North Yorkshire County Council’s Executive will be asked to agree a strategic plan for special educational needs and disabilities education provision when it meets next Tuesday 4 September
Executive to decide on special educational needs plan
North Yorkshire County Council’s Executive will be asked to agree a strategic plan for special educational needs and disabilities education provision when it meets next Tuesday 4 September.
The plan, which was developed in collaboration with children and young people, their parents and carers, and professional stakeholders, aims to create a more inclusive culture, provide more local provision, and reduce costly out-of-county placements.
The Executive decision on the final plan follows a formal consultation during May and June and a year of collaboration, discussion and development.
The strategy sets out long term plans for the transformation of SEND education in North Yorkshire. It is based on detailed forecasts of future demand in each locality to ensure the Council is commissioning the right type of provision in the right place to create a more sustainable and effective service.
It outlines initiatives to promote effective early intervention; more specialist targeted and long-term provision in mainstream schools; more places in special schools; a flexible system of teaching and learning and continuation of support through to adulthood.
“The plan is ambitious - we have to use the high needs budget wisely to help this important group of young people achieve their goals in life”, said County Councillor Patrick Mulligan, Executive Member for Education and Skills
“Many parents have told us that if decisions could be made locally by people who work with their children every day, it would help young people to get the right support more quickly. This is especially important when needs change and support needs to be flexible. We also want to provide more local provision so that whenever possible children can learn close to their communities in an environment that’s right for them.”
Organisations, parents and carers who responded to the public consultation have been largely positive and have backed the plan’s aspirations and the importance it places on early identification and intervention. They acknowledge that implementation would be challenging but the right thing to do.
The key points to the plan are:
- reshape current provision to create more effective early intervention;
- more specialist targeted and long-term provision in mainstream schools;
- building up a skilled workforce through clear continuous professional development and the creation of locally-based multi-disciplinary teams;
- increase the number of places in the county’s special schools and address gaps in specialist provision in some areas of the county – this includes submitting an application for a new special free school in Selby and working towards establishing satellite specialist provision in the Ripon area;
- closer working between special and mainstream schools;
- reduce the number of exclusions by closer working between mainstream schools and the pupil referral service;
- revise the model for the education of children with medical needs and their preparation for transition into adulthood;
- strengthen processes and provision in preparing for adulthood;
- reshape local authority SEND support services into locality-based teams with enhanced therapeutic intervention;
- Set up local Inclusion steering groups which will include parents and carers, local government officers and headteachers as well as panels with a range of professionals to ensure that performance and need is monitored locally and a local partnership continues to shape developments in the future.
There are almost 163,000 children and young people aged 0-25 in North Yorkshire and the numbers with Education and Health Care Plans are rising. There are currently more than 2,650 with plans but this is predicted to rise by nearly another 1,000 by 2022, in line with national trends.
This is addition to over 10,000 children with SEND receiving support in school without the need for an Education and Health Care plan. Over 10 per cent of the school population is provided with special educational needs support and this is also expected to increase.
The figure for those with Social, Emotional and Health needs has increased by almost 38 per cent in the last two years and growing numbers of those with communication and interaction needs (particularly autism) is also contributing to the overall rise. Together, these groups account for almost 73 per cent of the total increase.
“Supporting children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities is one of the most important jobs that we do”, said Cllr Mulligan. “The proposed plan has therefore been drawn up with great care to ensure the funding we have is spent in the best way possible for the most effective support.”
North Yorkshire is facing challenging times due to this unprecedented and increasing demand on its special educational needs and disability budget. High needs funding in 2018/19 has remained broadly similar to 2017/18 despite demand rising by 15 per cent. The Council has a High Needs budget of £44.8 million and is currently projecting financial pressures in the order of £3.9m.
“For this reason we continue to lobby Government and have written to our MPs asking for their support”, added Cllr Mulligan.