North Yorkshire has set out new ambitious goals for its five-year plan to improve Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) education for children and young people.
The North Yorkshire Strategic Plan for SEND Education Provision for 0-25 which was published in 2018, was developed in partnership with parents/carers, children and young people and professionals with the aim of creating more local, high-quality provision and further developing the inclusive culture for children and young people with SEND in the county.
A review of the strategic plan, published earlier this year, shows good progress has been made towards the actions set out. The updated version includes more actions to be delivered during the lifetime of the plan, which include;
- Working with parents, carers and health providers across the county to develop proposals and a plan for identifying, assessing and meeting the needs of young children in the early years with SEND by working in partnership with Parent Carer Voice, the North Yorkshire parent/carer forum.
- Developing more targeted mainstream provision across the county, so that more children and young people can be supported in mainstream schools in their local areas. This will involve provision for small groups of pupils attached to mainstream primary and secondary schools for children and young people who can access the mainstream curriculum and aspects of mainstream school, but who require additional, specialist support to do this.
- Working with the Department for Education and the appointed trust to develop the special free school in the Selby area. At the moment there are not enough places in North Yorkshire’s special schools to meet the needs of children and young people in the county with education, health and care plans (ECHPs.) Through this plan, the County Council will develop and improve further the good offer from special schools to meet the needs of more North Yorkshire children and young people.
- Exploring how special school provision for children and young people with Autism can be developed further.
- Exploring how special school provision can be developed for children and young people with social, emotional and mental health needs.
- Developing a capital spending programme to support the plan, which will include updating and improving the county’s maintained special schools, as well as investing in other facilities and resources.
- Improving how the County Council can work together with partners to jointly commission services.
Although the population of children and young people in North Yorkshire continues to fall, the number of those identified as having SEND is still rising.
Councillor Patrick Mulligan, Executive Member for Education and Skills, said: “It is important that children with SEND and their families have choices and opportunities in education and that they are also supported in their local communities as far as possible. This plan ensures children and young people can remain in the heart of their communities and all the benefits that brings, whilst also having access to a wide range of appropriate support.”
Jane le Sage, Assistant Director for Inclusion with Children and Young People’s Services said: “These actions are ambitious and rightly so. We want children and young people with SEND to have the best chances to fulfil their potential and achieve their hopes for adulthood. The plan will enable us to put the right support in place for children at the right time, so those children who can access the curriculum in a mainstream school with the right support, can do so in their own communities with their friendship groups around them.
“There are also currently not enough places in special schools in North Yorkshire to meet the needs of children and young people in the county and a need for special school provision in Selby. Through this plan we will be working with the Government to develop a special free school in the Selby area and also investing in our existing special schools to meet the needs of more North Yorkshire children and young people.”
“Overall, this updated plan will enable us to provide more specialised, long-term provision in mainstream schools, as well as more places in special schools, a flexible system of teaching and learning and support from early years right through to adulthood.”