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High Needs consultation: Have you had your say?

On the 19 July, we discovered a technical fault in the online survey. This affected the questions about the proposals for primary schools. If you have completed the survey previously and you were not able to see the primary school questions, you don't need to complete the whole survey. You need only complete the questions in the Primary school section as we will already have all of your other responses.

Complete the consultation

We have extended the consultation by six weeks. The consultation will now close on 14 September 2018. We apologise for any inconvenience.

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High Needs Programme

The Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) gives local authorities money to fund the schools that they manage. This is allocated into various spending blocks. One of these is the High Needs block which helps to fund a range of support for children with additional needs in both mainstream and specialist provision.

The high needs funding system supports provision for pupils and students with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) from their early years to 25.  Increased need and national changes in education funding have led to concern across all Local Authorities (LAs) about the support and funding for children with ‘high needs’.  LAs are no longer able to manage the Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) as a whole; each of the DSG blocks (Schools, Early Years and High Needs) is effectively ring-fenced. 

In response the Department for Education (DfE) has allocated local authorities with a grant to carry out a strategic review of their high needs provision to develop a long term strategic plan. 

On a local and national level there are significant concerns about:

  • the support that children and young people with additional needs are able to access
  • the very high rate of exclusions from school
  • pupils being de-registered from schools to be educated at home
  • accelerating spending without an associated improvement in outcomes 

Through the High Needs Programme we have discussed the issues with schools, parents, children and young people and other stakeholders through an extended engagement phase (see themes below).  In order to progress the development of the Council’s High Needs Strategy, we now need to proceed to formal consultation on proposals which have been developed from this engagement phase. 

High Needs consultation

Additional needs: helping children and young people learn and succeed

Meeting the high needs challenge in Gloucestershire

We are planning some changes to the way we allocate funding through the High Needs budget to improve the support we provide to families. The consultation will run from Monday 4th June to Friday 14 September 2018. We would appreciate your comments on our proposals and any other ideas that you may have.

Have your say!

You can complete the consultation online at www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/high-needs-consultation

We have developed an easy read version of the consultation which can be completed at www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/cypandeasyread.

For a paper copy of the consultation, contact us at highneedsprogramme@gloucestershire.gov.uk  or collect a copy at your local library or in reception at Shire Hall, Westgate Street, Gloucester, Gloucestershire, GL1 2TG. You can also download a copy of the consultation which you can find under 'Consultation documents' to the right of this page.

Please hand completed copies of the consultation to reception (Shire Hall) or the desk (libraries) or post completed copies to Vicki Hazard, High Needs Programme Team, Shire Hall, Westgate Street, Gloucester, GL1 2TG.

If you need any help completing the consultation please call 01452 328488 / 01452 328932.

Important information - Have you had your say?

On the 19 July, we discovered a technical fault in the online survey. This affected the questions about the proposals for primary schools. If you have completed the survey previously and you were not able to see the primary school questions, you don't need to complete the whole survey. You need only complete the questions in the Primary school section as we will already have all of your other responses.

You can find the consultation at www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/high-needs-consultation.

We have extended the consultation by six weeks. The consultation will now close on 14 September 2018. We apologise for any inconvenience.

Why we need to makes changes 

The education system is not working well at the moment for some children with ‘high needs’ – those children who need extra help because they have some learning difficulties or struggle to cope with life at school. The number having to rely on an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) to get support in school is increasing rapidly and the progress of children with additional needs is not as good as that of other children. Too many children are being excluded from school. 

There is a statutory framework for children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) but we need to make sure it works for all children so that they can get the help they need, when they need it. 

The way we work at the moment is not sustainable. In common with other local authorities our High Needs Budget is overspending but we think there are changes we can make that will improve the lives of children with additional needs and will use our funding more effectively. This is not about spending less, but spending it in a better way for children.

What are we consulting on? 

We are planning some changes to the way we allocate funding through the High Needs budget to improve the support we provide to families. We need to understand how these changes may affect you and want your help to shape these changes. 

This consultation is about support through the education service, but colleagues from social care and health in particular have helped us put the proposals together. We always aim to work with families in a way that tackles all the issues together. 

You can find more information about the high needs budget and the challenges we face in the consultation.

The High Needs block of the Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) for Gloucestershire totalled £57.2m for the 2017/18 financial year. High Needs funding covers a range of support for children with additional needs in mainstream schools and specialist provision. These include:

  • SEND in early years
  • Top-up funding in mainstream schools to meet additional needs costing over £6,000 p.a.
  • Special Schools
  • Specialist placements in independent schools
  • Post 16 education
  • Alternative provision for children and young people whose needs cannot be met in mainstream or who have been excluded from school
  • Specialist services e.g. the Virtual School for Children in Care and the Hospital Education Service

In future years costs are forecast to rise much more sharply than income.

We have been talking with parents, children, schools and others working with children over the past few months. We launched an engagement exercise in January 2018 to see how people felt about our initial thinking.  Thank you to everyone who responded to the engagement survey or attended a meeting; the feedback has helped us put together some proposals for formal consultation, which you will find in this document.  There is a large amount of agreement that we need to do things differently, including how we use our money. 

The main themes emerging from the engagement exercise were: 

What we agree on

What we could do better

We all have a part to play in giving the children in Gloucestershire the right start in life.

The focus should be on the needs of the child; too much time and energy is currently spent on processes, particularly statutory processes associated with EHCPs

Where a child is having problems with his/her learning or managing emotions we need to understand why it is happening. We need to be creative and flexible so every child is treated as an individual

Our information, processes and procedures need to be simpler, clearer, easy to follow and consistent

Support has to happen right at the start, as soon as difficulties and differences that have an impact first come to light.

We don’t make enough use of help that may be available locally – in neighbouring schools or in the local community

Parents/carers are the most important people in a child’s life and must be at the centre of decisions that affect their child

We need to make better use of specialist facilities and skills.   We have very few special units attached to mainstream schools and the expertise of special schools could be used more widely in the mainstream sector

Schools and parents/carers need to have quick and easy access to the right sort of help at the right time

Transitions (from early years to primary, primary to secondary, secondary to further education) need to better planned and from an earlier age

Getting the right support at the right time makes for a better school life and a better home life.  

Staff working with children need to have the skills, training and positive approach that can make a real difference.

“It is sometimes frustrating trying to find the person you want to speak to for support”

Year 13 FE College Student

We all need to communicate more effectively with each other to ensure that we share information to help us collectively meet the needs of children

 You can find the feedback from the engagement exercise in the top right corner of this page under 'For more information'.

 

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