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Children, Schools and Families Directorate

Essential maintenance will be taking place on a number of online systems on Sunday 24 June between 10am and 5pm. This may lead to some parts of the website being unavailable at times. Apologies for any inconvenience caused.

We have overall responsibility for ensuring that the needs of children and young people are addressed across Cornwall, working with our partners and together with other agencies in line with the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment. We work together with partners to secure the best possible start for children and young people through inclusion in education and by providing social care to vulnerable children and their families.

The Children, Schools and Families Directorate is made of up two service areas:

We act as the Council lead for safeguarding children and young people, supporting families and working together with others to deliver a wide range of the Council’s statutory duties to help and protect vulnerable children. They include children who have special educational needs and disabilities, unaccompanied asylum-seeking children, other children in need, young offenders, children subject to child protection plans, children in care and care leavers. We are also responsible for the Council’s statutory Adoption and Fostering Services.  We also support the educational inclusion of the children at greatest risk of poor outcomes, helping to close the gap between them and their peers in the wider child population. Some of our services are delivered jointly with the Council for the Isles of Scilly.  More and more are delivered jointly with children’s community health services.

What we do:

Children’s Psychology Services - our services include educational and child psychology, supporting children and young people with emotional wellbeing and mental health needs; children with special educational needs and learning disabilities; prioritising children who have experienced trauma.  Children’s psychology and social care are increasingly integrated, helping to provide a multi-disciplinary assessment of need for children with multiple conditions.

Disabled Children and Therapy Services – we provide early support and portage to children with diagnoses of disability and their families.  We undertake the majority of assessment and care planning in acute and complex cases where children have severe and enduring disabilities and illnesses, including occupational therapy.  We provide a wide range of short breaks to give disabled children additional learning experiences through play and their carers a break.

Area-based Children and Family Services - we provide a range of early help for families to enable them to overcome the difficulties they are facing with the aim of helping and protecting the most vulnerable children and young people in Cornwall. These services include: a multi-agency Early Help Hub; children’s centre services; access to a wide range of family support and parenting programmes; targeted youth support for the most vulnerable young people; a multi-agency referral unit for accessing children’s social care; and the full range of statutory social work services.

Children on the Edge of Care Services – we provide a specialist, multi-disciplinary service to support children on the edge of care and their families, with the aim of preventing family breakdown and keeping children out of the care system, either at home or with their wider family.  This service incorporates the youth offending service for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

Children in Care and Care Leavers Services, including Fostering and Adoption – we deliver the full range of statutory services to support children in care and young people making the transition from care to independence.  The service leads on empowering children in care and care leavers to participate; supporting children in private fostering arrangements; receiving and supporting unaccompanied asylum-seeking children; providing specialist support to kinship carers, including special guardians; and life-long adoption support.   

Safeguarding Children Standards Unit – we focus on reviewing the quality of practice quality and the effectiveness of child plans in helping the child to achieve improved outcomes. We lead on the Quality Assurance and Performance Management of the whole service and key. This is done through independent reviews of plans, case auditing and providing feedback on the quality of practice.  It provides the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) function for overseeing the response to allegations of professional abuse and supports the multi-agency Safeguarding Children Board for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

Specialist Practice Development and Education Unit – we set the practice quality standards for the full range of specialist practice, aimed at supporting social workers and other frontline practitioners to constantly improve the quality and consistency of their practice. The unit is responsible for the Trainee Social Worker Scheme; the Assessed and Supported Year in Employment for newly qualified social workers; the Career and Qualification Pathway for social workers; the Core Curriculum; and the full range of pre and post-qualifying practice education. Elements of the Core Curriculum are made available to partner professionals.

Children’s Commissioning Services – we work together with health commissioners to agree outcomes-based commissioning intentions across education, health and social care.  These are based on one vision; a shared understanding of need; agreed priorities and outcomes; a commitment to evidence-based practice; and an agreed basket of meaningful measures.  We lead on procurement and contract management. Many of the contracts are tendered, awarded and managed on behalf of the Isles of Scilly.

Business Support and Administration Services – we provide specialist business and administrative support to the full range of frontline teams, helping to reduce the bureaucratic burden on frontline practitioners.  We manage and develop the Integrated Children’s System, which is the specialist data base for recording the full range of work with children and families. We also provide specialist finance support to the service, ensuring accurate and timely payments to foster carers, special guardians and adopters.  We provide the data for the Quality Assurance & Performance Management and all the statutory social care performance returns to the Department for Education. 

