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Buckinghamshire’s Local Area Self Evaluation Framework 0- 25

Buckinghamshire’s Local Area Self Evaluation Framework 0- 25

Download the Local Area Self Evaluation Framework as a PDF

Buckinghamshire’s Self Evaluation (SEF) provides an overview of the work that is being delivered across the Local Area including key areas of strength and areas of development. It is broken down into four main themes:

  1. Strategic development and partnership
  2. Identification of children and young people with SEND
  3. Assessments and meeting the needs of children and young people with SEND
  4. Improving outcomes for children and young people with SEND

Throughout the SEF we have mapped areas of development against our Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) Improvement Plan. This Plan aims to fulfil the ambitions of the SEND and Inclusion Strategy 2021-2023.

Our vision within our strategy is for children and young people with SEND is the same as that for all children in Buckinghamshire:
To build a better future for all children and young people in Buckinghamshire so that they realise their potential, whatever their starting point is.

We will ensure that children and young people:

  • are safe
  • live fulfilling lives
  • are healthy
  • reach their potential in education and other aspects of their lives together with their families
  • are resilient and can identify their own solutions
  • make a positive contribution to their community

In order to deliver our strategy, we have co-produced our Improvement plan, which is a multi-agency plan, owned by the Local Area that provides a framework against which to monitor progress and improvement. The Plan has been informed by Buckinghamshire’s Self Evaluation that identifies areas of strength and development. The ambitions are wide reaching, with eight key priorities:

  1. SEND Support
  2. Sufficiency; Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC) and Social, Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH)
  3. Preparation for Adulthood (PfA)
  4. Joint Commissioning
  5. Statutory Performance (SEND Operations)
  6. Quality Assurance
  7. Local Offer Advisory
  8. Voluntary and Community Sector

Governance arrangements

CYP Partnership board

CYP Partnership board is responsible for:

  • CYP plan
  • Local Area SEND SEF

Send Integrated Service Board

Send Integrated Service Board is responsible for producing:

  • Local area SEND and inclusion strategy
  • Local area SEND Improvement plan

Individual Service Plans

To produce a Individual Service Plan you require:

  1. CYP plan
  2. Local area SEND and inclusion strategy

Or

  1. Local Area SEND SEF
  2. Local area SEND Improvement plan

SEND Integrated Services Board (ISB)

The SEND Integrated Services Board is the key strategic body that oversees the delivery of the SEND and Inclusion Strategy and SEND Improvement Plan.  The role of the Board is to:

  • Provide strategic direction across the local area to ensure the Children and Families Act (2014) is fully understood and embedded.
  • Drive change and improvement, ensuring accountability of all agencies and partners in achieving the aspirations of the Buckinghamshire SEND and Inclusion Strategy and associated SEND Improvement Plan.
  • Understand the functions of the different services and know where the services are in terms of quality and performance. Agencies take full responsibility for managing their own performance.
  • Understand, learn from and act upon the views and experiences of children and young people with SEND and their families, co-producing solutions wherever possible.
  • Challenge underperformance and take action where monitoring indicates that targets are not being met.
  • Understand and contribute to the Self- Evaluation Framework(s) (SEF)
  • Ensure services are streamlined and work together effectively to achieve the best outcomes for children, young people and their families.

The Board is chaired by the Corporate Director, Children’s Services, and includes representatives at senior level from across Education, Health and Social Care, as well as parent/carer and voluntary and community sector representatives.

SEND Improvement Group and Impact Groups

The purpose of the SEND Improvement Group is to drive change and improvement across the local area to ensure children and young people with SEND receive high quality services that meet their needs. Our Impact groups are chairs represent the whole local area including, FACT Bucks, VCS, Health, Schools, Social Care. Specifically, the group:

  • Oversees the implementation of the SEND Improvement Plan, monitoring progress against the actions in the Plan and ensuring they are delivered at pace.
  • Seeks to understand barriers to progress and identifies solutions to overcome these barriers.
  • Identifies issues/risks and mitigates against these, escalating as appropriate where resolution cannot be achieved.

Impact groups take forward the key priorities of the Improvement Plan. They are all multi-agency groups, with specific expertise in the given area.  Impact Group Chairs attend the monthly Improvement Group meeting to update on progress and resolve issues that may be impacting on achieving the outcomes required. 

Buckinghamshire’s Local Area Self Evaluation Framework 0- 25

Executive Summary

Strategic development and partnerships

SEND is a key priority for Buckinghamshire and is owned strategically and politically at the highest levels. The SEND and Inclusion Strategy which was coproduced with all stakeholders, including professionals, young people and parent representatives from Families and Carers Together (FACT) Bucks, the parent/carer forum and Buckinghamshire SEND IAS. 

