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Removing Barriers to Achievement –

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					Removing Barriers to Achievement –

The Government’s Strategy for SEN


       Overview of Progress

             2005/2006
                                               Table of Contents

Executive Summary .................................................................................................. 1
1     Introduction........................................................................................................ 3
2     Purpose of the Overview Report ........................................................................ 4
3     Removing Barriers to Achievement – National Overview ................................... 5
    3.1      Improving SEN advice and support to early years‟ settings ........................ 5
    3.2      Funding to support early intervention and inclusive practice ...................... 6
    3.3      Reducing bureaucracy ............................................................................... 8
    3.4      Strategic planning to promote effective inclusive learning ........................ 10
    3.5      Specialist SEN Advisory and Support Services ........................................ 11
    3.6      Transforming special schools ................................................................... 12
    3.7      Specialist provision for low incidence needs ............................................ 14
    3.8      Admissions, exclusions and pupils with BESD ......................................... 15
    3.9      Improving training and development opportunities ................................... 17
    3.10     Making better use of information .............................................................. 18
    3.11     Improving the use of benchmarking and performance monitoring data .... 19
    3.12     Developing approaches to monitoring and accountability ......................... 20
    3.13     Meeting statutory requirements ................................................................ 21
    3.14     Building the confidence of parents ........................................................... 23
    3.15     Engagement with Regional Partnerships ................................................. 24
4     Summary ......................................................................................................... 25
Executive Summary

This is the second Overview Report compiled from information gained through visits
to all Local Authorities (LAs) in England by members of the DfES National SEN
Adviser Team. It covers the period November 2005 to February 2006.

The Team found that the majority of LAs had made significant progress in
implementing Removing Barriers to Achievement, the Government‟s Strategy for
SEN. In particular:

   Strategic planning for SEN had improved. In most cases SEN / Inclusion Plans
    were linked to Children and Young Person‟s Plans, with particular focus on
    - the development of local specialist provision (both special schools and
        resourced provision within mainstream schools);
    - specialist advice, support and assessment in the context of developing
        Children‟s Services; and
    - the development of capacity and skills in the workforce.

   Many LAs were also planning to reduce reliance on out of area placements and
    were engaged in debate about local and regional cooperation to improve the
    quality of local provision

   Early intervention strategies were being promoted as were complementary
    approaches to building confidence in the SEN system. These had, in turn,
    reduced the need to rely on statements with the overall number maintained falling
    by 6.5% between January 2004 and January 2006

   LAs had made good progress in improving performance at completing statutory
    assessments within required timescales. In 2004-2005, 92% of assessments
    were completed on time where there were no exceptions, up from 86.7% in 2002-
    2003. Progress was particularly good in completing assessments where there
    were exceptions with 76.4% completed within the required timescales in 2004-
    2005, an improvement from 64.3% in 2002-2003

   Almost all LAs had reviewed their resource strategies for pupils with additional
    and special educational needs attending mainstream schools. Since the 2003-
    2004 financial year, the amount invested in mainstream schools had increased by
    some £291m or by approximately 25%. Over the same period, the amount
    retained centrally by LAs and devolved as cash sums by LAs to schools had
    decreased by approximately £64m or by 21%

   The use of data to monitor, track and evaluate the progress made by both
    individuals and groups of pupils had improved, as had the use of this data in
    discussions with schools about their own performance and effectiveness

   There was increased focus on developing the strategic management of SEN
    within schools through the progressive introduction of techniques such as
    Provision Mapping.

The following issues continued to challenge some LAs and remain a focus for future
development:

   Uniformly building the confidence of parents and reducing some of the relatively


                                          1
    high levels of SENDIST referrals seen in some LAs and regions

   Continuing to develop high quality, effective services to address behavioural
    issues, both to build capacity within schools and to ensure good PRU and other
    specialist provision for pupils who require alternative arrangements

   Embedding the use of data and strategic approaches to the management of
    provision for pupils with SEN in all schools

   Implementing and embedding new funding arrangements for mainstream schools
    in some LAs.




                                        2
1      Introduction

This is the second National Overview Report compiled from information gained
through visits to all local authorities in England by DfES SEN Advisers. It covers the
period November 2005 to February 2006. The first Overview Report covered the
period September 2004 to December 2004.

During the period between the first report and this current report, SEN National
Advisers have worked with LAs, on the basis of differentiated support, to progress
their work in implementing „Removing Barriers to Achievement‟, in liaison with
Children‟s Services Improvement Advisers and Regional Change Advisers.
Concurrently there have been significant changes for LAs focusing particularly on the
implementation of Children‟s Services and the embedding of the Every Child Matters
- Change for Children agenda. It is in this context that the second round of visits to
all LAs was undertaken and the discussions were, therefore, wider ranging than
those in the initial visits, looking at alignment of policies and initiatives with an
emphasis on outcomes for children.

Prior to meeting with relevant local authority officers, a wide range of data and
information on the local authority‟s performance was analysed.

An aide memoire was developed to guide discussions and this was sent to officers
prior to the meetings, pre-populated with the relevant data. However, there is
evidence that, whilst the reporting of data is now more accurate than in the past,
there are still some inconsistencies and inaccuracies in reporting that affect some
data, particularly Section 52. Furthermore, some of the data used in this regional
overview differs very slightly from that used in individual local authority reports. This
is because a number of the data sets used were uncorrected or first release
information and these have now been updated.

Every Local Authority in England has been visited as part of the collection of
information relating to this report.




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2      Purpose of the Overview Report

   To inform the DfES of further progress in relation to the implementation of
    „Removing Barriers To Achievement‟

   To ensure a holistic and co-ordinated response to local authorities by informing
    the Field Force of progress and issues

   To inform the work of Regional Partnerships, Government Offices and National
    Strategies and facilitate co-ordination within and across regions

   To facilitate networking between LAs and regions

   To provide data and information to facilitate benchmarking.




