met their obligations to pupils with SEND, and stated that in discussion with parents they had become aware of concerns about provision and offers being made by some schools. The Assistant Director, Education and SEND explained that the Local Authority is aware that there is still work to be done in this respect, and that the Local Area, including some schools, is still developing a full understanding of the requirements.
It was stated that the influence the Local Authority is able to have on schools which are academies, has some limitations. Meetings have been held with school head teachers which aim to support schools and the LA work more effectively together, and for schools to be able to share their good practice more widely.
Members reported they have been aware of issues parents have faced as pupils join reception classes. It was noted that if parents remained unhappy with provisions and offers from schools they were able to use the school’s complaints procedure and could, ultimately, contact Ofsted. However, it is suggested that a mediation process may be able to address parents’ concerns more satisfactorily.
The Assistant Director, Education and SEND explained a current aim is that improving the Local Offer would result in more parents of children with EHCPs wishing to take up educational provision within the borough. It was recognised that Sutton is a small borough and therefore, some very specialist provision was not available within the borough, and also that parents may choose mainstream provision just outside the borough boundaries. It was noted that progress in out of borough provision can be more difficult to monitor and review, and links with the child or young person’s community in Sutton can be reduced, both of which can impact on effective ‘preparation for adulthood’. There is an aim for year on year increase in the percentage of children and young people with EHCPs being educated in Sutton provision.
Cognus have been involved in working with schools, supporting schools with greater understanding of, and practice aligned to, the Children and Families Act and enhancing joint working practice between partners. It was noted that concerns about communications were being addressed.
The Education Bulletin has been well received and is improving communication and joint understanding in the Local Area.
Both new request and advice forms have been developed to ensure requesting support is simplified and the advice provided improved. The next step is to develop the new EHC Plan template.
Members noted that the Joint Commissioning Strategy provided a high level plan and that it is supported by a more detailed plan.
All support, provision and services for children and young people with SEND in the Local Area should be included in the Local Offer website, including those for Looked After Children and Young Carers if SEND provision is required.
Young people have been involved in the development of the website for the Local Offer; the development of the site will be an iterative and live process.
Members were reminded that the Ofsted/CQC inspection in 2018 was an inspection of the Local Area, ie of all partners involved with SEND, not just the SEN Service or the Local Authority.
EHCPs are provided for pupils with learning disabilities, so children with EHCPs for social, emotional or mental health needs would also have learning difficulties. It is important that the right support for each child and issue is identified.
1. The progress that has been made to date be noted and the work that is being undertaken to deliver the Written Statement of Action since its publication on 23 July 2018 and since the last report in December 2018 be endorsed.
2. A progress report / update be received at the next People Committee on July 2019 and at future meetings, to ensure oversight and scrutiny of the completion of the Written Statement of Action.
3. The SEND Joint Commissioning Strategy set out in Appendix A be agreed.
Councillor Elliott Colburn refrained from voting on recommendation 3 due to his declared interest for this item.
Report author: Victor Roman
Publication date: 15/04/2019
Date of decision: 14/03/2019
Decided at meeting: 14/03/2019 - People Committee