Services for children and young people with special educational needs or disability (SEND) within Warwickshire are continuing to undergo a process of transformation in response to the Children and Families Act 2014 and in the SEND Code of Practice 2015. Key changes within the reforms included:
- Replacing statements of SEN with education, health and care (EHC) plans;
- Extending the age range for EHC plans from school-age to 0-25;
- The publication of a Local Offer of SEND services;
- The appointment of a Designated Clinical Officer for SEND;
- Co-production at strategic and individual level between parents and professionals, and;
- The expectation of joint commissioning of by local authorities and clinical commissioning groups (CCGs).
Warwickshire’s provision for Special Educational Needs was in urgent need of review, due to the demand currently outstripping capacity for state-funded specialist education provision within the county and financial pressures from the Dedicated Schools Grant.
In April 2016, Ofsted published the inspection framework for local SEND arrangements. The framework is based upon three main areas: identifying need, assessing and meeting need, and improving outcomes. The inspection covers education, health and social care from age 0-25.
Following inspection, Ofsted issue a letter confirming the strengths and areas for development. No grades are issued, however Ofsted can require a statement of action if they consider that parts of the local system are performing poorly and are not being addressed appropriately. Since September 2016, approximately 40% of inspections are resulting in a statement of action.
In 2015/16, 2,636 (3.1%) school-age children had statements of SEN or EHC plans Warwickshire, with a further 9,655 (11.3%) receiving SEN Support in schools.
In Warwickshire, the SEND Programme Board oversee the implementation of the SEND Code of Practice.
A self-evaluation exercise has been carried out to identify strengths and area for development.
Strengths of our local arrangements include:
- The SEND Provision Matrix was launched in 2015 and makes clear the expectations upon schools and services at universal, targeted and specialist levels of support.
- Progress and educational attainment for SEN cohort – the 2015/16 education data shows that SEN Support pupils outperform our statistical neighbours at Attainment 8 and Progress 8 measures, whilst our EHC plan pupils also perform above the national average on these measures. 93% of children with EHC plans attend good or outstanding schools.
- The local authority has invested significantly in additional SEND Provision since 2015 in order to ensure local educational provision and a reduction in independent specialist provision.
- Warwickshire has embedded processes for co-production at a strategic level, working closely with Family Voice Warwickshire and the advocacy service SENDIAS.
- The local offer website continues to generate traffic of approximately 1,600 unique users per quarter (excluding WCC staff). In addition, the local authority communicates with parents through the SEND Voice newsletter, a twice-yearly co-produced publication, published both online and in hard-copy.
Areas for development include:
- Timeliness of EHC plans. As of December 2016, approximately 40% of EHC plans this financial year were assessed and issued within the statutory timeframe of 20 weeks. Performance is improving with close performance management in place.
- Timeliness of transition through social care with most adult care assessments being completed after rather than before the 18th There has been agreement for permanent staff to be appointed to address this situation.
- Waiting times for CAMHS remain high. This service has been re-designed and a tendering exercise, based on a co-produced outcomes framework, is nearing conclusion.
- Whilst few in number, the number of permanent school exclusions of children with EHC plans is already higher than last academic year. The review of Area Behaviour Partnerships will include how pupils with SEND are supported to avoid permanent exclusion.
Further briefings will be provided to the Health and Wellbeing Board on a periodic basis or on request.
SEND Board Development Manager