                                          4
3        Removing Barriers to Achievement – National Overview
3.1      Improving SEN advice and support to early years’ settings
3.1.1    Key developments re SEN and children under 5 in the last three years
     The majority of LAs reported progress with the integration of Early Years‟ Teams
      and resources. Several had used early years as a model or starting point for the
      integration of Children‟s Services across agencies, including Health.

     LAs reported significant progress with the development of Children‟s Centres,
      with many linking this work to progress with establishing Extended Schools. Most
      were likely to achieve core offer targets by 2010. Many LAs commented on the
      positive development of Portage Services, the Early Support Programme and the
      integration with other sources of advice and support for the families of children
      with disabilities.

     There was evidence that this integration and development of services had
      improved early identification, assessment and intervention although the impact on
      SEN statutory assessment was mixed. Whilst many LAs reported a decrease in
      requests for statutory assessment, a few had experienced an increase.
      Decreases were in many cases associated with increases in the level of
      resources and support being provided through normal arrangements, thus
      obviating the need for a statement to gain access to them.

     Some LAs had reported different understandings about the purpose of
      statements across groups of professionals and had identified the need to review
      guidance.

     Most LAs had reported a small, steady, but generally unquantified increase in the
      number of children identified with very complex learning and / or health related
      disabilities.

     All LAs had appointed area SENCOs, some had exceeded the 1:20 ratio
      although not all had managed to reach this target.

     LAs had developed the key worker role to act as a single point of contact and
      support them in obtaining appropriate services at the right time without
      duplication. Many LAs viewed this work in the Early Years as providing valuable
      insights into the development of Lead Professionals.


3.1.2 Impact of Early Support Programme
     Early Support Pilots had been received positively by stakeholders, particularly the
      use of key workers. Although little formal evaluation had taken place at the time
      of the meetings, LAs reported positive feedback from families.


     Whilst the Pathfinders had focussed on implementing “Together from the Start”,
      other LAs had also used ideas and materials contained within the ESP to provide
      practical resources to families. They had also explored how Children‟s Centres
      could become the main delivery mechanism for multidisciplinary work in the EYs
      focussed on locality based teams.


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     Some Pathfinder LAs reported concerns about the availability of resources
      beyond the pilot and the ability to extend practice into other areas.



3.2      Funding to support early intervention and inclusive practice


3.2.1    Progress with planned changes to mainstream funding and impact to
         date
     Planned expenditure on children with AEN / SEN in mainstream schools in 2005-
      2006 was £225 per funded pupil in England. There was considerable variation
      between LAs, as well as Government Office Regions, with a range from £184 per
      funded pupil (Eastern Region) to £284 (London Region). An average of £32 per
      funded pupil was retained by LAs as cash resources to devolve to schools to
      support some pupils with very complex needs. Many of these cases related to
      pupils with complex disabilities, often with associated healthcare needs and
      requirements for medical intervention.

     Expressed as a percentage of the ISB, notional AEN / SEN planned expenditure
      accounted for 6.8% of the cash resources delegated for children attending
      mainstream schools in England. Between GO Regions there was a range from
      6.1% in the East and North West to 7.8% in London.

     Most LAs in England have reviewed funding arrangements for AEN / SEN in
      mainstream schools since 2004. A majority had made at least some changes to
      arrangements in line with Guidance issued by the DfES.

     The following table shows that since 2003-2004, LAs have significantly increased
      the total amount of AEN/ SEN funding to mainstream schools. In the financial
      year 2005-2006, a total of £1,449m was delegated to mainstream schools to
      meet the needs of children with AEN and SEN.


                             2003-04                 2004-05          2005-06
 Planned expenditure         £1,158m                 £1,266m          £1,449m
 % increase                  n/a                     +9.30%           +18.46%
Notional SEN 2005-06 – The AEN / SEN budget         delegated to mainstream schools –
Source S52

     Over the same period of time, there has been a reduction in the level of
      resources centrally retained by local authorities for individual children with and
      without statements:

                                 2003-04             2004-05         2005-06
  Planned expenditure            £307m               £277m           £243m
  % increase                     n/a                 -9.80%          -12.37%
Individually assigned resources devolved by LA      from schools budget. Source S52
(lines 1.2.1 and 1.2.2)




                                            6
             AEN/ SEN resources delegated to                   AEN/ SEN resources centrally retained for
                mainstream schools (£m)                           individual children with SEN (£m)

    £1,600                                              £350
    £1,400                                              £300
    £1,200
                                                        £250
    £1,000
                                                        £200
      £800
      £600                                              £150
      £400                                              £100
      £200                                              £50
        £0                                               £0
               2003-04      2004-05       2005-06                   2003-04        2004-05       2005-06




     In most cases, LAs reported that new arrangements had been introduced
      smoothly, supported by dissemination events, careful transition arrangements
      and information aimed at both parents and schools. Whilst changes had
      generally been well received, some difficulties were reported by a minority of LAs
      and some schools.

     Many LAs reported that requests for statutory assessment for pupils with high
      incidence needs had reduced.

     A small number of LAs, which had introduced change two or more years ago, had
      reported the need to remind some schools of the arrangements, the principles
      behind them and the respective responsibilities of schools and LA services.

3.2.2        Plans to develop cluster funding
     At the time visits were made, many LAs were considering the delegation /
      devolution of financial resources to groups (clusters) of schools in order to
      undertake a broader range of SEN activities. In some LAs, initial thinking was
      linked to the development of other Children‟s Services delivery mechanisms.
      Most LAs were adopting a cautious approach and waiting for funding changes to
      embed before introducing further change.

     Where cluster funding had taken place or was being considered, identified
      funding included cash resources for low incidence needs, pupils at risk,
      resources for some services previously managed centrally and schools pooling
      resources previously delegated.

