Agenda item

Local Area SEND inspection: report and briefing


Councillor Cresswell (Cabinet Member for Education, Skills and Apprenticeships) and Annie Gammon (Service Director for Education, Participation and Skills) presented the report to the Committee and highlighted the following key points:



The Council regretted the report and accepted Ofsted’s findings and would work with the Local Area Partnership to improve services for the city’s most vulnerable and would look to build in a bright future for all its SEN users;



The Council would be making arrangements to hold an improvement Board meeting in September which would continue 6 weekly thereafter in order to make sustained change at pace with the help of Ofsted and partners;



Ofsted recognised that there were some areas of strength within the partnership which included commitment, some strong working schools, some strong work with Plymouth’s youngest children, some work with post 16 children and some work with social and emotional needs;



Areas of improvement included making children with SEND the centre of improvement plans, with clear oversight and tracking to measure impact. Plymouth should be better at understanding increased risk to children with SEND;



Plymouth should reduce the risk of a child/young person being excluded where they had an EHCP;



Plymouth required to be consistent with all children around the healthy child programme;



The Parent Carer Forum had been actively involved and helped the Local Area Partnership with the plan and help determine what the outcomes would be for children with SEND;


In response to questions raised it was reported that:



There would be changes to professional development for staff to enact change in culture across the partnership to put children with SEND at the heart of everything the service did;



There were increases in the number of young children coming up to school age, following Covid with limited language and was an area of focus through the stronger practice hub. There was a rolling program of training with a special educational needs co-coordinator and this would need to be pulled together as part of the SEND improvement planning;



Part time timetables should only be used as a temporary measure and all children should be in full time education. They were too prevalent in Plymouth that was used to regularly by schools and work was on-going with schools in Plymouth to remedy;



Most children with an EHCP in Plymouth were in mainstream education however it was acknowledged the Plymouth had a shortage of places requiring the correct provision and a sufficiency plan was underway to create more spaces. The Council was exploring a number of options which included opening a further provision and increasing existing provisions;



To ensure all schools in the city were working to good outcomes for Plymouth SEND children, the partnership would need to create a common goal. The council offered support and had undertaken an audit of its secondary schools to make them aware of what could be done and what training was in place. There were assurances from Department for Education that if the Council did not think schools were involved as much as what they should be the DfE would be involved in those discussions;



The Council would look into schools have more support provision which would not only help children with SEND but all children and staff in the school;



The Council would ensure that best practice across the city was shared and would look to ensure good coaching/mentoring was established;



Stability in the senior leadership team would be a key element in improvement work but the current interim team in place were right for Plymouth at the time and had already driven changes in the service;



Health partners have been and wanted to be involved as part of the improvement work and had signed up strategically;



Those in residential care outside of the City and those entitled to residential respite had all been assessed and were being remedied. Checks were ongoing for children that applied for short breaks that aren’t residential and a report would be ready by the end of October;



Schools should have an inclusion development plan to ensure that schools were increasingly accessible to all children and although the local authority could not insist on that, it would be seen as good practice.

The Committee agreed to note the report.








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