The strategy reflects collaboration across the Local Area and sets out our collective aspirations for 2021 – 2024. This has been approved by the Cabinet on Tuesday 2nd March 2021.

Leadership across the Local Authority and the CCG is strong and a clear governance structure ensures that all stakeholders including young people, parents and carers are engaged, accountable and part of the solutions. The SEND Integrated Services Board (ISB) includes parent representatives, Voluntary and Community Sector, CCG, Head teachers and is chaired by the Corporate Director of Children Services. This ensures that all services take accountability for their delivery and performance as part of a broader SEND system.

Buckinghamshire benefits from having an established Designated Clinical Officer and has been forward thinking in appointing a Designated Social Care Officer to support joint working and drive areas for development, particularly in relation to statutory processes and quality.

The views of children and young people are actively sought and heard, informing ongoing improvements across services/agencies as well as service transformation. Buckinghamshire knows itself well and has a comprehensive multi-agency plan in place to monitor and report on the progress of our improvement journey. A comprehensive Local Offer has recently been relaunched  via the Buckinghamshire Family Information Service.

Identification of children and young people with SEND

Buckinghamshire has a good record of identifying needs in early years and is in the process of embedding Ordinarily Available Provision guidance to support and embed the graduated approach in all settings.  Further work is needed to ensure all children who require SEN support are identified quickly, and targeted work is happening to ensure this. This is a priority across our SEND Improvement plan. 

One of the challenges we face is the increased numbers of children with Autism and/or SEMH. In response to this we are developing our Sufficiency Strategy, which will detail how the needs of all children will be met over future years.

The timeliness of the 20-week statutory process has improved considerably over the last 12 months, and work continues to ensure needs assessments are consistently timely. Increased management oversight and capacity in Educational Psychology is beginning to make a difference.

Quality assurance work does however highlight issues with the quality of Final Plans and significant activity to increase understanding of the EHCP process across services is underway. It is recognised that a collaborative approach underpins a high-quality holistic Plan and there is work to do to ensure compliance with standards.

Assessment and meeting the needs of children and young people with SEND

Good practice in meeting needs includes our Short Breaks offer that provides enriching experiences as well as respite for families, a strong mental health offer including our Trailblazing site in 49 schools, and the range of provision delivered by our vibrant voluntary and community sector. 90% of our special schools are all graded good or outstanding and are ambitious about what their pupils can achieve.

We have a well-established approach to joint commissioning and services such as Integrated Therapies have been commissioned in this way.  We actively engage our parent carer forum FACT Bucks in our commissioning and Parent Advisory groups are the norm. Communication with parents /carers more generally has improved, and a dedicated Resolutions Team is able to step in early where parents have concerns, reducing complaints overall and ensuring needs are met. We are aware that more work needs to happen to ensure families are consistently involved in co-producing EHC Plans at the earliest stages.

Increase in demand has led to delays in the diagnosis of Autism through our neuro-developmental pathway, and the approach is currently under review by the CCG. We have seen an 8% increase in referrals to CAMHS particularly in relation to Eating Disorders. The service quickly moved to a digital platform where clinically appropriate at the start of the pandemic and has purchased additional remote diagnostic provision to support neuro assessments. Mental health investment for 21/22 will be prioritised in line with demand which is anticipated to continue to increase.

Improving outcomes for Children and young people with SEND

We are confident that children and young people achieve well academically in Bucks in comparison to national averages, however identifying appropriate school places can be challenging. An area of focus within our improvement plan, is to develop robust processes for securing places for Children Looked After (CLA) particularly those placed out of area. The oversight of our Virtual School mitigates this in the short term. 

We are not yet confident that our Preparation for Adulthood Offer is sufficiently robust, or that outcomes are discussed as thoroughly as we would like in Annual Reviews from year 9 upwards. Improvement activity is addressing this, however current capacity means this is not able to progress as quickly as required. We do however have a number of internship opportunities both within the Council and beyond that provide high quality experiences for young people, frequently leading to stable employment.

We are continuing work to reduce the participation gap between young people aged 16-17 with SEND and their peers and to reduce the rate of young people with SEND who are Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET) or whose activity is not known. This work is unpinned by a NEET support Offer, that is targeted depending on need.

We aim to develop a more co-ordinated approach and increased information about supported housing and options available locally.  This will ensure that young people are supported to attend Further Education programmes that are based within the communities in which they live, enabling them the opportunity to be part of their community, make impactful friendship networks and gain a level of independence. We are mapping current housing options available and the uptake with a view to identifying areas to develop and include in future Housing Strategies.

Overall, Buckinghamshire is proactive about addressing the areas identified for development and there is considerable support, engagement and effort across the county from all our key stakeholders.  Achieving our collective ambitions, as set out in our strategy is a common goal.

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