     Developing clustering arrangements for pupils with behavioural difficulties, or at
      risk of exclusion, was the area most generally being considered, with funding
      delegated to Area or District Panels to manage resources on behalf of a group of
      schools. This approach was also viewed as reinforcing local ownership for pupils
      through collaboration / collaboratives.

     In one LA, where clustering was well developed, nine Area Panels had the
      responsibility for managing delegated resources passed back to them by schools
      and were beginning to be pro-active as commissioners of a range of services. In
      another authority work was taking place to explore a clustering approach to
      services offered by extended schools, thereby enabling schools to offer a range
      of services delivered through a number of different locations. More widely
      developed was the delegation of resources to special schools through
      commissioning arrangements to provide more coherent specialist expertise



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      across the mainstream sector.



3.3      Reducing bureaucracy


3.3.1    Progress in reducing reliance on statements
     Between 2003 and 2006, for England as a whole, there was an overall reduction
      of 16% in the total number of new statements issued.


     103/150 (69%) of all LAs in England saw either a decrease, or no increase, in the
      number of new statements issued.




                        Numbers of new statements issued

         30,000
         29,000
         28,000
         27,000
         26,000
         25,000
         24,000
         23,000
         22,000
         21,000
                        2003/4                  2004/5              2005/6



 Total Numbers of Statements of SEN
1999      2000       2001       2002            2003      2004       2005      2006
255,580 259,520 264,300 264,850                 263,680   261,070    253,220   244,400




                                            8
                    Total Number of Statements 1999-2006

        270,000
        265,000
        260,000
        255,000
        250,000
        245,000
        240,000
        235,000
        230,000
                  1998/9 1999/00 2000/1 2001/2 2002/3 2003/4 2004/5 2005/6



   Since reaching a peak in 2001-2002, there has been a gradual fall in the total
    number of children and young people with statements. The reduction has been
    particularly pronounced since the introduction of Removing Barriers to
    Achievement.

   The proportion of the 0-19 population holding statements has fallen from a peak
    of 2.15% in 2002, to 2.13% in 2003 with a significant drop in 2005 to 2.05%.
    Provisional indicates that this trend has been maintained with an estimated
    1.98% of the 0-19 population holding statements as of January 2006.

3.3.2   Progress in implementing holistic planning and reducing reliance on
        IEPs
   LAs reported mixed progress in reducing reliance on IEPs. Many had provided
    some professional development and support for the introduction of provision
    mapping and management approaches.              These were linked to the
    implementation of the Primary National Strategies „Leading on Inclusion‟
    materials.

   Many LAs were in a period of transition from IEPs to Provision Mapping. They
    were not sufficiently confident in advising schools to replace IEPs with alternative
    forms of planning and recording. Reasons cited included continuing expectations
    of Ofsted and SENDIST.

   The majority of LAs indicated that further work would be required to embed
    holistic planning and to further reduce reliance on IEPs. It was also felt that
    guidance from the DfES would be helpful. In addition, some LAs noted that it
    could be difficult to persuade parents that IEPs are not always necessary.

   Some LAs viewed the development of personalised learning as the key to
    improving the quality of teaching and learning for all, thereby reducing reliance on
    IEPs.

3.3.3   Progress in the implementation of electronic communication
   The majority of LAs reported that they had made appropriate web and intranet
    arrangements to improve electronic communication with schools. In several LAs,
    more detailed materials, including SENCO handbooks and reference materials,


                                           9
      were available on the web and electronic communication with schools was
      encouraged. In most cases, key forms and guidance were also available
      electronically.

     A minority of LAs reported that electronic communication with schools could be
      difficult. Similarly, a small number indicated that they had work to do to bring
      web-sites up to best practice standards. SENCO access to e-communication
      was reported to be an issue for some.


3.4       Strategic planning to promote effective inclusive learning
     In 2005-2006, planned central expenditure on LA functions in relation to SEN (i.e
      non schools budget items including assessments, Parent Partnership and
      Monitoring) amounted to £34 per funded pupil in England. The range between
      regions was from £28 to £50.

3.4.1     Current strategic priorities
     In addition to developments particular to individual LAs, strategic priorities
      typically included:

      -   Implementation of/embedding change in funding arrangements for
          mainstream schools
      -   Improving provision for pupils with low incidence needs and, in particular,
          language and communication difficulties together with autistic spectrum
          disorders
      -   Developing/building new specialist resourced provision within mainstream
          schools
      -   Planning for/developing/introducing new multi-agency support arrangements
          in the context of integrated Children‟s Services
      -   The development of special schools as part of the strategic development of
          local specialist provision (often linked to BSF) and, in many cases, of
          specialist outreach and support services. In a number of LAs this has also
          been linked to reducing reliance on out of area placements
      -   The development of capacity, preventative strategies, support services and
          provision for pupils with behavioural emotional and social difficulties
      -   Improving strategic planning in schools, particularly by SENCOs, with a focus
          on the use of data and evaluation of outcomes.

3.4.2 Alignment of SEN / Inclusion Strategy with CYPP and ECM
     At the time visits were made, almost all LAs had appointed a Director of
      Children‟s Services and had started at least initial thinking on improving the
      integration of planning and service delivery. The majority of LAs were in the
      process of developing the single CYPP.

     The pace of change in some LAs has been rapid with significant structural
      reorganisation. Typically, this has led to the creation of integrated services for
      children with disabilities with SEN statutory provision sitting alongside other
      elements of children‟s social care provision. In most LAs these changes to
      management arrangements have yet to impact significantly at community level
      although there are already some excellent examples of operational integration
      and collaboration.




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     In a number of discussions with LAs, the risk of separation of SEN / inclusion
      services from those responsible for school improvement was raised. In most
      cases there were clear arrangements to ensure continuing operational
      cooperation and coordination.