We work to ensure that no child is left behind and that young people are prepared for adulthood through effective and accessible education solutions that support the closing in opportunity gaps between those most and least likely to receive full education. We ensure schools continue to be integral to their local communities and meet educational standards and statutory obligations set out by the Departments for Education.  We also develop and deliver attractive Adult Education services that support Cornish residents in developing skills that support their careers and wellbeing.

What we do:

All children young people and families in Cornwall are entitled to world class education that helps them to achieve the best possible outcomes at every stage. Education is a critical element of the infrastructure of Cornwall. It will be high quality, sustainable and flexible to meet the changing needs of the residents of Cornwall from birth to adulthood. The provision of world class educational opportunities underpins and drives the development of the economic prosperity for Cornwall.

The Service actively engages in key partnerships such as the Children’s Trust BoardRaising Aspiration and Achievement Board and Employment & Skills Board, to promote partnership working that delivers improved outcomes for children and young people in Cornwall. The Education Strategy provides ambition, focus and resources for developing world class education opportunities.

Special Educational Needs

We will ensure effective systems are in place to support the statutory duties placed on the Council in respect of the Children and Families Act 2014 and the SEND Code of Practice 0-25 2015.

Our partners are children and young people, their families, schools and settings, health providers and commissioners, adult and children’s social care and voluntary sector organisations.

We work together to:

  • Ensure children and young people with special educational needs can access the educational provision they require
  • Achieve positive outcomes such as independence, community inclusion and employment as well as appropriate academic attainments.
  • Encourage a culture of high aspiration

Find out more by visiting the Special Educational Needs File.

Early Years and Foundation

This team, consisting of staff from the Early Years Improvement Team, the Family Information Service, Childcare Training and the Child Development Centres, works to ensure that Cornwall Council fulfils its duties under the Childcare Acts of 2006 and 2016. We also implement the Integrated Early Years Strategy (2016-18), support the delivery of the Education Strategy within Cornwall and contributes to the Raising Aspiration and Achievement Strategy. The team support the work of the School Effectiveness team with regard to children who access early years provision on school sites, both prior to and after they have started the reception year

Community Adult Education and Learning

Cornwall Adult Education Service is a community based organisation which currently makes use of over 350 venues across the county to reflect its commitment to make learning as accessible as possible. The service seeks to provide a learning programme which enables all adults in the county to develop their skills, knowledge, judgement, interests and creativity, whatever their particular needs

Education Access and Sufficiency

We are responsible for the Education Welfare Service and championing children’s rights to education and inclusion. We implement the Council’s Pupil Place Planning Strategy (2015-20) to ensure the greatest possible provision of school places and access to them throughout Cornwall which includes management of all school admissions and children’s transport entitlement. We also work to ensure the quality and standards of schools’ infrastructure.

Functions include:

Education welfare services for schools and pupils, including; Elective Home Education, education provision for vulnerable pupils including children excluded from or missing from school, unable to attend school for medical / health reasons and children without a school place; School Admissions, Pupil and Student Transport, Education Capital Programmes, Policy and Organisation, Equality and Diversity and Services for Schools.

School Effectiveness

The School Effectiveness Team supports the delivery and improvement of education for children and young people aged 0 - 18 years old. It identifies, develops and sustains effective partnerships with all education providers, ensuring improved outcomes for children and young people. Officers coordinate school improvement support and challenge for maintained primary and secondary schools, other schools and settings irrespective of status, as appropriate for these institutions in the delivery area.

In addition the Head of School Effectiveness provides strategic and tactical leadership for the Virtual School for Children in Care and on behalf of both Children in Care to the Local Authority and those placed into Cornwall by other authorities to:

  • Extend and develop educational opportunities and enable them to access such opportunities
  • To improve the educational achievement of Children in Care
  • Promote the social and emotional well-being of Children in Care

11-25 Pathways to Employment

Pathways to employment is the 5th priority of Cornwall’s RAAS strategy (2014/15). It encompasses the key factors that impact upon the Raising the Participation Age (RPA) agenda in addition to contributing to the Employment and Skills Strategy for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

The P2E team facilitates collaborative working with partners to develop and implement a shared strategy for Cornwall addressing the 11 – 25 pathways and RPA agenda. In particular, this includes:

Partnerships and Improvement

The Partnerships and Improvement Team is responsible for commissioning, strategy, partnership and funding programmes that support complex and vulnerable families and emotional resilience and wellbeing of young people. The team works closely with a range of services, organisations and partnerships including the Health and Wellbeing BoardChildren's Trust BoardSafer Cornwall, the Employment and Skills Board and Local Nature Partnership to find innovative approaches to supporting wellbeing and integration of services. The team with services to identify ways of enhancing mainstream resources through transformation programmes, in particular maximising European and other sources of funding to promote participation and employment and access to work for those furthest from the labour market.