Agenda item

Agenda item

SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disability) Annual Report

Report of the Strategic Director (Children’s and Education Services).


This report provides an overview of the proposed reforms outlined in the SEND and Alternative Provision Improvement Plan 2023 and how Manchester is working in coproduction with parents/carers, young people and partners across education, health and care to test the reforms.


The Local Area Inclusion Plan attached to this report is one of the reforms Manchester is being asked to test. This document outlines the continued work to improve the experiences and outcomes of children and young people with special educational needs and/or disability and their families and the local offer available to support them to achieve their outcomes.


The Committee considered a report of the Strategic Director (Children and Education Services) which provided an overview of the proposed reforms outlined in the SEND and Alternative Provision Improvement Plan 2023 and how Manchester was working in coproduction with parents/carers, young people and partners across education, health and care to test the reforms.


Key points and themes in the report included:


·       Providing an introduction and background;

·       Information relating to the Department for Education Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and Alternative Provision (AP) Change Programme;

·       An update on the Local Area Inclusion Plan (LAIP) and reflections on this;

·       A summary of findings from Manchester Local area’s LAIP; and

·       Conclusions and actions.


Some of the key points and themes that arose from the Committee’s discussions were:


·       The importance of early identification, particularly of hidden disabilities;

·       The relationship between screen time and speech and language development;

·       The role of Health Visitors in identifying need, especially for those children not in a nursery / early years setting;

·       Noting that the increase from April 2024 for eligible working families to be able to access 15 hours of early education from the term after their child's 2nd birthday would assist with early identification and diagnosis;

·       The need to consider all good practice in relation to early identification and diagnosis;

·       How did Manchester compare to other comparable cities in regard to early identification;

·       How would the Local Area Inclusion Plan improve the outcomes of young people;

·       What were the reasons for the increase in the numbers of SEND children and how did Manchester compare to other comparable cities;

·       The need for more Education Psychologists to meet demand; and

·       Calling for adequate government funding to support and deliver the ambitions described in the report.


The SEND Lead commented that the SEND reforms were focused on prevention work and early intervention. She commented that the Local Area Inclusion Plan testing had been launched in September 2023 and that the Plan would provide transparency of this work with all stakeholders included. Actions would be developed and reported against to drive improvements in this area of activity, especially in regard to early identification. She commented that currently 6% of children in Manchester had an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP), adding that this was comparable to other cities with similar levels of deprivation. She also commented on the impact of the pandemic on children and young people and their development, especially in regard to speech, language and communication.


The Assistant Director of Education referred to the Kickstarter projects that were being delivered through Public Health funding, as part of the wider Making Manchester Fairer work that had seen additional resources allocated to support young people in the most deprived wards in the city. She commented that they were also working with relevant partners, including CAHMS and Health Visitors more widely on the issue of early identification, noting that appropriate support could then be offered prior to any formal assessment and diagnosis.


The Director of Education referred to an event that had been held recently on Early Years that had included consideration of Special Education Needs. She commented that there was a significant amount of work and activity already underway within early year settings, including childminders on the topic of early identification. The Chair commented that members of the Committee should be invited to any similar future events.


The Strategic Director (Children and Education Services) informed the Committee that discussions were currently ongoing with the NHS Greater Manchester Integrated Care Board regarding Health Visitors and suggested that an update report on this topic be submitted to the Committee at an appropriate time.


The Assistant Director of Education stated that initial teacher training included SEND identification training and this was also included in the Early Careers Framework that newly qualified teachers were required to complete within the first two years of practice. She stated that Educational Psychologist services were commissioned via One Education and individual schools could also commission their own services as appropriate. She added that Educational Psychologists in training, under the supervision of a fully qualified Educational Psychologists were also used. She stated that advice sessions had also been arranged online for schools that were facilitated by Educational Psychologist and these had proven to be very well received. She commented that additional Educational Psychologist support had been provided via the Kickstarter pilot previously referred to.


The Chair of the Parent Carer Forum made refence to the Social Attention and Communication Surveillance (SACS) tool for the early identification of autism pilot. He commented that this had been successful in early identification and improved diagnostic pathways for young people. He stated that discussions were currently ongoing with Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust with the intention to roll this out across the city. He also referred to the success and benefits of the Dingley's Promise Early Years Inclusion Project.


The Director of Education advised the Committee that a new specialist school would be built in north Manchester with the completion date expected in the summer of 2025, with it opening in the September of that year. She said that the school was being built by the Council and this would then be transferred to the Prospere Learning Trust, noting the positive comments from the Committee regarding the provision at the Grange School that they also ran. In addition, she made reference to the increase in specialist provision that would be provided within two existing mainstream schools.


The Executive Member for Early Years, Children and Young People made reference to the positive response and action taken in Manchester on the issue of SEND, making reference to the collaboration between the Public Health and Education. He commented that this was in the absence of government direction or support on the issue. He stated that despite this, Manchester through the involvement in the Local Area Inclusion Plan Pilot had taken the opportunity to inform national policy. He commented that it was important to recognise and acknowledge the significant pressures all partners were experiencing that could curtail full delivery on the ambitions described.




To note the report.

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