     Most LAs were able to demonstrate clear strategic priorities for the future. In
      many cases, one or two headline priorities had been included in the CYPP.
      These were being seen as very high level and not detailed. Some LAs had
      determined to continue to have an SEN / Inclusion Plan whilst others were
      supporting the CYPP with more detailed service plans.

     In almost all cases, there was evidence of good consultation with stakeholders
      regarding strategic priorities.

     There was evidence of an improved focus on the needs of children and their
      families within the context of the Five Outcome Framework.



3.5      Specialist SEN Advisory and Support Services
     Planned expenditure on centrally retained support services in 2005-2006 was
      £22 per funded pupil in England with a range from £12 to £34 per pupil.

3.5.1    Developments in role / line management of support services
     Typically, LAs have continued to employ or commission support teams / staff
      skilled in working with children with:
      - Speech, language and communication disorders
      - Social, Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties (often linked to PRU provision)
      - Sensory impairments
      - Autistic Spectrum Disorders.

     In some cases there are also small teams that focus on children with significant
      cognitive and learning disabilities.

     There are now few LAs with large central support services.

     When compared with 2004-2005, there was greater emphasis on the school
      improvement / capacity building elements of provision with improved use of data
      to track and evaluate pupil progress.

     Many BESD services have now been integrated or aligned with PRU provision,
      National Strategies‟ Behaviour and Attendance Advisers and, in a few examples,
      with special school provision.

3.5.2    Role of LAs in commissioning services
     The SEN Adviser Team found some evidence of groups of schools starting to
      commission specialist services for themselves. In addition, several LAs were
      developing commissioning arrangements with both special and mainstream
      schools for the delivery of aspects of specialist support, advice and training.

     When compared with 2004-2005, LAs were more aware of the need to have clear
      commissioning arrangements with schools and other providers of services.


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     Commissioning in the context of integrated Children‟s Services was not well
      developed, but many LAs had agreed strategic arrangements and protocols.


3.5.3 Examples of innovative arrangements where schools pool budgets or
specialist resources
     There were few well-developed examples, although several LAs envisaged that
      more would develop in the context of locality planning and commissioning
      arrangements for Children‟s Services.

     Examples of existing pooling arrangements included:
      - A secondary school with specialist resources, commissioned by an LA to
         provide outreach advice and training
      - Pooling of resources between schools to purchase additional speech and
         language therapy support
      - Purchase of CAMH services to provide supervision support for all senior staff
         working with pupils with significant BESD
      - Time allocated by LA specialist support services being pooled between
         clusters of schools
      - The employment of a CAMH worker to support a group of schools
      - Schools pooling resources to provide flexible staffing to support children
         across a cluster of schools
      - Schools pooling resources to provide a 14-19 co-ordinator of alternative
         curriculum pathways and courses
      - Multi-agency teams to co-ordinate locally based therapeutic and social care
         programmes.

     Several LAs discussed the opportunities that are envisaged around the
      development of Extended Schools and pooled budgets.



3.6      Transforming special schools
     The proportion of pupils placed in maintained special schools has remained
      broadly static for the last four years. Figures for England are as follows:

2002                    2003           2004             2005                2006
1.16%                   1.22%          1.20%            1.19%               1.18%


                        Percentage of C&YP placed in special schools

                1.40%
                1.20%
                1.00%
                0.80%

                0.60%
                0.40%
                0.20%
                0.00%
                         2001-02   2002-03    2003-04   2004-05   2005-06




                                             12
The % of pupils aged 5-15 placed in maintained special schools. Source: SEN

   Planned expenditure in 2005-2006 on maintained special schools in England
    amounted to £162 per funded pupil. The range between regions was from £129
    to £195.

3.6.1   Development of specialist outreach services / flexible placements and
        alignment with LAs’ Strategies
   In 2005, relatively few LAs had focused on the transformation agenda for special
    schools, including the development of outreach services which, where they
    existed, were usually ad hoc. This has now changed with many LAs reporting the
    development of outreach provision, usually linked to strategic planning at LA
    level.

   In a growing number of LAs, outreach services were managed through clear
    commissioning agreements. Although not universal, most LAs reported an
    understanding of the need to develop clear commissioning arrangements in the
    context of the development of Children‟s Services.

   Many LAs had supported the development of good partnerships and had
    encouraged schools and specialist support services to work together to develop
    complementary, but different, activities and services.        A few LAs had
    commissioned schools to provide most specialist support services.

   Clarity about funding arrangements for special schools had improved in several
    LAs where reviews had taken place. In a growing number of LAs, there are clear
    funding streams behind outreach services from special schools.

3.6.2   Success criteria – measurements of impact
   This was still an area for development in most LAs at the time visits were made.
    Whilst some schools were clearly encouraged to evaluate the impact of their work
    on pupil progress, this practice was not universal. Outreach services from
    special schools and specialist units did not, in most cases, have a school
    improvement focus.

3.6.3   Progress with any planned re-organisation
   The majority of LAs reported that the development and reorganisation of special
    schools was a key focus of their work. Some LAs were using their involvement in
    the first waves of the Building Schools for the Future programme to radically
    develop and improve provision, often on co-located premises.

   Most LAs did not report plans to reduce the overall number of pupils attending
    special schools although many commented that places were being used for
    children with complex needs and that most moderate needs were being met in
    mainstream schools. Furthermore, many LAs were reporting that places at
    special schools were being used more flexibly than had hitherto been the case.

   Planned reorganisation usually considered the needs of pupils placed out of area
    with a clear commitment to reduce reliance on such placements over time.

   Many LAs reported on the development of specialist resourced provision within



                                        13
      mainstream schools. Most new provision was designed to meet the needs of
      pupils with Autistic Spectrum Disorders or Behavioural, Emotional and Social
      Difficulties.

     Many LAs commented that managing change can be particularly challenging.
      Several provided excellent examples of open discussion and consultation leading
      to agreement and change. However, even in these examples, there were usually
      some stakeholders who were reported to be very resistant to any change to
      school role and function.

