SEND & Inclusion Board
Wednesday 1st July 2020 – Microsoft Teams
Welcome, apologies and introductions
CA – SENDIAS Coordinator
MB – Head Teacher, St Paul’s C of E Primary School, Leamington Spa
JB – SEND CCG & South Warwickshire Foundation Trust
Ian Budd (IB) – Assistant Director of Education Services, WCC
JC – SEND Integrated Services, Education Delivery Lead
RC – SEND Commissioning Lead, WCC
DC - Strategy and Commissioning Manager - SEND & Inclusion, WCC
JD – Coventry & Rugby CCG (also representing Warwickshire North CCG)
AR – Principal Educational Psychologist & SENDAR Lead, WCC
NW – Principal, Quest Academy
JA & DH (minutes) Apologies:
DW – NHS (Left when JB attended as due at another meeting)
MS – South Warwickshire CCG
RW – Warwickshire Parent Carer Forum
ZM – Service Manager, Commissioning, WCC
CE – Rise, CWPT
IB welcomed everyone to the meeting and advised it was being recorded for
minuting purposes and would not to be shared externally. Apologies were stated by
RC and introductions were made by the members of the Board.
Notes of last meeting and matters arising
Previous meeting notes were agreed by those present. The following updates were
given: Action Log from Covid-19 Response:
• JC mentioned that the DfE included guidance on Aerosol Generating procedures.
More specific guidance has been requested. Schools need specific guidance for
suitable rooms to be used. The needs to be escalated – DC or IB to get guidance
from Public Health England.
• RC advised that DW had shared the Shielding List for 18-25 with JC.
• JB mentioned that the restoration plan has not been sent as it is not complete.
The Communities and Children’s Services Restoration Committee met 2 weeks
ago and the second meeting is taking place today (01/07/2020) to finalise the
operating procedures. Once these are in place it will be complete and sent to DC
• NW forwarded the email to DC regarding Transport.
SEND & Inclusion report
Documents had been attached to the meeting agenda for pre-reading. RC presented
the report and gave an update:
Three workstreams have met. Significant work has been done on the Dedicated
Schools Grant (DSG) and recovery plan. Carers Assessment consultation has been
completed and presented to Cabinet. There has been no fall in requests for EHC
assessments. These are being delivered in a timely fashion. Numbers vary in EHC
requests being turned down.
JD asked about items marked red and what is being done about them. EHC Survey:
IB stated that line 20 is a static red. Movement from 23% for parents
and carers who were happy with time taken for EHCP plans to be complete are up to
32% which is low. It is an annual survey. NW mentioned this being an annual
questionnaire being broken down for more focus. RC said the indicator reflects 3 of
12 questions from the survey. The survey needs to be reviewed. The workstream
looked at questions and the wider survey which was presented to the Board in
December. Parent/Carer forum are included with discussions and responses from
casework. DC mentioned at the end of the process a catch-up call with families
could be an idea moving forward. Single assessment by CWD within the quarter.
The next red box pointed out was on
line 30 regarding assessments for children with disabilities. DC will meet with EM
regarding this. Eve will look at cases with a single assessment and prioritise to give a
DC a clearer update to relay. Independent Travel Training:
Red box on line 44 related to independent travel
training. The contract is not performing as would ideally be done – unable to do
travel training presently due to Covid-19. Online work is being done and DC/RC are
reviewing. Waiting times for ASD diagnosis:
RC mentioned the rise data for length of wait for
ASD which has not been updated and remains a concern. The Commissioning Team
are looking at this for a plan going forward. It was a major feature of the overview
and scrutiny discussions from elected members. JB added it is highlighted to the CCG
Executive and Non-Executives through informal committee meetings. All aware of
significant risks. Actions
SEND & Inclusion Change Programme
Documents had been attached to the meeting agenda for pre-reading. DC shared the
presentation and gave an update:
DC has met with Corporate Board, cabinet members, lead members and the
opposition. RC has presented to SEND teams and Schools Forum. Gateway have
agreed to fund additional capacity for changes. There has been an overspend on the
DSG in the last financial year. Currently there is a £7.3million overspend. WCC has
paid £2.1m off this which leaves around a £5.2m overspend resulting in a DSG
recovery plan to be created for the DfE. If nothing is actioned over the next few
years, it is envisaged that in 2027-2028 the cumulative overspend could be
£151million on the Higher Needs Block which is clearly not an option. Projects are in
place to recoup costs in overspends.
