Delivering Better Value (DBV) in SEND

Delivering Better Value (DBV) is a government programme being delivered by the Department of Education (DfE), in collaboration with Newton Europe and the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA).

The Department for Education launched their Delivering Better Value (DBV) programme to help local councils and partners improve their support for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and to ensure these are sustainable.

The programme does this by:

  • identifying changes that will make the biggest difference in getting better outcomes
  • supporting the council to use their resources in the most efficient way

To make a lasting improvement to outcomes for children and young people with SEND, councils need to identify the root causes of their challenges and the opportunities to make continued improvements.

The programme supports councils to identify these opportunities for improvement and to develop a plan to implement them. We were one of 55 local authorities invited by the Department for Education to take part in the programme.

Delivering Better Value - our work to date

The early stages have included gathering and analysing data from all partner perspectives. This included:

  • working with parents, carers and young people about how children with SEND are supported
  • engaging with partners, front line staff, schools and education settings
  • holding case review workshops to better understand young people’s experiences
  • running parent and carer and education provider surveys
  • holding face to face sessions with young people to include their views

Through our work so far, some strengths have been identified:

  • North Yorkshire has a committed and passionate team who try very hard to provide the best for children and young people
  • North Yorkshire is paying close to the national average on the cost per child, but the numbers of children and young people supported has increased significantly

As part of the Delivering Better Value programme, we’ve been through the data analysis stage and held workshops, surveys and deep dive exercises to fully understand our strengths and weaknesses. We’re now focused on the planning stage.

From the findings so far, we have learned that:

  • we support children with a range of special educational needs, but the biggest areas of need relate to autism, social emotional and mental health needs
  • the analysis shows that the greatest areas of spend in special educational needs is in special school provision and that we have an increased demand for this
  • the case study sessions enabled families, school leaders, and professionals from health and the local authority to talk about what ideal outcomes might look like for children and young people. 46 cases were reviewed in total. From the analysis of these reviews, Newton established that the case study members felt that 67% of the children and young people considered could have been supported in a different setting (one in two children and young people / 67%)
  • these case studies identified that there are opportunities to better support children and young people in mainstream schools
  • some of the barriers to this happening were identified from the surveys and deep dive discussions with school staff and families. These barriers were often related to challenges in communication and collaboration, and variation in practice and confidence. Together we have an opportunity to address these and improve the situation for children and young people working with families, school staff and other professionals
  • we need to investigate how we can offer more support at transition years, between nursery and primary school and primary school to secondary school

Working with information that families and professionals shared, three key themes for the grant have been identified:

  1. to provide an enhanced transition from nursery to reception for young people with Autism / complex social communication needs
  2. to provide an enhanced transition from Year 5/6 through to secondary for young people with Autism needs and/or other complex needs
  3. to construct together an Inclusive Practice Framework and toolkit to support schools and education settings

We will continue to work with parents/carers, school leaders and other key partners as we develop the framework and an audit process.

It is important to note that these will be delivered as part of a wider plan for inclusion, which aims to build on good practice and achieve positive outcomes for children and young people across our county.

Our work as part of the Delivering Better Value programme is focused on achieving better outcomes whilst using our resources in the most efficient way.

Next steps

Developing Inclusive Communities

Our team have started to work on a transitions project to give extra support to a cohort of primary and secondary school starters. We will be directly contacting families and schools that have been identified as part of the project.

The Ordinarily Available project has also been co-producing a framework for describing the best practice in provision in schools for Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND), both at a universal and targeted level. So far, we have worked with many volunteers from reference groups to help shape this project. Further work is due to start this month, and we will keep you updated.

We are due to start the next stage of developing the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities hub model, this will include scheduled visits to primary and secondary schools. Each school in the county will have a named inclusion partner who will plan visits with them across the year. The visits will be tailored to suit the school but will likely include:

  • discussions of individual pupils/observations (parental consent will be collected before any discussion takes place)
  • provision mapping and Continuing Professional Development planning
  • support around identification of needs/cohort screening
  • targeted observations around a theme of Special Education Needs (SEN) support in school
  • next steps in meeting the needs of pupils where EHCAR was submitted and declined
  • review of support for pupils with Education, Health and Care Plan in school

The pilot visits will take place in April and May, with more schools joining this after half-term, and all schools by September.

Frequently asked questions

Can I refer my child to be part of the pilot transitions programme?

No – we will be directly contacting families that have been identified in the pilot programme.

Can schools refer pupils to the pilot transitions programme?

No – we will be directly contacting families that have been identified in the pilot programme. How will families be contacted?

Are early year settings and post 16 providers part of the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities hub allocated visits trial?

No, at this moment, the programme is only being delivered to primary and secondary school settings.

We will continue to review the effectiveness of this programme and will keep you updated with any changes. Early years settings and post 16 providers can request support for individuals through the SEND hubs.

What difference will the ordinarily available framework make?

The framework will be a shared understanding of what provision should reasonably be expected to be available in all schools. It will help young people advocate for themselves, and parents advocate for them, based on a footing of good practice. It will also make clear what support should reasonably be available for pupils who may have additional needs but do not require an Education, Health and Care Plan.

Can I be involved in shaping the Ordinarily Available framework?

Yes - if you want to be part of the reference groups then please contact us.

Why we joined the Delivering Better Value programme

We were invited, as one of 55 local authorities, to participate. It was agreed by senior leadership colleagues for Children’s Services to participate in the programme, as it offered an opportunity to capitalise on external expertise to identify some possible opportunities to discuss with our key stakeholder groups. Given the strategic priority that we have assigned to ensuring that our high needs budget is both financially sustainable and delivering high quality outcomes for young people with SEND, it was considered that it was essential we participated in the programme.

We are continuing to improve the delivery of SEND services for children and young people while ensuring services are sustainable. The Delivering Better Value in SEND programme is a way to help us achieve this.

Wider strategic work

The proposals which will go into the Delivering Better Value grant application are just one part of wider strategic work in relation to SEND in North Yorkshire.

There are four broad areas of development activity, which relate to:

  1. developing inclusive communities
  2. provision-related opportunities
  3. statutory SEND processes
  4. funding decision-making