3.7       Specialist provision for low incidence needs
3.7.1     Current use of Independent / non-maintained schools and multi-agency
          involvement
     The number of children placed at independent and non maintained special
      schools has been broadly static. The number of pupils with statements placed at
      such schools for the last three years were as follows:

2004                            2005                           2006

11,654                          11,560                         11,530*

Number of pupils with statements placed at Independent and Non-Maintained
Special Schools. Source: Form 2 January 2004, 2005, 2006. Note: This figure is
provisional and may be subject to change
   .
 Many LAs reported that, with the development of combined Children‟s Services
   and Corporate Parenting many children, previously funded through social care
   budgets, were now being funded from the Schools‟ Budget as well. Thus, LA
   success at controlling placements may be more significant than the raw figures
   suggest.

     Planned expenditure for the financial year 2005–2006 was the equivalent of £64
      per funded pupil in England with a regional range from £38 per funded pupil to
      £106. Overall, the rate of increase in planned expenditure has declined from a
      peak of 27.44% in 2003-2004 to 8.97% this year.

3.7.2     Developments in regional / sub-regional commissioning
     Work is in progress to develop regional / sub regional commissioning
      arrangements. Examples include:

      -   In one region, a Regional Commissioning Unit is being developed by the
          Partnership. It is still in its infancy but there is a clear steer to focus on the
          purchase of foster placements and to determine the future commissioning of
          specialist placements.
      -   LAs in another region, through the Regional Partnership, have a long
          established arrangement to work together to manage placements at
          Independent and Non-Maintained Special Schools. These arrangements are
          now being developed to embrace Children‟s Social Care and to focus on
          strategic commissioning rather than the more limited functions to date of
          purchasing and quality control.
      -   In a third region, the Association of Directors of Children‟s Services is
          currently working to develop Regional Commissioning arrangements that will


                                             14
         cover both Education and Children‟s Social Care.

3.7.3    Use and usefulness of National Contract
     Almost all LAs reported that they made use of the contract, but there were mixed
      views about its effectiveness. A number of LAs had been concerned that the
      current contract did not meet social care requirements.

     Whilst the majority of LAs welcomed the contract, there was less consensus on
      its impact in controlling the level of fee increases. Some LAs reported that
      schools continued to address LAs individually about fee increases and that there
      was evidence of the schools increasingly requesting additional individual support
      in addition to the fee increases. Other LAs felt that regional arrangements,
      particularly where these had been established for some time, had resulted in
      better control of costs.

3.7.4    Progress in joint agency networks / protocols / joint panels / pooled
         budgets
     Almost all LAs reported that placements at independent and non-maintained
      special schools were considered by joint service panels. In many cases they
      were supported by clear protocols.

     Many LAs also noted that joint panels were intended to have a problem-solving
      remit and were not there merely to confirm placement suggestions.

     Generally, budgets had not been pooled although they were increasingly aligned.

     A majority of LAs commented on the on-going challenge of securing, or
      maintaining, investment from health services.

     There was evidence that arrangements for making decisions had improved since
      2005. In some cases, LAs had used data and information to plan for the
      development of local provision, sometimes relating to respite and other social
      care provision, to avoid out of area placements. However, these examples were
      by no means universal.

     Whilst budgets were generally well managed, monitored and under control (an
      improvement since 2004), not all LAs were predicting the impact of current
      decisions on the budget in subsequent years.
3.7.5    Section 85 notification of children accommodated
     The majority of LAs reported that these requirements were met. Indeed, all felt
      this to be the case for new placements, given the progress with joint agency
      panels, but a minority felt the need to check on a few placements made some
      time ago or to review their procedures.

     Few LAs reported that they continued to make residential placements for purely
      educational reasons other than in very exceptional circumstances or as a result
      of a SENDIST decision.

3.8      Admissions, exclusions and pupils with BESD
3.8.1    Local Admissions Forum arrangements to prioritise vulnerable children



                                           15
        within admissions        criteria    and    information     to    demonstrate
        effectiveness.
   „Hard to Place Protocols‟ were in place or were subject to consultation in almost
    all LAs. In the majority of LAs agreement had been reached and arrangements
    were reported to be working smoothly. Most protocols relied upon the fair and
    open distribution of pupils between schools.

   Some LAs reported difficulties gaining full agreement from some schools. Where
    schools sought to avoid admission, some authorities had successfully referred
    this to the Adjudicator and schools had been ordered to comply.

   In most LAs, monthly or even weekly panels had been established to monitor and
    manage the admission and placement of excluded and otherwise vulnerable
    pupils. Many of these panels included head teachers.

   Protocols varied in the extent to which they covered pupils with SEN. In some
    LAs, pupils with SEN were deemed to be covered by other admissions and
    statutory arrangements, whilst in others the protocols had been specifically
    extended to include pupils with SEN. There were some examples where
    Admissions‟ Forums monitored admissions of pupils with SEN and made
    information available to schools. Generally, such approaches were reported to
    be helpful and had improved transparency.

3.8.2   Tracking systems for educational placements of individual pupils
   The majority of LAs had tracking systems in place, although a few were still under
    development or were not considered to be sufficiently robust. Most used
    electronic systems but a few were manual.

   Many LAs reported that they had a group which met on a regular basis to track
    children who were regarded as vulnerable. The meetings identified those young
    people who were at risk of being out of the education system for whatever reason
    and identified appropriate actions.

3.8.3   Implementation of National Programme for Specialist Leaders in
        Behaviour and Attendance
   Engagement with this programme varied. Some LAs were actively providing
    support for those that attended and reported the programme to be very effective.
    The programme was reported to be enabling more in-depth knowledge to be
    acquired through reading and discussion, with relevant modules and sufficient
    choice to accommodate the varied professional backgrounds of course members.

