Special Educational Needs Review

Cornwall Council is committed to working with a wide range of partners, including young people, parents and schools, to ensure that there is sufficient, high quality Special Educational Needs (SEN) provision to meet the needs of Cornwall’s children and young people with complex educational needs.

Children and young people with complex needs in this context are those who have a Statement of SEN or an Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan that specifies a high level of provision. High quality SEN provision keeps children and young people safe and enables them to make good or better progress against the outcomes specified in their statements or plans.

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The Council undertook a review of SEN provision in Cornwall, working with partners, to establish: the pattern of educational provision required to meet the needs of learners with complex special educational needs; and the development programme to enable provision improvements to be defined, prioritised and implemented.

The review ran from September 2015 to April 2016 and had a number of distinct phases. More detail about the process can be downloaded.

The following priorities emerged from the review and form the basis of our implementation plan. See our latest updates below which provides examples of some of the activities set out in our plan:

  1. Mainstream schools and settings
  2. Specialist provision in Cornwall
  3. Social Emotional and Mental Health and Autistic Spectrum Disorders
  4. Evaluation of effectiveness

The priorities to develop aspects of special education provision for young people with complex needs are captured in Cornwall’s SEND Strategy for 2016-17.  The multi-agency SEND Board has agreed the actions to be taken this academic year and is monitoring what is happening, as well as providing support and challenge to ensure that progress is maintained.

A team led by the Head of SEN Assessment and Inclusion is responsible for the full range of provision developments.  To achieve the best possible arrangements ongoing partnership working is essential, any questions or recommendations related to provision and developments can be sent to senreform@cornwall.gov.uk.

Mainstream schools and settings

In response to analysis of need and feedback from schools and settings the range and remit of SEN support services continues to develop. For example the role of Physical Needs Advisors is widening to include medical needs, and a broader offer for learning needs is being rolled out. For more information about available SEN services see the main section of The SEN File

We are also expanding the range of training for schools, which can be found in the SEND Training Directory within School Messenger.

Topics now include:

  • Dyslexia Champions
  • Developing Independent Learning Workshops for Deaf Pupils
  • Fun Fit
  • The SENCO's Strategic Role

In response to school feedback, we're also putting on the first Kernow SENCO17.  A fantastic day conference for Cornwall SENCOs on 3 May at the Pavilion Centre Royal Cornwall Showground, Wadebridge. This will be a great professional development opportunity with key notes from Roy Leighton and Gareth Morewood.

Specialist provision in Cornwall

Area resource bases (ARB)

The 2015-16 provision review outcomes endorsed the importance of ARBs within our continuum of specialist provision and made a commitment to expand provision in areas of the county where there is un-met need. During the current school year and again in September 2017 the numbers of secondary ARB places in the east and far west of the county is increasing.

An exciting potential expansion, subject to planning permission, at Trevithick ARB  will lead to a significant increase in ARB capacity for the primary phase. The model of ARBs as free schools within the same Multi Academy Trust (MAT) as their host schools was explored in detail, but this is not currently moving forward. A potential model of some ARBs being linked very closely with the Special Partnership (Special school MAT) is now in the early stages of exploration with a few schools.

Special Free School Developments

We continue to work closely with a number of potential providers of free schools that could cater for different types of SEND in Cornwall. The next round of submissions is anticipated to be in March 2017 but a date has not yet been confirmed.

In addition to this process Local Authorities across the country were invited to set out and outline a bid for an additional complimentary special free school. We have expressed significant interest in the development of a school for highly anxious, phobic pupils with social, emotional and mental health needs. Whether this opportunity will be available will be announced later in 2017.

Any organisation that wishes to receive information or wishes to express an interest in working with us on potential special free school opportunities please email sendreform@cornwall.gov.uk

Social Emotional and Mental Health and Autistic Spectrum Disorders

These were two priority types of need identified in the provision review.  For more information about available SEN services see the main section of The SEN File.

We are also expanding the range of training for schools, which can be found in the SEND Training Directory within School Messenger.

Evaluation of effectiveness

The review process identified a need to be able to judge what difference provision makes for an individual pupil and whether one type of provision is more effective that another in meeting certain types of need. We are currently reviewing models of good practice elsewhere in the country, looking at the performance of schools in the independent sector and developing new measures for use in 2017.