Document Sample

This Strategy replaces a number of previous policies: SEN Policy, SEN Strategic
Statement and Strategy.

1.     Background and Legal Position

       1.1    Definition of special educational needs. The Education Act 1996
              states that a child has special educational needs if he/she has a
              learning difficulty which calls for special educational provision to be
              made for him/her. That is, provision which is additional to or
              different from that normally made for children of the same age (if
              under age two, any provision).

       1.2    Definition of disability. The SEN and Disability Act 2001 uses the
              definition of disability as set out in the Disability Discrimination Act
              1995. A person has a disability if he or she has a physical or mental
              impairment that has substantial and long term adverse effects on
              his or her ability to carry out normal day to day activities. A
              disabled child may or may not have special educational needs.

       1.3    The 1995 Disability Discrimination Act covers employment rights
              and non-educational services to the public. Educational provision
              was at the time only affected in the management of fund raising
              events, hiring of school accommodation and access to leisure time

       1.4    The Special Education Needs and Disability Act 2001 (SENDA)
              introduced new duties on LEAs and schools. The planning duty
              came into force in September 2002 and for written documentation
              April 2003. The LEA must produce an accessibility strategy and
              schools must produce accessibility plans. The LEA circulated an
              advice document to schools in relation to this duty

       1.5    The Act provides for OFSTED inspections of LEAs and schools to
              cover the discharge of their responsibilities to prepare, revise,
              review and implement their strategy and plans respectively.
              OFSTED and the Joint Area Reviews will be monitoring this duty
              through their inspections. The Secretary of State can intervene if
              an LEA or school is not complying with the duty.

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       1.6    The main duty within law is a requirement not to treat disabled
              pupils less favourably on grounds of disability and to take
              reasonable steps (reasonable adjustment) to avoid putting
              pupils with disabilities at a substantial disadvantage.

       1.7    Enshrined in the duty is an acceptance that progress will be
              incremental, and an expectation that organisations will be
              anticipatory. The plans therefore must show incremental steps
              towards an increasingly inclusive provision that anticipates future
              needs of disabled pupils for whom provision must be made. Plans
              should cover a three year period.

       1.8    Liverpool’s strategy also takes account of the Children Act 2004;
              each element of this strategy may be cross referenced to the five

       1.9    The Social Model of Disability says that disability is the loss or
              limitation of opportunity for people with impairments or long term
              medical conditions to take a full part in the life of the community on
              an equal level with others due to physical, organisational and
              attitudinal barriers.

2 Liverpool Children’s Services Strategic Aims

       2.1    In December 2002 Liverpool LEA reviewed and restated its
              strategic aims. These are broadly summarised in three clear
              strands - Attainment, Inclusion and Regeneration, (AIR). These
              aims are complementary and inter-linked. This document is set
              within this broader context.

       2.3    Liverpool City Council has a policy of developing inclusive
              provision and will comply with the SENDA largely through this
              Accessibility Strategy and the SEN Strategy: Policy into Practice.

       2.4    Definition of inclusion. For Liverpool inclusion in the context of
              education is concerned with the presence, participation and
              achievement of all children and young people where:

              Presence concerns where children are educated, and how reliably
              and punctually they attend.

              Participation related to the quality of their educational experiences
              and the services received by their parents and carers. And,

              Achievement concerns the outcomes of learning across the
              curriculum, both inside and outside the classroom.

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              The promotion of inclusive practice should be our aspiration for all
              students. However, it is also assumed that a particular emphasis is
              placed on those groups of learners who are at risk of
              marginalisation, exclusion or underachievement. This, of course,
              includes children with disabilities and/or special educational needs,
              but it also includes sick children, truants, pupils at risk of exclusion,
              drug abusers, pregnant schoolgirls, the children of asylum seekers,
              pupils for whom English is an additional language, and so on.

