Venue: Virtual Meeting
Contact: Georgina Moore
Declarations of Interest
There were no declarations of interest received at this point in the meeting.
The minutes of the meeting of the Children and Young People’s Learning Scrutiny Panel held on 26 July 2021 were submitted and approved as a correct record.
Officers will be in attendance to provide the scrutiny panel with a general overview/introduction of the topic, including:
· an overview of the legal framework in which statutory agencies must work to support children and young people with SEND;
· an outline of how SEND can affect a child or young person’s ability to learn; and
· an update on the local developments within Middlesbrough.
The Strategic Lead for the Inclusion and Specialist Support Service; the Head of Inclusion, Assessment and Review and the Principal Educational Psychologist were in attendance to provide the scrutiny panel with a general introduction/overview of the topic of Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND), including:
· an overview of the legal framework in which statutory agencies needed to work to support children and young people with SEND;
· an outline of how special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) could affect a child or young person’s ability to learn; and
· an update on the local developments within Middlesbrough.
The Strategic Lead for the Inclusion and Specialist Support Service advised that the submitted report contained a detailed overview of the SEND Code of Practice and the broad duties of the Local Authority, Health, schools and colleges. The report also contained information on the key developments in Middlesbrough, which aimed to ensure that the needs of children and young people with SEND 0-25 were being met.
It was advised that the evidence presented would focus on the four main areas of need that were listed within the SEND Code of Practice, aiming to provide the scrutiny panel with a shared understanding of the impact of SEND on a child or young person’s ability to learn.
Members heard that The Children and Families Act and the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Code of Practice (2014 updated 2015) transformed the system for disabled children and young people and those with Special Educational Needs (SEN), ensuring that services consistently supported them to achieve positive outcomes.
The reforms created a system from birth to 25 through the development of coordinated assessment of a single Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP), which aimed to improve cooperation between all services responsible for providing education, health and or social care and giving parents and young people greater choice and control over their support.
It was advised that a SEND review was currently underway, which planned to investigate the impact of the SEND Code of Practice. It was hoped that outcomes of the review would be reported at the end of the year.
It was commented that the Local Area SEND Inspection Framework was currently being updated/revised and it was anticipated that the new framework would include children and young people accessing Alternative Provision. Further updates on, and revisions of, the framework would be shared later in the year.
In terms of data, Members were advised that in 2021, 3.7% of pupils attending school and/or settings in Middlesbrough had an EHCP, that equated to 1300 children and young people, which was slightly lower than the North East rate of 3.8% but in line with the National of 3.7%.
It was important to note that there had been a significant increase in requests for EHCP assessment nationally. It was believed that the increase was due to the impact of COVID-19. That surge had resulted in an increased workload for the SEND Assessment Team and the Educational Psychology Service.
It was noted that nationally, ... view the full minutes text for item 21/16
Education and Covid-19 Recovery
The Executive Director of Children’s Services will provide a verbal update.
The Executive Director of Children’s Services advised that:
· a rise in the number of COVID-19 cases was anticipated as schools returned from the summer break;
· if required, online/remote learning was available;
· a Government announcement was expected, imminently, on the rollout of vaccinations for 12 to 15 year olds;
· all children would be asked to participate in testing, however, schools would no longer be responsible for contact tracing;
· if a child or young person tested positive, close contacts would not be required to self-isolate, which was envisaged to result in less disruption in schools;
· the summer activities commissioned by Public Health had received positive feedback from children and young people; and
· those families who were in receipt of free school meals, continued to receive meals throughout the summer break.
Overview and Scrutiny Board - An Update
The Chair will present a verbal update on the matters that were considered at the meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Board held on 28 July 2021.
The Chair advised that at the meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Board, held on 28 July, the Board had considered:
· the Executive Forward Work Programme;
· an update from the Chief Executive in respect of the Council’s response to COVID-19 and other organisational matters;
· an update in respect of the financial pressures facing Children’s Services;
· the Scrutiny Work Programme Report for 2021-2022; and
· updates from the Scrutiny Chairs.
Any other urgent items which in the opinion of the Chair, may be considered.
A Member raised a query in respect of how many children were affected by the changes to Pupil Premium allocations. The Member advised that, from April 2021, pupil premium allocations for mainstream and special schools were calculated based on the number of eligible pupils recorded by schools in their census in October. The Director of Education, Prevention and Partnerships advised that the information requested would be provided once obtained from the Local Authority’s Revenue and Benefits Team.