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Current services in relation to need

Background papers: children :: Special educational needs and disabilities [Update in progress] :: Current services in relation to need

The proportion of pupils with statements who are educated in local maintained provision has increased since 2009. The numbers of pupils awaiting placement has significantly reduced since 2009.

  2009 2010 2011 2012
Maintained LA 52.8% 51.0% 70.7% 81.8%
Not yet placed 29.1% 28.0% 12.0% 2.2%
Out of area mainstream 1.4% 1.0% 1.1% 1.1%
Out of area special 5.2% 6.0% 4.6% 4.2%
Independent non-maintained 9.4% 12.0% 10.2% 9.1%
Independent tuition 2.1% 2.0% 1.4% 1.6%
Table 1: Percentage of statemented pupils as at September

Currently the following major service areas exist in Medway:
• Special schools
• Pupil Referral Units (PRU)
• Inclusive Mainstream Provision
• Specialist support services

Special schools

Medway currently resources four special schools, these are for pupils who have (significant) vulnerabilities including complex medical needs, complex Moderate, Severe and Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties.

Danecourt School is the Primary phase provision for pupils who have Moderate Learning Difficulties (MLD) and MLD with autism. As mainstream schools become more adept at supporting pupils with moderate learning difficulties Danecourt School will support them to develop further expertise to enable them to meet the needs of more challenging pupils and those with complex speech and language needs.

Bradfields School is the Secondary phase provision for pupils who have Moderate Learning Difficulties, with additional layers of complexity. Within Bradfields is Blue Zone which supports pupils with MLD or SLD who are within the autistic spectrum. Bradfields has Post 16 provision offers basic and other skill courses, skills for life, vocational skills, work experience, link courses and leisure pursuits. This provision relocated in September 2011, as the old site will be used in a new academy build.

Abbey Court School is a cross phase provision for pupils who have Severe Learning Difficulties (SLD) and Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties (PMLD). They have a primary school site (Foundation Stage and Key Stages 1 and 2) in Gillingham and the secondary site (Key Stages 3 and 4) is in Strood. Abbey Court also offers a facility for post 16 education. The Foundation provision now admits children from age 3 years for those children who are likely to need specialist provision and allows earlier intervention.

Rivermead is a Community School providing education for learners who are unable to access mainstream schooling. It provides a nurturing environment and small group teaching for children with a range of complex needs. It also provides hospital and medical tuition. Many of the students attending Rivermead have a mainstream school to return to although some children have Rivermead named on a statement of special educational needs.

It is an aim that all children have access to a peer group so that they can develop reciprocal friendships. There are groups of children who can best develop these through the careful support and intervention of skilled staff working with pupils who have similar needs and experience related difficulties.

Pupil Referral Units (PRUs)

There are 2 pupil referral units in Medway, Silverbank Park and Will Adams. They have a particularly important role as Medway does not have any EBD special schools. Although they have good post 16 progression, they don't in themselves offer post 16 placements.

The Onside project based at Silverbank Park aims to develop therapeutic provision for young people at risk of exclusion and/or where their emotional distress puts them at risk of developing more entrenched mental health difficulties. Outreach currently operates from Silverbank Park but not Will Adams.

The PRUs work closely with the Inclusion Team and have been enabling schools to find alternatives to permanent exclusion. Both PRUs have a clear potential to further develop and embed skills within mainstream settings on supporting distressed and distressing adolescents whose behavior is very challenging.

Silverbank Park is unusual as a PRU since it has a high proportion of statemented pupils placed there. Recently a bid was made to enable part of Silverbank to become an EBD school, rather than remain as a PRU. Inclusive Mainstream Provision (sometimes called 'Special Units') In addition to the special schools described above, Medway supports places at specific inclusive mainstream provision. This is part of specialist support within mainstream provision.

