Welcome back to a new school year. I hope you have all had an enjoyable and restful summer and are fully prepared for the year ahead.
In this back to school update I hope to bring you all the news, documents, policies and information that was published over the summer break.
Major review on SEND announced
On the 6th September the DfE announced they were going to carry out a major review of SEND.
The review aims to improve the services available to families who need support, equip staff in schools and colleges to respond effectively to their needs as well as ending the ‘postcode lottery’ they often face.
We are also awaiting the SEND Report from the Education Select Committee and a SEND report from the National Audit Office. Watch this space for more details!
New Ministerial Team
Following the appointment of Boris Johnson as Prime Minister there was a reshuffle of a number of Cabinet posts including within the Department of Education. The new ministerial team is:
- Secretary of State for Education – The Rt Hon Gavin Williamson CBE MP
- Minister of State (Minister for School Standards) – The Rt Hon Nick Gibb MP
- Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Minister for Children and Families) – Kemi Badenoch MP
- Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Minister for the School System) – Lord Agnew
In the last week Kemi Badenoch has gone on maternity leave and Michelle Donelan ( MP, Chippenham) has taken on the role and presumably will take lead political responsibility for the review.
Special educational needs in England: January 2019 – DfE – July 2019
The DfE published the latest information from the school census on pupils with special educational needs (SEN) and SEN provision in schools.
- 318 million pupils identified with SEND (14.9%)
- 200 pupils with EHCP (3.1%)
- Increase of 17,500 since Jan.18
- 047 million on SEN Support (11.9%)
- 23% of those on SEN Support – SLCN
- 29% of those with EHCP – ASD
Keeping Children Safe in Education – DfE – September 2019
On 2nd September 2019 the DfE published the revised Keeping Children Safe in Education statutory guidance for schools and colleges on safeguarding children and safer recruitment.
The only real change from 2018, is the inclusion of the voyeurism activity ‘up skirting’.
Relationships education, relationships and sex education (RSE) and health education – DfE – July 2019
Following the announcement that these subjects would become compulsory from September 2020, the DfE have now published the statutory guidance for schools to follow. Although the new curriculum will be mandatory from September 2020 schools are encouraged to adopt the new curriculum early from September 2019.
Schools must have regard to the guidance and, where they depart from those parts of the guidance which state that they should, or should not, do something, they will need to have good reasons for doing so.
National mental health programme between schools and NHS – DfE – July 2019
The previous Education Secretary Damian Hinds set out the next steps in bringing together services for young people in need of mental health support. He announced a national roll out of a £9.3 million training scheme. The four-year scheme will be led by the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families.
Starting in September, the training will be rolled out to schools and colleges in phases over four years, being offered to up to 22,000 schools and colleges, including alternative provision settings.
The Link Programme will deliver just under 1,000 training sessions across England involving two whole-day workshops for up to 20 schools at a time to cover all 22,000 schools, encouraging collaborative work so children do not fall between the cracks or experience poor transition between services.
Reducing the need for restraint and restrictive intervention – DfE – June 2019
This finalised guidance, published at the same time as the DfE consultation response, is for health services, social care services and special education settings.
It sets out how to support children and young people with learning disabilities, autistic spectrum conditions and mental health difficulties who are at risk of restrictive intervention.
Restraint in mainstream settings and alternative provision –DfE – June 2019
The guidance (above) on reducing the need for restraint and restrictive intervention in special schools (and health and social care settings) aims to help settings adopt a preventative approach to supporting children and young people whose behaviour challenges as a result of learning disabilities, autistic spectrum conditions or mental health difficulties.
The Department for Education wants to gather views on whether:
- there is a need for guidance for mainstream schools, mainstream post-16 settings and alternative provision
- guidance should apply to a wider cohort of children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities
The consultation closes on 17 October 2019.
Teaching online safety in school – DfE – June 2019
DfE recently published guidance supporting schools to teach their pupils how the stay safe online. This guidance is for school leaders, school staff and governing bodies. It applies to all local-authority-maintained schools, academies and free schools.
The interventions and support information may also be helpful for early years settings, colleges and other post-16 institutions.
This guidance outlines how schools can ensure their pupils understand how to stay safe and behave online as part of forthcoming and existing curriculum requirements.
Additional funding for schools includes £700 million for SEND – DfE – August 2019
On 30th August, the government announced a funding boost of £14 billion for schools, from 2020 until 2023. This will include an increase in the minimum per pupil funding, taking secondary schools to a minimum of £5000 per pupil and primary schools to £4000 per pupil, the money includes £700 million in 2020-21 for SEND. There are no details at the moment of how this money will be distributed.
Just over half of all primary schools that are eligible have registered to take part in the pilot of the Reception baseline assessment this September. They will administer the assessment within six weeks of a child joining Reception and will provide feedback prior to the assessment becoming statutory in September 2020.
JCQ ‘Access Arrangements and Reasonable Adjustments’ 2019/2020
The 2019/20 JCQ ‘Access Arrangements and Reasonable Adjustments’ document is now available on the JCQ website.
JCQ has removed the assessment and completion of Form 8 parts of the application process for those needing a reader (either a computer or human) in Access Arrangements and Reasonable Adjustments 2019-20. Now, dyslexic students will be able to have a reader so long as it reflects their normal way of work and that this is evidenced by the school’s SENCO.
JCQ will not be sending out hard copies of the document as they have done in previous years. Instead they have been working on an interactive version of the AARA which will be available through AAO for those of you based in centres who can login to the AAO site.
The plan is for the interactive document to be available in early October.
The PDF version will remain available for those of us not based in a centre.
Whole School SEND Index: An analysis of SEND data nationally and by RSC region – June 2019
The SEND Index looks at national SEND data from across England on a variety of indexes that tell us what is happening for pupils with special educational needs. The measures compared include identification of need, attainment and exclusions.
Overshadowed – The mental health needs of children and young people with learning disabilities – Children and Young Person’s Mental Health Coalition – June 209
This document, Overshadowed, finds that children and young people with learning disabilities are more than four times more likely to develop a mental health problem than average. This means that 14% or one in seven of all children and young people with mental health difficulties in the UK will also have a learning disability.
How to be a Brilliant SENCO – Helen Curran – nasen Spotlight – Routledge
The SENCO Handbook – Sarah Martin-Denham & Steve Watts – Corwin
The Mentally Healthy Schools Workbook – Pooky Knightsmith – Jessica Kingsley Publishers