The SEND Strategy was approved by Cabinet at the meeting in February 2017.
There is also a version of the SEND Strategy created by young people for young people.
February 2017 update
142 individuals made contributions and responses to the consultation on the draft vision and SEND improvement priorities for 2017 to 2020. They were:
- 37 children and young people, both with and without SEND
- 33 parents and carers
- 46 professionals from education, health, social care
- 26 who described themselves as “other”. This included school governors and private business providers
Responses from a number of consultees were detailed and constructive, offering alternative text and explaining their own experiences and why their views were as they were. Young people gave highest priority to:
- being supported by high quality professionals who listened to them and involved them in decisions;
- a well-planned, complete and individualised education, and
- being successful as an adult.
Following the consultation the draft SEND Strategy for 2017 - 2020 was prepared and presented to Cabinet on 6 February 2017.
The progress of the SEND Strategy will be monitored through:
- A stakeholder SEND Board attended by the Cabinet Member for Education and Skills
- The Children’s Services Leadership Team
- Annual reports to the Children’s and Social Care Select Committee
- Annual stakeholder and ad hoc update reports through the Local Offer
- Regular reports to Cabinet
October 2016 update
The SEND Review which began in mid-January is now complete. You can read the SEND Review Summary Document and see the SEND Review Timeline under the 'downloads' section on this page.
The Local Authority has recently consulted on the SEND Strategic priorities for 2017-2020. The consultation closed on Sunday 23 October 2016. The feedback is now being looked at.
July 2016 update
The review has taken longer than was originally planned. This has been in part due to the rigour with which we have undertaken the review, and the nature of changes proposed by the Government to the funding of Local Authorities’ High Needs Blocks. The review has been a fundamental review of the balance of educational provision for children with SEND and the need to create a sustainable budget for the future.
The main findings are that although we spend 50% more per pupil on High Needs areas of spending than our statistical neighbours and nationally, our spending trends continue to increase. We know that:
- Buckinghamshire mainstream primary and secondary schools identify fewer children with SEND at SEN Support, and in total, than its statistical neighbours, or the national position.
- Numbers of EHC assessments and EHC Plans are increasing at a higher rate than the increase in the pupil population.
- The percentage of first time EHCPs issued for children in early education settings is significantly higher than in statistical neighbour authorities, or nationally
- The cost of financing the EHC Plans is increasing beyond the capacity of the High Needs Block to fund
- There are increasing trends for children to be educated in special schools and non-mainstream provision, with a 15% increase in funded special school places in under 3 years.
- There has been a 400% increase in permanent exclusions, where a recent analysis showed that 96% of the excluded pupils had SEND.
- SEN specialist teacher support is not available when it is needed, and in particular in the areas of ASD and SLCN, without a statement or EHC Plan.
- The very significant rise in EHC assessments from an average of 28 a month between September 2014 and March 2015, to 40 a month over the same period in 15-16 academic year, has led to a situation where Educational Psychologists have to prioritise their statutory duty to prepare Psychological Assessment reports, and are unable this term to provide school support
- The numbers of children leaving mainstream school to attend special school have increased from 84 in 13-14, 116 in 14-15 and 139 in 15-16.
- There is no indication that spending trends are steadying.
- The emerging priorities show that there needs to be:
- Strategic system leadership
- A greater focus on planning and securing education places
- Increased capacity and confidence for SEND in mainstream settings
- Ensuring our specialist provision is focused on those pupils with the most significant and complex needs
- Developing a better understanding of the relationship between our High Needs Block and current demands and volume and needs
We propose in September to send out a document that sets out in detail the analysis that we have undertaken and clearly sets out the priorities. The consultation will last for 4 weeks.
After that we will come back to school representative groups, the SEND Board with a drafted strategy to span the three year period Jan 2017 – December 2019, that will be finalised before the end of the Autumn Term.