SEN Policy Reform England September 2014. VIEW Conference 13 March 2014 Christopher Robertson. Hard Hat Time. Steps to a new system.
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SEN Policy Reform EnglandSeptember 2014 VIEW Conference 13 March 2014 Christopher Robertson
Steps to a new system • Legislation introduced into Parliament early in 2013 and an Indicative ‘pin cushion’ draft 0-25 SEN Code of Practice published primarily for the Bill Committee (House of Commons) on 14 March 2013 • 2nd robust Reading of the Children and Families Bill in the House of Lords (2nd July 2013) • Full draft Code published for consultation in October 2013. Consultation on the Code and transition arrangements ended on 9 December – ‘we are analysing your feedback’ • Royal Assent in Spring 2014 followed by a ‘lead in period’ to support an orderly transition before a new statutory framework is implemented from September 2014 …. Final Code in June 2014 ???
Key principles in the Children and Families Bill • Participation: the Bill promotes the participation of parents and young people in decision-making about SEN • Outcomes: the Bill focuses on outcomes and improving progress for children and young people with SEN • Collaboration: the Bill requires a joint approach across all agencies: cooperation and commissioning
Key components • Multi-agency working • Engaging with children, young people and families (involvement, choice) • The local offer (information and choice) • Focus on school/college/setting responsibility • Education, health and care plans • Key working • Personal budgets • Preparing for adulthood Tested by SEND (SEN) Pathfinders
‘Too early to draw conclusions’ Against the four objectives for the evaluation • make the current system more transparent, less adversarial and less bureaucratic • increase choice and control and improve outcomes • introduce greater independence into the assessment process by the voluntary sector • demonstrate value for money SQW September 2012 (Evaluation, Interim Findings)
Further developments • SEND Pathfinder Programme Report (DfE, March 2013) • Extension of Pathfinders > September 2014 • Introduction of Pathfinder ‘Champions’ in all regions of England (e.g. Bexley & Bromley in London, SE7 and Southampton in the South East, Solihull in the West Midlands; Wiltshire in the South West) to support non-pathfinder areas • A further independent evaluation report (SQW) was published in June 2013 and another in October 2013
‘Broad Acceptance of thedirection of travel’ (June report) • Resources invested in the assignment of key workers, development of personal profiles, person-centred approaches, EHCP formats and procedures – reported positive impact • Changes to process and underlying ethos regarded as most important (rather than formal elements of a new approach)
‘A glass half full?’ • Increased choice and control (families) • Collaboration with Parent Partnership Services and Parent Carer Forums • Some evidence of joined up commissioning and service provision • Successes reported in working with families already in the system • 800 families recruited (March 2013)
‘A glass half empty?’ • Development of outcome focused plans challenging (workforce development) • Involvement of children and young people limited • Uncertainty about role of VCS (supporting families) • Impact of EHCPs limited (minimal evidence) • Key worker role demanding (confidence and training) • Limited testing with broader groups (19-25 age range) • Slow development of the local offer (uncertainty about content and concerns about resourcing) • Limited take up of personal budgets and SEN direct payments (use limited in scope > transport)
‘Impact evaluation’ October 2013 report • Some encouragement – families’ satisfaction with processes (assessment, support, involvement) Can changes to processes improve outcomes? Can changes the overall approach be scaled up and be cost effective for the whole target population? We won’t know until at least March 2015 (end of the SQW evaluation) but there are clearly going to be challenges ahead … the latest report noted that the EHCP process takes (on average) 42 hours compared with 30 hours for statementing (small sample)
Pathfinder extension activity Extended pool of Pathfinder Champions (April 2014 – March 2015) with additional funding for the programme By March 2014 current Pathfinders (x 31) expected to be early adopters of reforms offering EHC plans to all ne entrants to the system Pathfinder dissemination through events and publications continues – information packs are being refreshed (March 2014) Government has ‘acknowledged’ (9 December letter to Pathfinders) the need for further development work supported with specialist expertise (e.g. in relation personal budgets, high quality EHC plans and preparing for adulthood) – more SQW reports
EHC planning: thematic report • Eligibility – those with Statements eligible • Change in eligibility – most obviously 19-25 year olds • Planning pathways: referral; considering if assessment is required; coordinated assessment; planning; sign-off • Approaches to some key elements differ in pilot areas • Differences to Statementing: more emphasis on gathering information across services at referral; family more involved; plans more outcome focused • Family-centred approach can lead to better plans
EHC planning: concerns • Effective coordination and cooperation between services • Resourcing delivery of family-centred process – time for EHC coordinator • Meeting the 20 week timeframe requirements • Sharing information between services and families • Increased paperwork (e.g. summary assessment) • Challenges involved in offering a comprehensive personal budget offer • Ensuring all families have the capacity to engage • Negotiating between family members if conflicts arise
Key working: thematic report • Need to cover 4 areas: coordination; planning and assessment; information and signposting support; emotional and practical support • 2 models – single person and multi-person • Skill set required is broad ranging • Breadth and depth of knowledge varies according to key working model used • Effective key working teams draw on knowledge and experience from different backgrounds • ‘Co-producing’ can be challenging and time consuming • Training of different kinds is essential • Longer term plans for key working need consideration – beyond the 20 week phase
Key working: concerns • Danger through dilution – multi-person model • Over extending roles – on top of day job • Time to do things well within and beyond ‘20 weeks’ • Key worker backgrounds – who is lining up? • Independent support workers – potential confusion • Level and quality of training • Key worker salaries • Working with young people – what’s involved? • Front end approach could lead to frustration
SEN Pathfinder information www.sendpathfinder.co.uk Click on ‘information packs’ for resources
Advice and Guidance School Perspective
Draft SEN Code of Practice for 0-25 years (October 2014) • Overview (statutory and non-statutory, who it is for) • Summary (principles) • A Family Centred System • Working together (education, health and social care) • The Local Offer (local authority / school +) • Early years, schools, colleges and other education and training providers • Assessments - Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plans • Children and young people in specific circumstances • Resolving disputes
Code notes ... • Longer than anticipated (could be longer still) • Detailed but technical and a little unclear regarding statutory (must) and non-statutory (should / best practice) ‘best endeavour’ guidance • Accessible to a range of audiences? • Makes assumptions about terminology (SEN or SEND?) that may be unhelpful • Still subject to editing and other changes • Implementation lead in likely to be shorter than anticipated
Schools and the Code SEND leadership messages • Outcomes not hours • Every teacher is responsible for meeting needs and the SENCO role is strategic • High aspirations – articulated through progress targets and preparation for next stage of education or and meetings adulthood • Work closely with parents - x 3 meetings a year • Clarity about what you can and cannot do – using the notional SEN budget
Ready to Go? Schools working in accord with these messages are ‘well on the way’ to implementing the SEN reforms …
Handout – SEN Reforms What local authorities, schools and services need to know and what they need to do An updated and edited version of an information leaflet published by the Council for Disabled Children. Julie Jennings will refer to this!
Contact Details Christopher Robertson • School of Education, University of Birmingham • C.M.Robertson@bham.ac.uk