   On the other hand, a few LAs either did not know of the programme or had
    actively decided not to support it. Several LAs reported lack of clarity in terms of
    the staff targeted to take part. Some LAs felt that more support was required
    than that available.

3.8.4   The work of Behaviour and Attendance Consultants in schools
   LAs commented particularly positively on the launch and impact of the Primary
    SEAL materials. Those that had adopted a systemic „whole school‟ approach to
    implementation had found the programme to be particularly successful. Less
    impact was reported where schools had focused on individual pupils.


                                            16
     In most LAs, Secondary Behaviour and Attendance Consultants had been linked
      to, or integrated with, other aspects of behaviour support. Many LAs had
      targeted the work of consultants on a few poorly performing schools in terms of
      exclusions and attendance, sometimes with considerable success. The use of
      data to target intervention had improved over the last twelve months and most
      LAs reported progress where consultants had been involved.

     An important aspect of the Consultants‟ work for many LAs was reported to be in
      supporting schools‟ Lead Behaviour Professionals. A number of LAs reported
      that Lead Behaviour Professionals were now in place in every secondary school.

     A few LAs reported that services were still too fragmented. A number of these
      were either planning or had carried out reviews to bring greater cohesion to
      support and intervention with schools.

3.9      Improving training and development opportunities
3.9.1    Systems whereby LAs audit schools’ CPD needs re SEN and inclusion
     Arrangements for auditing CPD needs varied but typically included:
      - End of course evaluations
      - Surveys of all schools (head teachers and SENCOs)
      - Stakeholder working groups to advise on professional development
          requirements
      - The use of data.

     In addition to the above, most LAs had identified training activities to address
      particular priorities. These typically included:
      - Provision mapping / management
      - Working with children with autism
      - Language and communication difficulties
      - The use and moderation of P Scales
      - Implementation of Primary National Strategies Waves of Intervention
          approach.

3.9.2    Identification of schools with SEN / inclusion skills shortfall and
         strategies to address the situation
     In most LAs, SEN and Inclusion issues were identified and addressed as an
      integral part of school improvement. Skills shortfalls in relation to SEN and
      Inclusion were identified and addressed both through knowledge from School
      Advisers and Specialist Support Services and through the LAs‟ formal support
      and challenge process for schools.

     In many LAs there was a centralised review process where training needs were
      discussed and reviewed in the light of school performance and progress.

     Some LAs were reviewing arrangements to ensure more systematic approaches.

3.9.3    Targeted support for SENCOs
     Most LAs reported targeted support for SENCOs. Typically this included regular,
      often termly, network or cluster meetings as well as a range of professional
      development activities and, in many cases, annual conferences.


                                          17
   Many LAs offered courses for SENCOs at a number of levels with recognition that
    those new to the role could require basic induction, training and information.

   Most LAs reported that the basic information and forms that SENCOs required
    were available on the web. Some LAs had also produced very comprehensive
    handbooks.

3.10   Making better use of information on how well children with SEN
       and other vulnerable groups of learners are progressing

               Reading                    Maths
               2004       2005     2006 2004          2005     2006
               15         15       16     10          9        10
The percentage of pupils not achieving Level 2 or above in KS1. Source: DfES
performance and attainment tables

                          English        Maths
                          2004 2005 2004            2005
                          6.9% 6.3% 6.1%            5.8%
Percentage of children not achieving L3 in English and Maths at the end of KS2

                 2003/04                 2004/05
                 48.20                   50.22
BVPI 50: % of young people leaving care aged 16 or over with at least one GCSE at
grade A* to G or GNVQ. Source: Audit Commission
3.10.1 Strategies to improve educational outcomes for LAC and overall
       monitoring of their attainment at all Key Stages
   The education of Children Looked After was a high priority for all LAs and many
    reported significant progress. Typically:
    - Joint agency teams had been formed, sometimes virtual but frequently newly
       integrated multi-professional teams
    - Tracking had been improved, with most LAs confident that they knew about
       arrangements for individual pupils
    - Welfare Call or alternative arrangements were in place to check on
       attendance
    - Additional study support was provided to vulnerable students and, more
       generally, prior to public examinations
    - There was focus on transitions
    - Data on progress had been developed and was acted upon
    - Staff had been engaged to follow up pupils placed out of area and to ensure
       appropriate arrangements for them.

   Several LAs reported that they had undertaken training programmes for foster
    carers to ensure that they fully understood the importance of education,
    additional support available as well as their vital roles and responsibilities in this
    respect.

   Several LAs commented on their arrangements to involve and report to Elected
    Members, including the use of sub-groups to maintain particular interest and



                                           18
    oversight of the education and social care needs of Children Looked After.

3.10.2 Data held on children working at P Levels and quality assurance
       arrangements
   This is another area where there has been considerable progress and
    development over the last year. Professional development had been provided in
    many LAs to support the use of P Scales with appropriate pupils. Typically, this
    included dissemination of exemplification materials. Training was often supported
    by special schools or, in a few cases, commissioned from them.

   Many, but not all, LAs had collected P Level data from schools and there was
    general support for the mandatory collection in the future. Several LAs described
    relatively sophisticated systems for P scale collection and management which
    allowed comparative information to be generated within the LA. However,
    moderation and sample size meant that the information had to be treated with
    caution.

3.10.3 Using achievement and attainment data to monitor progress and
       evaluate the effectiveness of provision
   LAs generally reported that they provided their special schools, units and
    mainstream schools with a range of data to track pupil progress and
    achievements. Where pupils were operating at the level of national curriculum
    level descriptors then the data was linked to self evaluation and the provision of
    information through external sources, such as PANDAs. Where pupils were
    operating outside this range then schools were encouraged to use more
    appropriate datasets to track pupil progress and achievement. This included P
    Scales, PIVATs and ASDAN. Again this data was being linked to self evaluation.

