Thursday, 13 February 2014

Full Council meeting 19 February 2014: news round up from meeting reports

Quarterly Report to The Council - Appendices Booklet
Priorities for 2014/15
The Council will work to improve educational outcomes and narrow the gap for vulnerable groups of children (p8) and begin reviews of SEN and Behaviour (p130):

Children with special educational needs and review of short breaks
"In September 2014, the Children and Families Act will introduce new arrangements for assessing and supporting children with special educational needs and disabilities. Whilst the government recognises that the new legislation will bring greater expectations on local authority resources, we do anticipate that our reviews of current arrangements of services for these groups will deliver savings. We can also see that we will need to carry out a review of ‘short breaks’ following benchmark data showing an above average spend on these in North Yorkshire. Until such a review is completed, we are not able to comment upon the likely impact on the ‘short break’ offer. At the same time, we are committed to improving the experience of disabled young people and their families and to improving their transition to adult provision by trying to achieve greater opportunities for local independent accommodation, employment and training." (p152)

Statement by Children's Service Portfolio Holder Tony Hall
Between 2011-15 Children's Services will have made £20M+ savings
Between 2015-19 Children's Services will make a further £16M savings

"Although these proposals will result in a major transformation of delivery arrangements for some of our services, targeting our support on the most vulnerable and those with the greatest level of need, we have recognised the importance of early intervention and of delivering our statutory responsibilities in terms of safeguarding, special educational needs and disabilities and school improvement. Many will of course be subject to public and staff consultation at appropriate stages in their progression." (P1)

Annual Report by the Young People's Champion, Janet Sanderson (see end of Tony Hall's statement)

As champion, Ms Sanderson made one visit to an event about SPLD strategy, no other mention of SEN is made.

Report of the Executive
"Further review the provision of discretionary home to school transport arrangements including post 16 (Appendix J Sheet 2 (CYPS 5) of the report to the Executive)."(P7)

"Commence a review of delivery arrangements for services to disabled children and their families including the provision of short breaks (Appendix J Sheet 2 (CYPS 8) of the report to the Executive)....Changes to procurement and delivery arrangements would contribute to this project. A saving of this magnitude in the overall provision budget, (including Children’s Resource Centres) could result in a reduction in the level of service provided for families. (CYPS8, P154)"(P7)

"More effective use of the High Needs funding within the Dedicated Schools Grant will create appropriate efficiencies to support relevant and valued services funded through general fund. (CYPS 9, p154)"

Statement by Schools Portfolio Holder Arthur Baker 
Closing the Attainment Gap between those with SEN and those without
"The Council has recently launched a major initiative focussed on raising standards within our schools with the objective of enabling all North Yorkshire children and young people to achieve well..

The “Closing the Gap” innovation project, launched at the start of term, seeks expressions of interest from clusters of schools or teaching alliances who wish to develop innovative ways of closing the progress and attainment gaps between disadvantaged pupils and their peers. The project is supported by significant funding from the Wrea Head Trust and will take place over a period of three years. The work will be monitored by a project board consisting of local headteachers, local authority advisers and academic partners representing The Joseph Rowntree Foundation and the Institute of Effective Education." (P2)

Commission for School Improvement
"At county level an Education Partnership will be established, made up of leaders from the school commissioning groups and the local authority. It will oversee the work of school improvement collaborations and ensure they are set within the wider education agenda and that resources to schools are used and distributed effectively. It will provide oversight and scrutiny of school admission arrangements and approve strategic plans concerning special educational needs, the 14-19 strategy, behaviour management and the education of looked-after children."(P2)

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