Phase 2 Support and Aspiration
The Next Steps-Guidance and
In March 2011 the Government published a Green Paper, Support and aspiration: A new approach to
special educational needs and disability” (March 2011). The paper sets out the government’s vision
to support disabled children, young people and their families by making wide-ranging proposals to
respond to the frustrations of both children and young people and those who support them.
In response to this, the Department for Education (DfE) commissioned the Learning and Skills
Improvement Service (LSIS) to undertake a project to share effective practice in relation to the seven
themes within the Green Paper. The Green Paper identifies a commitment to encourage;
“partnership working between independent specialist colleges, special schools and colleges. This
will help spread knowledge, improve expertise, build capacity, and share delivery arrangements
so that colleges and training providers can respond effectively to the needs of learners,
employers and communities, to whom they are increasingly accountable.” (para 3.18)
Accordingly, the project methodology used a “cluster approach” designed to secure six providers in
geographical proximity, or regions, to work together to share effective practice relating to their allocated
themes. The project was open to providers working with children and young people with Special
Educational Needs (SEN) and learning difficulties and/or disabilities (LDD) and it was intended that each
cluster should include a representative range of provider types.
Approximately 110 submissions were received of which 54 providers were selected to form 9 regional
clusters, each supported by a specialist adviser. The final cohort of providers included 32 Colleges of
Further Education, (of which two were land based, one included a co-located specialist provision for
young adults with autism and one was a tertiary college), 10 Independent Specialist Colleges, eight
special schools, two Sixth Form Colleges, one Adult and Community Learning provider, one Local
Authority and one Young Offenders Institution.
In addition to collating and sharing theme related effective practice, all clusters were asked to address
two common themes which were to underpin all project activity and inform outputs. These were:
Challenging low expectations
The outputs from the project can be found on a specific area of the Excellence Gateway
The Next Steps Phase 2
In May 2012 the DfE published Support and aspiration: A new approach to special educational
needs and disability - Progress and next steps which sets out progress to date in relation to the
vision articulated in the original Green Paper. In the paper the Government promises to:
“expand the clusters of FE providers to include additional providers and are considering how to
encourage the Teaching School Alliance to engage with FE clusters as we take forward phase two of the
Phase Two will be developmental in its approach and aims to move the project from a regionalised
approach to one that is more localised and, at the same time, significantly increases the number of
providers involved from 54 to 216, with approximately 6 local clusters per region. The aim of the
localised approach is to encourage a culture shift from one of competition to one of collaboration.
We would expect all the clusters to focus on how they can help students with learning difficulties or
disabilities prepare for adulthood. In doing so, they must show how they will challenge low expectations.
We expect cluster members to work together, through peer to peer learning, prioritising sharing delivery
and resources at a practical level. Each cluster will have to develop a legacy plan that will enable the
cluster to become self sustaining by the end of the project.
Clusters will be managed by a specialist adviser in each of the nine regions and will be expected to
focus their energies on “Preparation for Adulthood” and “Challenging Low Expectations” through
sharing delivery and effective practice. Local clusters will be expected to undertake developmental
work around, for example:
developing supported employment models
developing social enterprise models
Clusters will be formed from a range of providers in the sector including Workbased Learning
Providers, Supported Employment Organisations, Independent Specialist Colleges, General
Further Education Colleges, Special Schools, Voluntary and Community Sector Organisations
and Adult and Community Learning providers. The Teaching School Alliance will also be involved in
Prior to tendering interested providers will need to negotiate to work in a local cluster and then complete
a tender document as a single cluster. Successful clusters will be required to develop action plans
adressing how indivual providers in each cluster will work together to achieve a common goal. Each
local cluster will also have to produce outputs/resources that exemplify/model their practice.
Aims of Phase 2
To create a greater shared understanding of how providers in the sector can work together
colloboratively and not competitively to spread knowledge, improve expertise, build capacity and
share delivery arrangements in order to support learners prepare for adulthood
To evidence and model progression pathways for learners
Each cluster will be required to write a short final report end of July 2013
Resources developed to support the project outcomes will be shared with the sector via the
Each provider taking part in phase 2 will receive a grant of £4,000. Payment will be made in two phases.
The first payment of £2,000 will be paid on receipt of an action plan. The second payment will be made
at the end of the project. Each cluster provider will be expected to write a short, end of project report
which the Specialist Adviser will use to write an overall cluster report.
How to apply
The application process is straightforward. Each cluster will need to work with its providers to complete
and submit their tender using the template (Appendix 1). The application must be submitted by close
midday Friday 14 September 2012.
All applications will be judged on their merits by the selection panel. The panel will take into account:
That all proposal details have been completed
The range of providers involved
A realisitc approach to demonstrable improvement
How the project will promote improvement and innovation
Clear and measureable outcomes
Please also ensure you address:
How the project will support preparation for adulthood
How the project will challenge low expecations
Upon approval, a grant award will be issued comfirming the conditions for this fund. All projects must be
completed and outputs and returns returned to LSIS by 31st July 2013
Key success factors
For projects to be successful the following factors are key to success:
Each member of the cluster is supported by a senior manager in their organisation
The cluster will nominate a “lead” person –Cluster members will meet at least once a term
Clusters will work with the specialist adviser they have been allocated to ensure best outcomes
Each cluster will develop an action plan, a legacy plan and outputs relating to the project
This project is open to Special Schools, General FE colleges, Land based College, Tertiary Colleges,
Adult and Community Learning Provider Independent Specialist Colleges, Sixth Form Colleges, Work
based learning providers, Supported Employment Agencies, 3rd sector organisations.
The funds can be used flexibly, for example, forthe release of staff time or venue costs. Capital items
are not allowable. Your application should reference any support that you will engage for the prjoect. All
staff participating in the project must be employed by a privider. All funds should be committed within
the project schedule.
LSIS wants to ensure that funding reaches as many providers as possible. Therefore we may have to
prioritise or reject bids to take into account regional spread and equity across organisations.
Phase 2 Support and Aspiration: The next steps
Applications can be made by completing the attached form and sending by email to
siobahan.kilby @lsis.org.uk by close of business Friday 14 September 2012.
About your cluster
Please list the names and a contact
email for each of the providers
making up the cluster
Please state who is the “lead” provider in the cluster and give their full contact details
Lead Provider Name
Lead Provider Address
Lead Contact Name
Lead Contact Email Address
Lead Contact telephone Number
What region is your Cluster in?
Yorkshire & Humber
East of England
About your project:
Project summary (500 words max)
1. What are the main aims and intended outcomes of this project?
Please tell us what changes you hope to achieve as a result of your project and how
these will be sustained. Describe any innovative features of your project
2. What are the main acitivites that you intend to carry out as part of this project?
3. What are the expected impacts and benefits of the project for teachers, learners,
employers and the actual provider involved?
4. How do you envisage this project will challenge the low expectations around
learners with learning difficulties and/or disabilities?
5. What outputs do you envisage will be produced as a result of the project?
6. Please tell us how you intend to monitor and evaluate the project, including key
activities and dates. How will quality be assured?
7. How will you ensure that cluster member activites are managed and reported on
Please send completed Applications to email@example.com by midday Friday 14