(TAKE IN REPORT)
The report was introduced by Julia Katherine, Head of Inclusion. She explained this is a Cabinet Member decision but this will be taken to Schools Forum tomorrow (10 October) to seek endorsement. The SEND Strategic Review was grant funded and was completed in June 2018. There were 49 recommendations arising from the review to manage the growing need, which are included in the appendix to this report.
In the last few weeks officers have met with the headteachers most affected by the changes and as a result of their feedback there is a change proposed to paragraph 5.4.4 regarding reducing the number of primary inclusion centre places. Julia explained that currently there are nine schools with inclusion centres with the most places for infant phase children, slightly fewer for Junior and fewer again for secondary. The inclusion centres are spread across the city and for different areas of need. One of the recommendations from the strategic review was to review and remodel inclusion centres to ensure sufficient places for some children who will always need specialist provision. The original proposal was to reduce the number of infant phase inclusion centres by six. Following discussions with schools, headteachers had expressed a lot of concerns about this due to the increase in demand for specialist SEN provision. Julia advised that it would therefore be sensible for officers to do some more work on this and to bring a further report back to the Cabinet Member when completed.
In response to questions from the Cabinet Member, Julia advised the following:
· The inclusion centres rate refers to the top up. They would still receive the element 2 funding for the place it would just be the top up that moves with the child. If the inclusion centre was not full the school would not receive the top up funding. Currently the centres are all full and the need is increasing.
· If a school felt they were unable to meet needs on the band that had been allocated they will need to present evidence as part of the annual review, which would then be considered. The key is that the objectives of the plan are achieved; if the school choose to deliver the provision is a different way that still achieves the same objectives, this would be fine as long as the parents are in agreement.
The Cabinet Member commented that she welcomed officers engaging with the headteachers and listening to their comments regarding the inclusion centre places and said she had also received some feedback from headteachers.
DECISION:The Cabinet Member:
(1) Noted the recommendations that have been made as a
result of the SEND Strategic Review (as set out in Appendix
(2) Endorsed the actions that are being implemented in
response to these recommendations (as set out in Section
(3) Approved the proposals to manage the spend within the High Needs Block for 2019-20 as set out in section 5 namely:
(4) Agreed that the reduction of Inclusion Centre places is reconsidered following feedback from Headteachers and brought back to a future meeting.
(5) Approved the principle of introducing banded funding rates for EHCPs in mainstream schools and Inclusions centres, with the final funding rates to be confirmed following the outcome of (4) above.