       2.4    The Liverpool Children’s Interagency Disability Strategy
              defines inclusion beyond the responsibility to educate as:

              The intentional building of relationships, understanding and
              acceptance within the individual’s own, and typically for children,
              local community

              An acceptance that every child has a fundamental right to belong
              to their local community , school and receive services, irrespective
              of their disability or learning difficulty but with a level of support
              appropriate to their needs

              Schools and communities striving to become more inclusive by
              welcoming children with an increasingly diverse range of needs in a
              supportive and safe environment

              An ongoing process of remodelling the community, not just for the
              benefit of the disabled child but for the benefit of every individual

              Inclusive Provision is open and accessible to all, and takes
              positive action in removing disabling barriers, so that disabled and
              non-disabled people can participate

       2.5    Liverpool is a large Authority with over 200 schools. The Authority
              accepts that initially there will be a range of understanding of and
              approaches to inclusion. However the Authority strives to foster its
              belief that inclusion offers the best possible environment for all
              pupils regardless of disability within the concept of social
              cohesiveness and a socially fair ethos which engenders equality of

       2.6    Liverpool has recognised that for a small minority of pupils with
              disabilities the mainstream education environment is not, currently,
              suitable and may not provide the best opportunity for these pupils to
              achieve their potential. Separate provision will be made for such

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              pupils in maintained and non maintained special schools or in
              resourced mainstream schools.

       2.7   The inclusion policy and strategies are equally relevant to other
             groups of pupils who may not necessarily have a special need or
             disability. These include ethnic minority pupils, pupils who do not
             speak English as a first language, children in public care, traveller
             children and children who are within families seeking asylum who
             are accommodated in Liverpool etc.

3.     SEN and Disability Strategy: Policy into Practice (Education)

       3.1    This document outlines how the Authority will fulfil duties related to
              the Code of Practice 2001, the Education Act (1996), the Children
              Act (1989) the SEN and Disability Act (2001) and the Children Act
              (2004). It summarises how we will implement the Council's strategy
              and policy related to SEN, disability and inclusion. It specifies a
              range of different types of provision for meeting the special needs
              of pupils and sets out the LEA policy and direction in relation to
              each. In effect these are progressive strategies towards inclusion.

       3.2    The Authority is employing a dual approach which simultaneously
              provides increasing resources and expertise in mainstream schools
              in order that their ability to ‘cater’ or ‘reasonably adjust’ for all pupils
              within their community is enhanced, whilst special school provision
              is gradually contracting as mainstream school capacity increases.
              The key challenge for special schools within this approach is to
              develop their role as centres of expertise, able to offer advice,
              support and outreach services to the mainstream sector. All funds
              saved from the reducing number of special school places are
              reinvested into the development of outreach support services and
              to develop resources in mainstream schools.

       3.3    In summary, the Authority will propose to continue to maintain a
              number of special schools, develop long term resourced provision
              for the most specialised needs (resourced plus), and resourced
              provision – some on a long term basis for lifelong disabilities and
              some for needs that all schools will eventually be able to meet. This
              latter will ensure provision for a transition period of five to ten after
              special schools have closed. This represents a continuum of
              provision to cover the continuum of need.

       3.4    Under these proposals special schools will be retained for severe
              learning difficulties (SLD), autism (ASD) and behaviour, emotional
              and social difficulties (BESD). Resourced plus provision has been
              established for physical difficulties (PD) and SLD (to join existing

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                 provision for speech, language and communication needs (SLCN),
                 hearing impairment (HI) and visual impairment (VI). Resourced
                 provision is being established on a permanent basis for ASD,
                 specific learning difficulties (Spld), speech, language and
                 communication needs (SLCN), SLD and assessment. Resourced
                 provision for complex learning difficulties (CLD) will be
                 redesignated for other types of need as requests for a place outside
                 a child’s local school diminish.

        3.5      Special schools are developing outreach services offering support
                 to mainstream schools to enable them to develop the knowledge,
                 skills and confidence to meet a wider range of needs and facilitate
                 our aim of inclusive schools.

