Cabinet members approved a refreshed borough school placement and sufficiency strategy for children with Special Educational Needs 2020-23 at today’s meeting (Wednesday, 29 April).
An accompanying report set out the council’s strategy for ensuring there are enough school places in order to meet the special educational needs of children and young people, including those with an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP)
The purpose of the refreshed strategy is to provide quality education placements closer to home; improve parent choice and the quality of the child’s experience whilst promoting inclusion through education, raising aspirations and enhancing outcomes.
The strategy also details how the council will address challenges, based upon a partnership-led approach and with the following objectives:
- To ensure children and young people with SEND have access to the right type of school placement which best meets their needs, within their community and closer to home. This includes pupils who have been diagnosed with special educational needs relating to Social, Emotional and Mental Health; Autistic Spectrum Disorder or Speech, Language and Communication needs.
- Embedding a partnership-based approach, to ensure the appropriate range and capacity of provision is available in local mainstream schools, academies and specialist settings to enable the needs of a greater number of such children to be met, as part of promoting inclusion through education.
- To ensure value for money and the most effective use of available resources continues to underpin the refreshed Strategy.
- Children, young people and families are at the heart of planning and provision.
- Statutory partners continue to work closely and ensure, where possible, pupils with SEND do not have to travel out of the borough to have their education needs met, based upon early identification and support, together with improvements to the quality and efficiency of Education, Health and Care Plan processes.
- To enable children and young people requiring ongoing specialist support are placed in the best possible provision and have their needs met through a stable and enriching school life.
- Improving personalisation as part of provision, including personal budgets.
- A system which promotes independence, confidence and aspirations and enables children to make a successful transition to adulthood.
Cllr Margaret Bruff, Cabinet Spokesperson for Children’s Services, said: “This refreshed strategy will take place in the context of an increasingly challenging environment, where the availability of funding has not kept pace with growing demand for such places. Despite these challenges, the council remains committed to investing in the future of children and young people while, at the same time, ensuring value for money and the effective use of available resources.
“I would particularly like to pay tribute to our local mainstream and special schools for their commitment to helping improve capacity so that more children and young people can have their special educational needs met closer to home, within their communities.”
Barnsley Council currently await the outcomes of the Government’s SEN Review and Cabinet will be informed of developments at a future meeting.
The report and strategy can be read in full here.