   Understanding of the Pupil Achievement Tracker had improved although many
    commented on the difficulty of using it. Many LAs expected to support the use of
    RAISEonline when introduced later in 2006.

   Several LAs commented on schools being data rich but with some SENCOs
    needing to further develop skills to analyse and use it effectively. This was seen
    as a priority area for professional development and support.

3.11   Improving the use of benchmarking and performance monitoring
       data
3.11.1 Use made of NPF and other relevant data sets to inform policy and
       strategy
   Most LAs were making use of the NPF and had found it to be useful. Some LAs
    reported increasing use being made of the data set in the development of policy.
    Where major reorganisation was being considered there was evidence of the
    data being used to inform planning.

   A few LAs reported that they did not find the NPF easy to use.

   The data sets used by the SEN Advisers to support discussion were found to be
    helpful and LAs indicated that they would find it helpful to have all these included
    within the NPF.



                                          19
3.11.2 LAs’ views re improvements in performance and benchmarking and
       overall usefulness
   Many LAs reported on the helpfulness of the increased accessibility of the data
    and the ability to customise it to local circumstances.

   Several LAs noted that data can be out of date and that the site would benefit
    from being updated more regularly.

   Some LAs suggested that some of the fields should be revised as the continued
    use of data on pupils with statements was problematic, particularly where a LA
    had been successful in reducing the number it maintained.

   Several LAs felt that there should be greater emphasis on pupil outcomes. This
    would necessitate the collection of P scale data. Some recommended the
    development of links between the data held on the NPF and the collection of data
    through PLASC.

3.12   Developing approaches to monitoring and accountability
3.12.1 Current processes and progress for ensuring appropriate monitoring
       and accountability systems
   As noted above, the use of data to monitor performance had improved when
    compared with 2004-2005 and there was much more evidence of the targeting of
    support and intervention towards schools in need.

   Most LAs had integrated monitoring into the wider arrangements for supporting
    school effectiveness and improvement. Whilst it was still seen as an area for
    development in a few, a clear majority of LAs were confident in the systems that
    were in place. There were some examples of monitoring through separate SEN
    audit and concerns about the attendant bureaucratic burden were discussed
    where this was the case.

   Many LAs helpfully provided schools with additional benchmarking data on, for
    example, the number / proportion of children identified as having SEN at both
    pre-statutory and statutory stages.

3.12.2 Alignment with school evaluation and work of SIPs
   Self-evaluation by schools was reported to be at the heart of LA monitoring
    arrangements with the Ofsted SEF seen as a core document.

   Several LAs had developed supplementary materials to help schools to complete
    the SEN / inclusion aspects of their SEF and to help them reflect on and improve
    their own practice.

   SIPs had not been introduced into the majority of LAs at the time visits were
    made. Most were confident that arrangements had been, or were being made, to
    ensure appropriate briefing, availability of data and that SEN / inclusion issues
    would receive appropriate focus.




                                         20
3.12.3 Links between SEN and SIS and arrangements for support and challenge
       to schools where necessary
   SEN / Inclusion Leaders in the majority of LAs were reported to be included in the
    group that monitors and reviews school performance.

   A few LAs reported some risk that cohesion might be difficult to maintain during
    reorganisation to Children‟s Services. In several LAs, the lead for SEN had been
    integrated with other services for children with disabilities and had been
    separated from the group of staff focused on schools.

   Generally, LAs were taking steps to ensure that reorganisation did not lead to any
    deterioration in their arrangements for support and challenge.

3.13    Meeting statutory requirements


                  2000-01 2001-02 2002-03 2003-04 2004-05
                  82.4        85.1        86.7       88.6      92.0
BVPI 43a - % of statements completed within 18 weeks (without exceptions)


                   BVPI 43a - % of statements drafted in
                     18 weeks (without exceptions)

             94.0%
             92.0%
             90.0%
             88.0%
             86.0%
             84.0%
             82.0%
             80.0%
             78.0%
             76.0%
                         2000-01     2001-02    2002-03   2003-04   2004-05



                2000-01 2001-02 2002-03 2003-04 2004-05
                57.9         61.6    64.3       67.5       76.4
       BVPI 43ba - % of statements completed within 18 weeks (with exceptions)




                                               21
                  BVPI 43b - % of statements drafted in
                      18 weeks (with exceptions)

             90.0%
             80.0%
             70.0%
             60.0%
             50.0%
             40.0%
             30.0%
             20.0%
             10.0%
              0.0%
                      2000-01   2001-02    2002-03   2003-04   2004-05




3.13.1 Performance in completing statutory assessments and future targets
   There has been year-on-year improvement for the past five years. In 2004-2005,
    92.0% of all statutory assessments (where there were no exceptions), were
    completed within the required timescales. Some 49 LAs (33%) achieved 100%
    performance, with only five authorities (3.3%) performing below 50%.

   Similar progress has been made in respect of assessments where there are
    exceptions with 76.4% completed on time. 9 (6%) achieved 100% performance
    in 2004-2005, with only twelve authorities (8%) performing below 50%.

   Overall, the rate on both measures has increased significantly since the
    introduction of RBA.

3.13.2 Effectiveness of working arrangements with Health
   There was clear evidence that the integration of children‟s services and the new
    Joint Area Review inspection arrangements had improved the working
    arrangements between health and education staff and that significant progress
    had been made in some LAs. There was some evidence of improvements in
    therapy provision and/or CAMH services in a number of areas.

   At the same time, concerns were also raised regarding the impact of budgetary
    constraints on services with evidence of disinvestment in some LAs.

   Improved working arrangements with Health were reported to underpin
    improvements in achieving the required timescales for BVPI 43b.

3.13.3 Work in progress to review current Access Strategies (LAs) and Access
       Plans (schools) including implementation of DDA 2005
   Almost all LAs were aware of the requirement to review and update Access
    Strategies and were confident of meeting the April 2006 deadline. A minority had
    begun the process of review but were anticipating some delay.