The predictions for next year are approximately £8.3m overspend. The financial
forecast was shared via RC’s screen. The gap between income and expenditure is not
sustainable. The Response page was shown and talked through. A sustainability plan
has been put together for all plans held within the LA to be put in one place. The
framework was presented at the last Board meeting and 120 projects are now down
Currently there is an assigned Lead to each project. Additional funding has been
requested and timescales set for projects to make impacts. DC meets with colleagues
and CEOs and wants to involve key staff from health, social care, schools,
parent/carer networks to be part of the process.
There are 31 projects; 20 in phase 1 and 11 in phase 2. This won’t be a static
programme; it will be added to following reviews of outcomes.
RC explained the draft Governance Structure slide. The Council are to fund around
£1m of support for project management. There will be a group for decisions which
needs to continue for a multi-agency response. There is a proposal to change the
name from the Board to the SEND Partnership to give a multi-agency response and
feedback on projects. Workstreams to be replaced by the projects going forward
which will require multi-agency input.
JB queried the CCG role in decision making. RC stated most projects are focussed on
education and therefore it is appropriate that Council Officers are final decision-
makers, after views from SEND Partnership. Any projects that impact on
commissioning of health services need a joint decision and will follow a joint
DC shared slides detailing the projects in the Impower Report. DSG sustainability plan
is reviewing the services to show value for money and that the model of delivery is
what is required; funding for schools and working with Commissioning. Need to
improve outcomes for children with SEND, support for families through early
intervention with social care.
Cohort Leads have been linked to projects. One is to be confirmed, but key people are
involved and workstreams will be set up around the cohorts. Business leads are
working with project teams to scope the projects. RC explained that Verto is the
system for producing documents via a project management system.
Final report will go to Cabinet on 9th July which will identify stakeholders in each
project. Wider strategic engagement taking place to drive through change.
DC mentioned working together and ensuring it happens; it is significant in terms of
financial implications. Forecasting has been put together and costs investigated. Need
to be open and transparent. RC mentioned about specialist and mainstream settings
working together. This is going well in the North of the county with schools working
well with feeder schools.
JD asked what timeframe is required for the projects and programmes. RC replied the
projects outlined so far will take around 3 years. The first cohort will be finished by the
end of the next academic year, and some sooner than this.
MB mentioned the importance of linking specialist and mainstream schools. Some
schools will be happy to start the link and St Paul’s Primary in Leamington would be
happy to be involved in a pilot. NW advised that MacIntyre have a research and
development centre which can now offer support and suggested a joint project with
Quest Academy and St Paul’s. On the Quest Academy
website there are short clips
from clinical psychology and educational psychology for all schools to access.
DC mentioned the only way the system is sustainable is to be inclusive. Some are,
some go far beyond, others need to be brought on board. Need to stress test and look
at finance. If in mainstream schools, pupils are funded accordingly. Banding systems
in terms of benchmark data appear low. Behaviours need to change. For every child
in an ISP the average spend is £56 – £70k.
MB mentioned that during the Covid-19 lockdown they have been awarded 2 EHCPs
for children who would not ordinarily be suitable for mainstream education. Right
level of funding for mainstream has been agreed, and the school is looking forward to
meeting the needs of the children. Children accessing ISP and alternative provisions
need decisions making to enable a move forward. DC is keeping a spreadsheet of
schools interesting in helping – email RC or DC if interested in joining. Actions
RC gave a verbal update stating that SEND are continuing to work with schools on the
Government guidance regarding risk assessments, safety checks and ‘bubbles’.