        3.6      Central support services will be reviewed in the context of these
                 developments in provision and the development of Learning
                 Networks. Services will be coterminous with Learning Networks to
                 facilitate the development of multi-agency ‘teams’ that more
                 effectively meet the needs of pupils and schools within each
                 Network. Central services include the Neighbourhood Early years
                 Service, specialist teaching services, educational psychology
                 service, the central admin team, Foundation Stage SEN
                 consultants, Area SENCos (early years), Inclusion Development
                 Officers and Network Inclusion Co-ordinators. Services will develop
                 the Team Around the Child (TAC) model – they will work as part of
                 a ‘virtual’ multi-agency team in response to the needs of individual
                 children. They will develop a Person Centred Planning approach to
                 service delivery that will be driven by individual needs rather than
                 service systems.

        3.7      Special school outreach and multi-agency support are allocated by
                 multi-agency Provider Panels. The L.A. co-ordinates Early Years,
                 primary, Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4 multi-agency Provider
                 Panels. These ensure that pupils at school action plus (as defined
                 by the SEN Code of Practice) have equal access to additional
                 resources and that the input available for each pupil is moderated
                 across the city. The key aim of each panel is to assist schools in
                 maintaining mainstream education for each pupil referred.

   4.         Support for Inclusion in schools

        4.1       Dyslexia Friendly Schools
                  The Dyslexia Friendly School Scheme provides an
                 inclusive solution to the needs of pupils with dyslexia
                 across the key stages. The scheme involved initial investment
                 in training for all primary, secondary and special schools

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              over a three year period. The training aims to equip
              teaching and support staff with the necessary skills to
              identify and support pupils with dyslexia in the mainstream
              classroom. The Authority was the first to achieve Dyslexia Friendly
              LEA which means we are able to award schools full Dyslexia
              Friendly School status if they meet set criteria. We will work
              towards the achievement of Dyslexia Friendly Children’s Services.

       4.2    Health and Education joint policy on speech, language and
              communication (SLCN) and the Joint Professional Development
              Framework (JPDF)
              Health (speech therapy) and education have developed a joint
              policy and strategy on meeting the continuum of speech, language
              and communication needs of all Liverpool children. This is
              supported by the JPDF which comprises joint training for school
              staff and speech therapists across three levels (foundation,
              intermediate and advanced) and up to Masters level (accredited by
              Lancaster University).

       4.3    Inclusion Charter Mark
              This award is based on a self-review tool that covers inclusion in
              the widest sense. Following a verification visit based on a range of
              interviews, accreditation is awarded at Foundation, Intermediate or
              Advanced Level for a period of three years. Schools must
              demonstrate progress to retain their current level or progress to a
              higher level. This award is a key element in our strategy to develop
              inclusive schools and celebrate the achievements of schools in
              their ‘journey’.

       4.4    High Sights - Inclusion Module and Every Child Matters Module.
              These two self-review packages enable a school to examine their
              current policy and practice in an Ofsted style format. This enables
              them to plan for the development of inclusive provision and practice
              and to prepare for inspection.

       4.5    Children’s Services are devising shared training and development
              activities. A modular approach to developing core, generic and
              specialist training across all agencies and stakeholders will be
              developed. This will extend beyond Liverpool to our Regional

       4.6    In addition to Inclusion Development Officers and Network Inclusion
              Co-ordinators, the School Improvement Branch are able to engage
              a team of eight Advanced Skills Teachers (inclusion) who are able
              to demonstrate and support excellent classroom practice.

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5.     Capital Programme (schools)

       5.1    The Schools Asset Management Plan (AMP) is the main driver for
              the programme of capital investment in the city’s school buildings.
              In line with legislative requirements such as the SEND Act (2001),
              and guidance such as the Merseyside Code of Practice on Access
              and Mobility, the AMP has set out the inclusion agenda as an
              important strategic priority for the next five years.

       5.2    A variety of funding sources have been explored to support
              investment in this area, including the traditional routes of targeted
              funding bids to the DfES, extension of the City’s Schools PFI
              programme, the BSF programme and allocations within the
              Service’s own capital resources.

