IP6 Inclusive schools – background and context

The inspectors recognised outstanding practice across some of our schools but noted that these individual instances were not joined up in such a way as to offer outstanding provision across the system.

Somerset is currently below the national levels for every SEND measure, with high levels of persistent absence for pupils with EHCPs (see table below, February 2021).

Somerset now England now Our target
Persistent absence PRIMARY 32.6% 19.8% 19%
Persistent absence SECONDARY 33.9% 22.7% 22%
Expected standard KS2 7.4% 9.2% 12%
Progress 8 KS4 -1.46 -1.17 -1.00
EET’s 82% 89% 89%

Feedback from schools has helped us to understand some of the issues and to shape our proposals. Six projects have been designed which seek to address the issues and improve outcomes for children and young people with SEND in Somerset:

IP6 Inclusive schools – Delivery

The objective of IP6 (Inclusive schools) of Somerset’s Written Statement of Action is for the education sector, and all partner organisations, including Somerset County Council, to work in partnership to improve the outcomes of children and young people with SEND.

We aim to develop a consistent view of inclusive practice across Somerset, reduce the number of children and young people with SEND who are not accessing education, and increase parental confidence (for parents/carers of children and young people with SEND) in mainstream education in Somerset.

Despite the ongoing impact of Covid-19 on the education community, work has been progressing to move forward with IP6 project activities, thanks to the passion and dedication of all staff involved.

Timelines are emerging as we develop more of the detail of this work, and balance it against demands as a result of the response to Covid-19. The following provides a rough guide of what to expect over the coming 2021 Spring term.

6.1 The Inclusion Inquiry

Aims and objectives
1. To secure agreement within schools and the wider-community about what good evidence-based inclusive practice looks like.
2. To establish a shared commitment to inclusion and positive working relationships, between schools and partners, including the Local Authority, CCG, police and others.
3. To promote the importance of inclusive practice the vision, the benefits, and the principles, which would benefit wider society.
4. Based on the results of the Inquiry, we will produce a series of recommendations for the Somerset inclusion model.

The Inquiry opened on Monday 15 March and collected information up until Friday 30 April 2021. As the work progresses, we will provide an update on progress to date and provide details of the next phase around the focused structured questioning.

You can find more information about the Inclusion Inquiry here

Inclusion Inquiry Leaflet

Young Person – Inclusion Inquiry video clip

You can view a spotlight on IP6 from Amelia Walker – Assistant Director of Education Partnership and Skills below.

What’s next?
The panel will lead evidence-gathering discussions and engagement activities across schools, communities and with children, young people and their families. We will use a combination of a targeted approach and an open invitation for contributions. You may be asked to participate in discussions. If you are invited to participate, the most important thing that you can do is be honest.

Inclusion in Education – What you told us and what we are doing about it

Recommendations to Improve Young People’s Inclusion

6.2 Shared data

Aims and objectives
We will develop a data dashboard/summary to enable shared understanding about school strengths and weaknesses in inclusion practice.

A summary of progress to date
Good progress has been made to develop the data dashboard, with initial drafts demonstrated to Association Executive Officers for their comment.

What’s next?
Work will continue to build the data dashboard. We hope to be able to demonstrate progress to date to SAPH (Somerset Association of Primary Headteachers) and SASH (Somerset Association of Secondary Headteachers) during the 2021 Spring term. We will be looking to seek their views to further shape design.

6.3 Supporting inclusive schools

Aims and objectives
A peer network improvement programme will enable schools to share and build upon existing good practice to improve clarity and understanding to design and implement effective strategy in inclusive practice in and across all educational settings in Somerset to better support and meet the learning needs of young people with SEND, particularly those with SEMH and behaviours that challenge to enable full participation in learning opportunities afforded by their full involvement in school.

A summary of progress to date
Following initial discussions with a leading provider, wider presentations have been scheduled with SAPH and SASH to review options for taking forward this peer led review

What’s next?
A leading provider will be presenting to SASH and SAPH to invite schools to sign up to the Whole Education SEND programme. Schools will be able to choose if and when to participate, and be guided through a self-evaluation and the setting up of an Action Plan in collaboration with colleagues across an identified peer network

6.4 Area-based Structures

Aims and objectives
We have many different structures around schools, including Teams Around the School, Parent and Family Support Advisor (PFSAs), Pupil Referral Units (PRU), Partnerships and Village Agents, but we don’t have a single system to bring them all together. We will review existing structures and work with schools and partners to develop proposals for how SEND networks work together across the County to support Children and Young People with SEND We will link this work to the new Early Help Strategy, which is currently under development.

A summary of progress to date
Initial mapping work has been carried out to understand how our existing structures are distributed across the area, how they link and understand any contractual implications that may apply to existing arrangements. This has included Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO) Forums, PFSA networks and Team around the School teams.

What’s next?
A number of schools and partners will be consulted on the design of a draft survey to capture views around area structures, with a view to then rolling out the survey in the 2021 summer term.

6.5 Pupil voice and participation

Aims and objectives
Many schools recognise the value of listening to pupil voice and there are many different approaches to this across Somerset. We will create a consistent and inclusive model of pupil voice and participation to help shape the delivery of SEND support in schools and allow schools to compare across the local area.

A summary of progress to date
Initial reviews have been undertaken across a range of reports and data to establish how children and young people view the Youth Parliament, School Parliaments and School Councils. Joint work is underway with Public Health to analyse the findings and produce recommendations from these reviews.

What’s next?
Working together with Public Health and IP1, we will develop a good practice guidance specification as part of the co-production framework, which is a WSoA requirement under IP1 and will be developed over the 2021 spring/summer term.

6.6 SEND networks and redrafted co-produced Core Standards

Aims and objectives
We recognise that networks are most effective when they are delivered by practitioners, for practitioners. The SENCO Forum will be empowered to design the forward programme and bring forward issues from wider SEND networks for peer discussion and collaboration. Learning will be shared across all professional networks that support our young people with SEND, in turn giving families confidence that pupils with SEND in mainstream education are well supported.

A summary of progress to date
Initial discussions have taken place with the SENCO Forum to get their feedback on SEND Networks and the Educational Psychology service. This work is closely linked to 6.4 Area Structures and to the recommendations that will come from the Inclusion Inquiry.

Somerset’s Graduated Response Tool has been created to support all users to understand the Graduated Response to Special Educational Needs in the context of current legislation. The document makes it clear ‘what to expect’ in terms of what is provided and is written for parent carers, children and young people, school staff and those who provide services to families.

What’s next?
Discussions will continue with SEND networks and the SENCO Forum around developing networks for peer discussion and collaboration.

The feedback from the Core Standards review will be used to redraft the Core Standards into a finalised co-produced document. There are launch events planned for Spring and Summer 2022.

You can read some Frequently Asked Questions here

We have summarised the above information into a slide pack, which can be found below.

IP6 Information Sheets

Where can I find out more?

Sign up to our newsletter for weekly SEND news updates during term time for SEND improvement updates, parent carer and youth voice engagement and events or activities.

The Somerset Sensory Processing Handbook has been co-produced to raise awareness on sensory processing and provides information in how to support children and young people (CYP) who experience difficulties with sensory processing. You can find the handbook here.

Get in touch

If you have any questions about IP6 work please contact  SENDImprovement1@Somerset.gov.uk