Agenda item

Special Educational Needs Strategy and Funding

Report of the Director of Children and Adults Services


The Director of Children and Adults Services submitted a report (previously circulated) to provide Members with a summary of plans to consult on a strategic plan for delivering better outcomes for children and young people with special educational needs and proposed amendments to the application of the High Needs Block in relation to children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND).


It was reported that Darlington’s Special Educational Needs Strategy 2017-2020 was approved by Cabinet on 5 December 2017 and this updated version builds on progress to date, identifying what has been achieved and the priorities for action up to 2022.


The vision for the strategy is to promote inclusion, maximizes young people’s opportunities to be independent and enables young people with special educational needs and disabilities to be recognized as fully integrated citizens with the ability to contribute to their local community; and the strategy has been written to respond to the key priorities set out in the SEND code of practice, and highlights local strategic aims associated with each priority area for implementation.


It was also reported that consultation on the revised SEND strategy and the proposed new funding arrangements was currently being undertaken and will conclude on 28 November 2018.


Members discussed the consultation process and agreed that it would be beneficial for Members of this Scrutiny to attend the various events arranged and to meet thereafter to discuss a Scrutiny response to the proposed Strategy and funding arrangements.


Members also discussed the increased demand for special educational provision and the move from statements to Educational Health Care Plans and the impact on the authority and the schools budgets


The Cabinet Member with the Children and Young People portfolio reiterated that there was still a lot of work to be done and there were challenges for every local authority as a consequence of the changes and the increasing number of young people with special educational needs.   She also confirmed that a lot of work had already been undertaken to gauge the views of schools and families and the discussions with schools that had been undertaken had been very positive.


RESOLVED – (a) That the report be noted.


(b) That the consultation on the revised SEND Strategy and the proposed amended funding arrangements be noted.


(c) That Members of this Scrutiny respond to the proposals outlined in the consultation.


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