JC is leading on transitions from year 6 to year 7 and reported that there have been
several transitions sub-groups. JC led the SEND sub-group with a wide range of
partners contributing; primary head teacher, secondary SENCo, specialist teachers
from 0-5 and Specialist Teaching Service (STS) and an independent consultant. There
is a huge bank of resources. As staff go to transition meetings via Teams, the resources
and templates are being shared. There is a good relationship with Widget who are a
local firm; lots of the symbols didn’t exist relating to social distancing and viruses, so
these have been created and trialled in Warwickshire settings. These are currently
sent individually, but a web page is in progress for future downloads. RC advised that
the Family Information Service send twice weekly e-newsletters which can also be used
as a means of sending links to this information.
JB reported that over half of the AHPs have been redeployed which has been difficult,
however it has enabled them to try out telephone assessments for lower level needs
which could help with support for classroom adaptations. Training sessions have been
delivered to families and there are lots of podcasts/training and information online.
Information is being gathered to be uploaded into the new SEND guidance. Staff
redeployment is planned into early September pending another wave of Covid-19 and
the onset of the winter ‘flu’ season.
CA stated that there is digital divide. Some parents have been unhappy with annual
reviews being held online and felt it harder to speak out with their point of view.
Parents want a specialist placement but there is a need to change the views of schools
that needs can be met in a mainstream setting. If SENDIAS could be involved in future
discussions it would be of benefit. Feedback information regarding annual reviews
should be emailed to AR. AR mentioned about the processes and quality assurance
MB stated that parents/carers at ***Details removed***
have always personally
attended annual reviews, but many haven’t attended the virtual meetings.
However, JC has heard that more have attended as it is easier for both parents to
attend online and had positive comments about participation. NW has positive
feedback too; as Covid-19 restrictions reduce, parents have been offered meetings in
school but have chosen to do it virtually. After each annual review parents will be
asked if they want to meet in school or online. AR mentioned the need for feedback
from parents/carers to take on board the comments.
Numbers are increasing for pupils going back to school, some on a rota basis, but
guidance from the DfE is that schools will not be open over summer holidays. Actions
Quality Assurance Framework
AR and RC stated that the document is not yet final. A copy of the Quality Assurance
Framework was sent as a draft. DC has introduced this from previous working
experience, and it is a framework looking to provide a structure for all staff involved in
the statutory process to engage with quality assurance. Measuring the impact from
service delivery and looking at this through quality assurance is crucial to improved
The document has been shared across services within SEND and Inclusion and
workstreams. A consultant has been brought in and various teams and agencies have
provided feedback. It is open to the Board to be considered and feedback given.
Throughout it is about compliance with national legislation and guidance, giving clear
messages to parents and providers.
DC added in terms of Ofsted, the focus is on good quality of plans; to specify, quantify
and time measure provision. Feedback from the audit should be done to learn how
to improve services. Heads of services across education, health and social care need
to give feedback. Ofsted will want to see it implemented on their inspection over
education, health and social care. RC mentioned that this will have a multi-agency
impact as all services contributing to an ECHP plan will be involved. DC added that
heads of services need to be involved as they can take the learning back to their
services and change the practice. JD said that the document will prove that measures
are in place and show the impacts of these.
AR advised this was being scoped as a project and needs to be with Verto by 14th July.
Any feedback should be emailed to AR as soon as possible to take comments on board. Actions
• E-mail AR with any feedback prior to 13/07/2020.
Any other business
DC mentioned that the SEND & Inclusion Change Programme is extremely big and
cannot be done alone. There will be a difficult period going forward, helping one
another through and working together and looking for supportive networks.
IB thanked all for attending, stating over the weeks and months ahead there is a lot
of work to be done with colleagues more widely on communication, engagement,
understanding and working through the projects in sequence and gauging their
success, promoting efficient and effective practice for children, young people and
Next meeting – Thursday 10th September 2020 (10.00am – 12.00pm)