Manchester City Council

Agenda item

Agenda item

Annual report on Manchester's implementation of the Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) reforms introduced in 2014

Report of the Director of Education

 

This report provides an update on how Manchester is implementing the Special Educational Needs and Disability reforms introduced in September 2014.  The report also provides information on the numbers of children and young people with SEND in the local area, data on pupil attainment, attendance and exclusions and comparisons with national data.

 

Minutes:

The Committee received a report of the Director of Education which provided an update on how Manchester was implementing the Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) reforms introduced in September 2014.  It also provided information on the numbers of children and young people with SEND in the local area, data on pupil attainment, attendance and exclusions and comparisons with national data.

 

Officers referred to the main points and themes within the report which included:

 

           The overall population with SEND;

           Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCP);

           How the views of parents, carers and children and young people  

           impacted on strategic decisions;

           The SEND Local Offer;

           How the needs of young people with SEND were being met through

           education, health and care services;

           Preparing young people with SEND for adulthood;

           Improving pathways into services;

           Improving outcomes and standards across education and training; and

           Training on SEND for staff from all agencies.

 

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

 

           The £2.9 million capital funding which the Department for Education

           (DfE) was providing over the next three years for implementing

            priorities agreed through the Strategic Review of SEND provision in

           2017/18;

           Concern that some children with SEND were not being identified early

           enough;

           The costs of providing education for young people with SEND up to the

           age of 25;

           Concern that some schools had a significant under-spend in their

           budget which could be spent elsewhere;

           Concern that children with            SEND were disproportionately likely to be

           excluded; and

           Sufficiency of special school places in the city and the use of

           independent school placements for children with SEND.

 

The Director of Education reported that officers welcomed the £2.9 million of capital funding but that there would be still be an over-spend.  The Head of Schools Quality Assurance and Strategic SEND reported that the Early Years Delivery Model (EYDM) had resulted in children with SEND being identified earlier, adding that this was the first year that the rollout of EYDM had reached schools.  She welcomed that there was now a health representative on the SEND Board and advised Members that one of the key priorities had been to increase the number of two-year-olds receiving a Health Visitor assessment.  She informed Members that a pilot was taking place in which some schools were working more pro-actively with feeder nurseries to improve communication and identification of children with SEND and that, if this was successful, it would be rolled out further.  The Executive Member for Children’s Services reported that the take-up of Health Visitor assessments at nine months and two years would be a key area of focus for him and that further information would be included in a future update. 

 

The SEND Lead reported that the Council currently spent more than £6 million of the High Needs budget on post-16 education for young people with SEND, advising that this figure excluded sixth form provision in special schools.  She reported that Manchester had an excellent education and training offer for young people with SEND which, she advised, could be resulting in more young people choosing to stay in education.  She outlined work taking place with the Work and Skills Team and Adult Social Care to support the transition to adult life and support young people with SEND to access opportunities outside of education, such as work, leisure provision and involvement in their local community.

 

The Chair reported that the under-spend of some schools had been challenged by the Committee and also the Schools Forum.  He encouraged Members to read the papers from the Schools Forum, which were available on the Council’s website.  The Director of Education reported that conversations had taken place with the relevant schools, some of which had returned the money, and that this returned money had been allocated to the High Needs Block.

 

The Director of Education outlined the work taking place to support and challenge schools in relation to the exclusion of, and outcomes for, children with SEND.  She advised Members that the Council was awaiting the report on the National Review on Exclusions and would be finalising Manchester’s multi-agency Inclusion Strategy shortly.  She informed Members about plans to increase the number of special school places in the city, using the £2.9 million from national government and £20 million of Manchester’s Basic Needs allocation, putting in an expression of interest to the national government for new special and alternative provision free schools and expanding capacity in existing special schools.

 

Decision

 

To note the report.

Supporting documents: