Agenda item

Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) 0-25 Reforms Update Report - SEN Performance and Joint Working

For the Select Committee to receive a report and presentation from the Director of Children’s Services providing a further update on progress following the implementation of the SEND reforms.


The Committee received a presentation and report from the Director of Children’s Services on Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) 0-25 Reforms Update Report – SEN Performance and Joint Working (Item 8 in the Minute Book).


Members of the Committee were led through the presentation slides and the context to the SEND reforms which were launched in 2014 was explained.  The Committee heard of the strengthened focus on SEN support, joint planning and commissioning of services and a strengthened focus on parents and carers as well as children and young people.  It was explained that a new Ofsted/CQC framework had also been introduced which measured how local authorities responded to SEND reforms.   It was heard that the inspection which took place in Hampshire in March 2020 was a positive inspection and, unlike over 50% of areas, Ofsted/CQC felt they did not need to re-visit to check progress against the Council’s development plan.  Members attention was drawn to some of the outcomes of the inspection which were detailed on page 5 of the presentation slides. 


Officers highlighted that since the reforms were introduced, there had been a significant rise of 95% in the number of EHCP’s in Hampshire and currently the service is maintaining 10,000 EHCP’s.  Page 7 of the presentation slides detailed to the Committee the growth in EHCP’s since 2014 and the breakdown by age group was also highlighted.  The impact of SENSA removal was also explained and Members noted that as a result of the cessation of the scheme, a short term bulge was seen which resulted in an additional 435 EHCP requests which in turn affected the timeliness of assessment completion.  Officers highlighted that priority was given to work through this backlog and outstanding EHCP’s were due completion by the end of the week.


Members noted the SEN performance through phased transfer work and the investment in staffing also helped to ensure a high percentage of these were being completed on time with 98% of year 2 phase transfers meeting this deadline.  It was explained that Covid has had an effect on some year 11 phase transfers as these children may need further time to decide future plans.  Attention was also drawn to the work of the digital EHCC hub and the work of the Hampshire Parent Carer Network.  In relation to outcomes for children and young people with SEN, it was heard that at early years stage, children were performing well at school and above the national figure.  Members noted that whilst SEN support had increased from 17% to 21% at key stage 2, this was below national figures of 25% and work was focussing to improve this figure, and at key stage 4.


It relation to SEN out of county placements, it was heard that there were 482 children and young people with special educational needs accessing support in non-county placements, but this should only be the case if was in the best interest of the child.  Attention was drawn to place planning strategy to provide sufficiency of specialist provision as set out on page 17 of the presentation slides and key areas of this were explained.  It was noted that SEND capital funding of £6.4 million had been received from the DfE for 2017-2020 as well as HCC capital funding which would support new school places and suitability, and Members heard of plans to create over 300 additional specialist places in Hampshire by September 2023. 


Members heard of work in connection with independent living and preparation for adulthood, as well as work of the Independent Futures Team.  Members also heard of the close working with the NHS SEND designated clinical officer as well as with other NHS health colleagues, and the establishment of Integrated Care Systems was highlighted as well as the Joint Hampshire and Isle of Wight Local transformation Plan.  In concluding it was noted that appeals in Hampshire were stabilising and officers worked closely with parents to try and resolve cases before reaching the stage of tribunal hearings.


In response to questions, Members heard:

  • SEND support was an area where work was being undertaken in Hampshire to encourage greater school performance and Ofsted were pleased with the improvement made, but there was still work to be done in this area.
  • That a focus of the Hampshire Futures Team was on young people with special educational needs, particularly under the September guarantee to ensure young people post-16 had moved into employment, education or training, and as a result were anticipating a low proportion of children who were NEET.  Work within the Kickstart scheme was also highlighted and specifically with helping young people with special educational needs.
  • That there have been four new employability hubs commissioned in colleges in Hampshire which would help to provide support and encouragement for students in accessing college courses that would lead to work.
  • That a significant number of children entering Reception year will have had their EHCP finalised when starting school.
  • That there will always be a need to place some children and young people in the independent sector because of either a limited number of specialist places in Hampshire, or that these independent providers offer unique support which would also be offered to a number of other local authorities. 
  • That Officers would check whether ‘In all our talents’ would be taking place this year because of Covid.
  • That Ofsted examined action plans in relation to areas for improvement that had already been identified by the Service and were satisfied that these action plans were high quality and did not require a repeat inspection
  • That in relation to the Tribunal system, the SEN service works closely with families to find a compromise and to try and avoid disputes and Tribunals, but sometimes a Tribunal was inevitable.
  • That views of parents were sought in various ways which included the Hampshire Local Offer, contact through schools and annual reviews.  It was noted that membership of the Hampshire Parent Carer Network was increasing also, with greater accessibility to meetings as a result of them being held virtually as a result of Covid.
  • That it was appropriate for Autism Spectrum Conditions to move from the CAMHS portfolio into the special educational needs and disability portfolio.
  • That students who find work challenging may be more affected by having to take time off school due to Covid.





That the Children and Young People Select Committee noted the update.

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