Transforming SEND teaching support services

Changes to the way we support children with special educational needs or disability (SEND)

Bradford Council is making some changes to the way that its specialist teaching and support services support children and young adults with special educational needs or disability

We have listened carefully to feedback from public consultations, and amended our plans in light of what we have learned.

These new plans have now been approved by the council and will come into effect from 1 September 2018.

Why do we need to make changes?

We want children with SEND to do better in school and to have the chance to live a better life. This will help them have greater opportunities, to be more independent and have better emotional health. Bradford is one of the youngest populations in the country. As the number of children and young people continues to rise, so too does the number with SEND.

In the last 2 years the number of children and young people who have been put forward to be assessed for SEND has gone up by 60%.

The complexity of special needs in Bradford is also increasing.

At the same time, the financial support we get from the government has been squeezed. Bradford will only get half of the money it was expecting to get under new funding arrangements and will now only get £7.5m instead of £15m.

Staffing costs are rising significantly, largely due to increased National Insurance and pension costs, whilst the funding per pupil has remained more or less the same. This is affecting every local authority in the country.

It will not be possible to fund the service in the way it has been funded in the past; some change is inevitable. The council published proposals for change in November 2017 and January 2018.  These were followed by periods of consultation with the public, staff and stakeholders.

Results of the consultations

Consultations took place with interested parties in a number of ways:

  • consultation events (day and evening sessions)
  • young people sessions
  • a consultation questionnaire
  • a letter to parents/carers/families with an EHCP
  • email facility for parents and partners to contribute their views.

The main concerns raised were:

  • Some people felt that the SEND provision by the council was already under pressure. Further cuts could only make the situation worse.
  • Reducing the number of portage workers would leave some families isolated.
  • There were questions as to whether the balance of resources allocated to the low and high incidence teams were in the right proportion.
  • There was concern about the plan for the new service to generate 30% of its income. Some people thought that it was unrealistic, and would lead to inequalities.
  • Some people raised a concern about the time it was taking to make some assessments of EHCPs. A number of steps have already been taken to improve this.

The council has listened carefully to concerns of our stakeholders, and the changes we are to make address these concerns wherever possible.

What will change?

The teaching and support services for children and young people (from birth to 25 years of age) who have SEND will be brought together in one service – The SEND Inclusive Education Service.

The SEND Inclusive Education Service will be split into two teams, who will work closely together to support children and their families.

One team will support children who have the types of special educational needs we see most often and include support for very young children

This team will be called the High Incidence Team. Their work will include:

  • Children with autism, learning disabilities and difficulties.
  • Children with social, emotional and mental health needs.
  • Portage home visitors – a pre-school home visiting support service for young children and their families.
  • Equality and access (Inclusion) officers who work with early education settings such as day care nurseries.

The other team will support children who have the types of special educational needs we see less often but are complex

This team will be called the Low Incidence Team. Their work will include:

  • Hearing impairment.
  • Visual impairment.
  • Multi-sensory impairment.
  • Physical and medical needs.

Both teams will also offer support to young people throughout their journey through school, and into training, further education and employment. Both of the teams will work closely together as part of the SEND Inclusive Education Service.

These teams will continue to support all the statutory work that the Council has to provide. Some of the team will generate income, where the work is not legally required and they will look at providing activities such as training, which will help schools, staff and partners to better meet the needs of children and young people with SEND.

There will be a single point of contact for families, children, schools and other settings. This will mean better communication between services, more efficiency and a more joined-up approach to children and young people with SEND.

The SEND Inclusive Education Service will work closely with the Prevention and Early Help service in their four local hubs - Keighley and Shipley, Bradford East, Bradford West and Bradford South.

There will be a much clearer pathway for children and young people to be referred between the two services, communication will be better and there will be a more co-ordinated, joined-up approach.

These changes should mean that we are able to keep the expertise and experience of our specialist SEND teams within the district. They will make sure that all children and young people with SEND get high quality support from the full range of trained specialist staff.

Our aim is that all children and young people with SEND have greater opportunities to be more independent, have better emotional health and can live their lives to the full.

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