   The majority of LAs were expecting School Access Plans to serve a double duty
    and to address the DDA 2005 requirements. Many, but not all, had provided
    guidance and templates to schools to help them complete their plans. Some LAs



                                          22
    had, or were planning to have, dissemination meetings for head teachers,
    governors and SENCOs.

   Some LAs had set up working groups to oversee the Access Strategy and the
    Team saw some good examples of information for parents which gave
    information on access to schools for pupils with a variety of disabilities.

   Many LAs had arrangements in place to monitor Access Plans and compliance
    with DDA requirements. These were usually through school improvement
    services or other universal arrangements to monitor equalities issues.

3.13.4 Information requirements
   The requirements of the Information Regulations were met by almost all LAs with
    information available on the web. Some LAs indicated that the information would
    need to be updated in the light of changes to funding arrangements.

   A small number of LAs reported that they were currently reviewing and updating
    their web sites in order to improve electronic communication with schools and
    other stakeholders and to ensure that their web sites became examples of best
    practice.

3.14   Building the confidence of parents
2001- 2002             2002-2003               2003-2004               2004-2005
              Rate                                                                  Rate
              per      No          Rate per                 Rate per                per
No appeals    10000    appeals     10000       No appeals   10000      No appeals   10000
2914          3.97     3273        4.37        3353         4.32       3215         4.18
Appeals to the SEN and Disability Tribunal- Source: SENDIST Annual Report 2005

   Planned expenditure on Parent Partnership Services in England in 2005-2006, as
    reported through Section 52, was equivalent to £2.07 per funded pupil.

3.14.1 Involvement of parents in strategic planning and examples of their
       influence
   Approaches varied considerably between LAs.            Several had established
    stakeholder groups to look at, and advise on, aspects of strategy. In a number of
    cases parents of children with SEN had been used to support the development of
    the CYPP and there were some very good examples of consultation and
    discussion with them.

   Some LAs had completed excellent work with parents on the development and
    reorganisation of specialist provision. Some quite significant changes had been
    made, including the relocation or closure of schools, with their support.

   A few LAs recognised that further work was required to fully engage with parents.

3.14.2 SENDIST referrals
   The actual number and rate of referrals to SENDIST fell slightly in 2004-2005
    when compared with the previous year.




                                          23
   Tribunal referrals were not uniform, with some regions experiencing higher than
    average rates of activity.

   Low Tribunal activity was associated with:
    - High quality case work by LA staff and proactive contact with parents over
       statutory assessment matters including, for example, always holding
       meetings with parents and schools when a Note in Lieu was issued
    - Positive relationships with schools with clear shared understandings about
       the role and purpose of statements and statutory assessment
    - Confidence of parents in the quality of provision being made for their children
    - The provision of high quality information
    - Excellent Parent Partnership Services, valued by both parents and LAs.

3.14.3 Relationship between PPS / parents / LA / schools
   Most LAs reported relationships to be good, although a minority of LAs had
    initiated reviews of their services to ensure improved, high quality and proactive
    services that could work with the trust and cooperation of all stakeholders,
    including schools.

   Various examples of the involvement of the Parent Partnership Services in LA
    Strategy were provided, for example involvement in strategic planning groups and
    attendance at all SENCO meetings.

   With reorganisation to Children‟s Services a few LAs had widened, or were
    considering widening, the brief of Parent Partnership Services to include other
    aspects of information, for example, on support and care arrangements for
    children with disabilities and their families.

   Partnership approaches to management were generally found to be helpful, with
    organisations working on behalf of parents, represented on management or
    advisory boards.

3.14.4 Current arrangements for disagreement resolution
   Many LAs reported that, where used, services were effective and helpful to all
    parties and that they had reduced Tribunal hearings.

   The use made of services varied considerably and some LAs indicated that they
    did not use regional arrangements and that they were not considered to be cost
    effective.

3.15   Engagement with Regional Partnerships
   Generally, LAs in all regions reported positive engagements with their local
    Partnership. In most cases, the particular benefit was viewed in terms of
    information exchange and as a vehicle for pursuing collaborative work.




                                         24
4       Summary
   Significant progress has been made in implementing Removing Barriers to
    Achievement by the majority of LAs in England. Particular progress has been
    made in:
    - Reviewing resource strategy for mainstream schools and gaining agreement
       on new arrangements
    - Reducing the overall number of statements held by promoting early
       intervention and improving confidence in arrangements to meet needs
    - Improving the use of data to monitor, track and evaluate pupil progress and to
       review the performance of schools
    - Developing the strategic management aspects of SEN provision at school
       level through the introduction of provision mapping and management
       approaches
    - Improving planning for the development of local specialist provision including
       special schools and resourced provision within mainstream schools; linking
       this to the provision of specialist advice and support to other schools
    - Linked to the above, planning to reduce reliance on out of area placements
       and engage in debate about local and regional cooperation to improve the
       quality of local provision.

   Yet challenges remain, particularly in:

    -   Uniformly building the confidence of parents and reducing the very high levels
        of SENDIST activity seen in some LAs
    -   Continuing to develop high quality, effective services to address behavioural
        issues, both to build capacity within schools and to ensure high quality PRU
        and other specialist provision for pupils that require alternative arrangements
    -   Improving provision for pupils with language and communication difficulties
        and ASD
    -   Embedding the use of data and strategic approaches to managing provision
        for pupils with SEN in all schools
    -   Introducing cohesive support arrangements within the context of Children‟s
        Services
    -   Embedding new funding and monitoring arrangements and supporting
        implementation in some LAs.

The last 12 months has seen significant progress and change in many LAs. There is
now a real opportunity to embed the aims and aspirations of Removing Barriers to
Achievement within the Every Child Matters, Change for Children framework whilst
ensuring a continuing and appropriate focus on school improvement.




                                              25

				
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