Agenda item

Education Transformation Programme - update on progress and spend


AH gave an update on the Education Transformation Programme as follows:

-          Progress had been made against the milestones as detailed in the report; 

-          The report outlined how the money transferred to the High Needs block was being spent to ensure there was a transparency;

-          There was clear governance in place and a lot of scrutiny and challenge including the Children’s Improvement Board which was chaired by a Local Government Association member and formal visits from DfE and NHS England against the Written Statement of Action;

-          In relation to the specialist provision project, schools had been asked how this could be provided to meet the shortfall and there were 78 expressions of interest from 30 schools which were now being considered through a feasibility perspective;

-          The “First Call” – front door service for families accessing information about SEND had been re-badged as “local offer live” to avoid confusion with other services;

-          There would be a review of how top up funding was allocated and this would incorporate early years’ top up funding;

-          A Belonging and Attendance Task Group had been set up to ensure a joined up approach with children’s services to make sure children were safe and back in schools whenever possible;

-          Some co-production projects had been delayed due to the Covid pandemic and consideration was being given to how this could work in the virtual world;

-          Focus was now on the November milestones and whether resources needed to be redirected from areas where it was not possible to deliver to those where progress could be made.


In response to concerns raised about the work experience and careers advice opportunities missed by Key Stage 4 students during lockdown, AH confirmed that the Skills Team were looking at how much support could be offered on line, as well as supporting the roll out of the government’s Kickstart scheme.  She reassured Members that a lot of thought and planning was going into supporting students into employment in the context of the pandemic.


The Forum welcomed the work going on to support post-16 students especially the focus on young people with special educational needs and disabilities.  It was also noted that it was important that information about the work of groups such as the Belonging and Attendance Group should be disseminated to schools and other settings.


In response to a question about the timescales and process for decisions being made about alternative learning provision, AH confirmed that there were a number of issues to consider in making a decision including the location of school/setting and identifying where the need was and also the existing staffing capability.  In terms of decision making, she also advised that academies had their own governance route and this had to be built into the timeframe. 


In response to a question about early years, AH clarified that there was no specific piece of work but that it was included as part of the wider pieces of work.


In response to a question about the impact on next year’s DSG in progressing the programme, it was confirmed that the programme was always intended to be medium term rather than one year, but decisions would need to be taken in relation to funding for future years. 


RESOLVED that the report be noted.


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