       5.3    The strategy has facilitated major works that have established
              resourced plus provision at Phoenix, a new build at Springwood
              Heath Primary School, and assessment accommodation at two
              primary schools.
              These will be joined by other projects, as funding opportunities
              (whether targeted bids, new PFI schemes, BSF or general Council
              resources) will be available each year to support the inclusion
              agenda. Projects identified - supported by robust School Access
              Plans and a strong rationale for the project being funded achieving
              the key aims of Attainment, Inclusion and Regeneration - will be
              considered for inclusion in the annual capital programme over the
              next five years. We aim to prioritise funding of special provision
              within a host mainstream school in order to co-locate special and
              mainstream schools and develop inclusive schools and

       5.4    More modest improvement works will also be funded through the
              Schools Access Initiative Fund: this annual grant allocation from
              DfES is specifically targeted to support the implementation of
              School Access Plans, making mainstream schools accessible to
              disabled pupils. Funding for voluntary aided schools is delegated by
              DfES to The Diocese and Archdiocese. As work is identified
              through the Access Audit and school access plans, allocations from
              this funding will be directed to the most demanding priorities as
              determined by the Authority’s strategic access plan (buildings).

6.     Links to other plans

              This Accessibility Strategy, with its focus on inclusion, is by its very
              nature central to a number of other plans and policy statements.
              The Local Education Plan (LEP), Behaviour Support Plan and SEN

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              Strategic Plan will be subsumed into the Children and Young
              People’s Plan so that one plan drives the activity of all agencies. A
              key aim of all these plans is partnership with all stakeholders,
              especially children, young people and their parents/carers. The
              document: SEN and Disability Strategy: Policy into Practice 2005
              provides the detail related to this strategy document and how it is
              proposed to implement it.

7.     Harmonisation of Children’s Services

       7.1    Within the Children and Young People’s Partnership structure there
              is a multi-agency/stakeholder Disability Strategy Group with a remit
              to deliver the outcomes set out in the Liverpool Children’s
              Interagency Disability Strategy, the Liverpool Children’s Plan and
              each of the five outcome areas for young people and their families -
              by promoting strategic cohesion and effective partnership working.
              Also, to ensure robust monitoring and evaluation that informs
              further planning and activity.

       7.2    The outcomes identified by the Liverpool Children’s Interagency
              Disability Strategy are based on Standard 8 of the National Service
              Framework (dept of Health) which articulates service outcomes
              coterminous with the five outcomes within Every Child Matters.

       7.3    The Liverpool Children’s Interagency Disability Strategy covers
              short term breaks, play and leisure provision; Person centred
              Planning; the Team Around the Child model of service delivery;
              continued development of the Neighbourhood Early Years Service;
              Integrated Commissioning Board (for out of city packages of
              provision); a collaborative database (within the context of the
              Common Assessment Framework); modernisation of children’s
              therapy services; the joint strategy for SLCN; workforce
              remodelling (including key/link worker role); joint training and
              development; Transition Service for disabled young people aged

       7.4    There is a joint funded Service Integration Manager to facilitate
              change across all agencies and ensure a dedicated role to lead on
              the Liverpool Children’s Interagency Disability Strategy.
              (Val Shanks-Pepper)

8.     Conclusion – Inclusive Liverpool Schools and Services

       8.1    The key feature of the Liverpool Accessibility Strategy is the multi-
              agency, stakeholder partnership that is developing joint policy and
              strategy. Working to one shared set of documentation at the

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              strategic and operational level ensures we are all literally ‘on the
              same page’ and children and their families/carers will more quickly
              experience a joined up service.

       8.2    Liverpool will continue to reduce the number of special schools it
              maintains as detailed in our ten year forecast. We aim to
              permanently retain special schools for autism (ASD); severe
              learning difficulties (SLD) and behaviour, social and emotional
              difficulties (BESD). We will support and resource all mainstream
              schools to become inclusive, whilst maintaining some resourced
              mainstream schools that will cater for complex needs.

       8.3    We will continue to reduce the number of statements of special
              educational need maintained as Provider Panels continue to
              manage support to pupils and schools build capacity to meet a
              wider range of needs.

       Key contacts:

       Lesley Wright 233 8261 and
       Kaye Gee 233 8132 and
       Val Shanks-Pepper 234 5059
       Inclusion Development Officers:
       1.     Tricia Gillon 233 8157
       2.     Siobhan Hartnett 233 2445
       3.     Paul Smith 233 2440

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