The variety of needs catered for in this inclusive way are:


• Autism — primary and secondary schools
• Hearing impairment — primary
• Visual impairment — primary and secondary
• Physical impairment — primary with secondary in 'designated' schools
• Emotional and behaviour difficulties — primary
• Speech and language — primary and secondary
• Specific learning difficulties — secondary
• Vulnerable — secondary
• Moderate learning difficulties — primary and secondary
• Post–16 Rivermead/Mid–Kent Partnership based at Mid–Kent College for vulnerable pupils, many with autism/Asperger Syndrome

The purpose of the additionally resourced places is to provide specialist support for children who have complex needs and require additional resources not normally available to the mainstream school. The physical organisation of Medway's inclusive additionally resourced provision, in relation to their mainstream school, depends on the needs of the pupils they support.

Flexibility to adapt the focus of the provision if need changes over time is important and will be discussed and planned with schools. For example an existing Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 provision for children who have physical difficulties (completely integrated within the mainstream setting) now has significant vacancies due to parents choosing a local mainstream option.

Specialist Services

Current SEN legislation recognises that additional support is required for the most complex needs. Traditionally such additional support was offered by local authorities. In Medway schools and academies now hold much of the budget for purchasing these additional services. The LA still provides some specialist services free of charge to schools and some of these have a statutory role. These include Educational, Child and Community Psychology Service, Inclusion Team, Autism Outreach Team and Physical and Sensory Service. A key function of all these teams is to increase schools' ability to meet the complex needs of those identified with SEND. In addition, the LA commissions support for schools from outreach teams based at Chalklands BESD unit, Danecourt primary and Bradfields secondary schools for those with significant behavioural or learning difficulties, sometimes with autism. These services are essential in order to offer pupils with SEND the best opportunity for succeeding in mainstream schools.

Pupils with SEN are supported by specialist support services provided by the Local Authority. These include:


• Educational, Child and Community Psychology Service
• Physical and Sensory Service
• Inclusion Team
• Autism Outreach
• Specialist Behaviour and Learning Support Teachers

Educational and Child Psychologists are available to schools and other professionals when additional support is needed to help understand why a pupil is not making progress or is struggling with aspects of school in spite of school based interventions being put in place. Support can take the form of consultations with staff, direct work with individual or groups of pupils or staff, training, whole school development or further assessment. They also take part in CAFs or Annual Reviews where there are complex issues requiring psychological input.

Between April and September 2012, ECPs offered 1275 consultations to school staff, gave direct support or assessment to clarify need and inform intervention to 437 pupils and took part in 57 CAFs.

Pathfinder –- SEN Financing

The Green Paper has clearly signaled that there will be a requirement to have more joined up services and there will be one assessment and plan for health, education and social care needs and a duty for all agencies to co–operate in single assessment and planning. This will mean that at a strategic level there will need to be ways of allocating and providing resources according to assessed need. Draft legislation places a duty on health and local authorities to jointly commission health, social care and education services for children and young people with SEND.

The new single assessment will replace the current system where those transferring from school to FE college have a completely different assessment, a Learning Difficulties Assessment. It is anticipated this will aid transition which has been reported on by many families nationally as not streamlined or supportive enough. Improved transition into further education, training and employment is a key outcome focused on at a national level currently.

One of the central ideas in the Special Educational Needs Green Paper is making sure that services and support are more “personalised”. This means that children, young people and their families have as much choice and control as possible over the support they need and that support is built around the individual rather than trying to fit into existing services or ways of support.

One way of making this happen is the introduction of a Personal Budget — an up–front allocation of resources (which could be a direct payment) that the child, young person or family can use to meet an identified need. The Pathfinder will explore ways in which Personal Budgets can be made available using resources currently in social care, health and education. This work will include identifying what money can be used, what it can be used for and a method for deciding how much the budget will be.

The trials will also include making sure that the support people need to manage a personal budget is also in place. Personal budgets should link with the single assessment process and the single plan which will specify outcomes for the young person and the resources required to achieve these.

As part of the SEND Pathfinder, Medway is planning to pilot personal budgets for a group of disabled children and young people. We are investigating how to include funding from a range of sectors, including health and some education costs if appropriate and possible. There are implications for all services working with children and young people across health, social care and education to ensure that new legislative requirements which are due to be in place by 2014 can be met.

School funding, and in particular, funding for special needs, is being radically overhauled. This may have implications for the commissioning of specialist educational provision in the near future.