Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council

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Cabinet Decision: 6th October 2016
Title of Item/Report
Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) Update for Stockton
Record of the Decision
Consideration was given to a report on the proposal to reshape services to schools and provision commissioned from schools to improve outcomes for children with special needs.

Services would be reshaped to allow earlier support and intervention for children when they first present with special needs. This was in line with the successful early support work in social care and would be aimed at reducing demand for specialist placements and addressing needs earlier.

The provision commissioned from schools, presently in Additionally Resourced Provisions (ARPs), would be remodelled into hubs in localities which could provide cross phase provision for special needs across the Borough and allow more children to attend a school near to where they live. This would also reduce the need for transport across the Borough. The proposal would not mean that children would be moved. Any changes would be phased in and transitional arrangements would be put in place to accommodate children in their placement until the end of the key stage.

The SEND offer in Stockton-on-Tees was made up of:

• specialist academies: Ash Trees Primary Academy; Abbey Hill, Greengates, Westlands (all part of Horizons Trust)
• 19 commissioned Additionally Resourced Provisions (ARPs) across Stockton schools and the Pupil Referral Unit, Bishopton
• an Early Support Nursery, based in High Flyers Children’s Centre
• an independent specialist school, King Edwin.

There was an imperative to review the offer of SEND provision in Stockton-on-Tees for the following reasons:

• The High Needs Funding currently relies on £1.7 million from the schools block. This is not sustainable and will be undeliverable with the new funding formula.
• The ARPs were designated for needs which were not now in proportion with the cohort needs.
• The ARPS were not configured to provide support within a child’s locality so transport costs across Stockton-on-Tees were extremely high.
• The ARPs were not planned to allow pupils to progress through the key stages so that pupils were being moved to different ARPs at the end of key stages. The present emphasis on transition had highlighted this.
• The application levels for High Needs Funding for pupils in mainstream was extremely high.
• Outcomes data for SEN pupils in Stockton-on-Tees mainstream schools need further improvement. Pupils with special needs at the end of KS4 demonstrate less progress than those pupils nationally (2015).
• Earlier intervention and support to schools when a pupil first presented with special educational needs would enable more pupils to remain in their home schools.
• The number of pupils with statements or Educational Health and Care Plans (EHCPs) was in line with national and regional averages but more of these pupils compared to national and regional averages were in special schools rather than mainstream schools. The difference was around 10% more in Stockton-on-Tees.
• Many children were being sent out of the Borough to access specialist, independent placements which were very costly.
• The area wide SEN inspection framework would challenge the contribution of the Local Authority and schools to SEN support.

It was proposed to move to a model with the following principles:

- Provision to match the four areas of need as defined in the SEN code of practice in proportion to the cohorts in Stockton - Communication and Interaction, Social, Emotional & Mental Health (SEMH), Physical and Medical, Cognition and Learning, Visual and Hearing Impairment.

- Provision to provide cross phase pathways so children do not need to make transition after the end of every key stage and could progress to secondary provision ARPs.

- Provision to be located in locality hubs in three areas of Stockton- central, south and north.

- Provision to provide support for earlier support and intervention by specialist services. Resources such as Occupational Therapy, Speech and Language, Educational Psychology advice, to be available in a hub to offer advice, support, guidance and challenge to schools on an outreach and in reach basis. Staff within council services to be possibly located within the hubs. Hubs to also be responsible for the allocation of High Needs Funding for the area.

- Where locality SEN hubs cannot meet need, specialist provision would better match the cohort needs. This would require exploring an additional, specialist School.

The report also presented an overview of the Ofsted framework for Local Area SEND inspections.


1. The report be noted.

2. The consultation with parents over the proposed remodelling of support for children with special educational needs be approved.

3. The responses be brought back to Cabinet to inform the future re-commissioning of places for children with special needs in Stockton-on-Tees.

4. The information about the local SEND Area Inspection Framework and the implications for work going forward be noted.

5. The potential opportunity to develop a new specialist school be noted.

6. The decision to submit an expression of interest to the DFE be delegated to the Director of Children’s Services in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Children and Young People.
Reasons for the Decision
To ensure that all children and young people in Stockton continue to benefit from education in high quality environments
Alternative Options Considered and Rejected
Declared (Cabinet Member) Conflicts of Interest
Councillor Bob Cook declared a personal non prejudicial interest in Agenda Item 7 - Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) Update for Stockton as he was a school governor at Billingham South Primary Schools.

Councillor Jim Beall declared a personal non prejudicial interest in Agenda Item 7 - Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) Update for Stockton as he was a Chair of governors at Rosebrook Primary School.

Councillor Norma Wilburn declared a personal non prejudicial interest in Agenda Item 7 - Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) Update for Stockton as she had a grandson with SEN who attended Rosebrook.
Details of any Dispensations
Date and Time by which Call In must be executed
Midnight, 14th October 2016

Date of Publication: 10 October 2016

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