Agenda item

Progress of the Leeds area Special Educational Needs and Disabilities and Alternative Provision Partnership Board

The report of the Leeds area SEND and AP Partnership Board provides and update on the newly re-established Leeds area SEND and AP Partnership Board which brings together local partners with a shared aim.


The report of the Leeds area SEND and AP Partnership Board provided an update on the newly re-established Leeds area SEND and AP Partnership Board which brings together local partners with a shared aim.


The following attended the meeting to present the item:

·  Dan Barton – Deputy Director for Learning, Children’s and Families, Leeds City Council.


The Board was provided with the following information:

·  This was the first update report to the Health and Wellbeing Board regarding the new developed SEND strategy. The aim was to progress a greater strategic alignment between health, social care and education across childhood and the transition to adulthood.

·  The pillars upheld by the Leeds area SEND and AP Partnership Board were noted as, strategy development, inclusion, self evaluation and joint, shared partnerships, including joint chairship between representatives of the NHS and LCC.

·  Members were asked to note the updates on recent progress in key areas relating to the current Everyone’s Included: 2022-27 Leeds SEND and Inclusion Strategy.

·  Working groups were proposed to develop improvement plans for each area identified in consultation with stakeholders across the city.

·  Key working groups to the Board are currently focused on joint commissioning, provision sufficiency, listening to people’s needs, influence and change, transparency, neuro-divergency, workforce training and practices and data analysis.

·  It had been recognised that communications need to be clearer with parents and stakeholders and therefore messaging will, in future, outline the progress of the framework and the offer to people with special education needs, focused on provision for Social, Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH) needs, planned trauma informed practice, the national change programme, life support action plans and arrangements for self evaluation.


During discussions, the following matters were considered:

·  The commitment to listening to people’s lived experience, parents and young people was welcomed. This was noted given recent local and national protests from parents and care providers around the lack of access to SEND provision and that this was exacerbated by the broader financial and cost of living context for them. It was hoped that people will engage positively with the Board, and it was noted that the position in Leeds was better than some other areas. It was however also noted that Leeds had fewer children with a formal Education Health and Care Plan than may be predicted from its demographic profile and the reasons and actions in relation to this needed further development.

·  The Board noted there was a preference for visiting people and families in more comfortable settings, such as at home, schools or forum events, for open dialogue. This was part of the approach being adopted and this was welcomed.

·  The testing of a new approach, referenced on page 69 of the report, and its impact on waiting lists was queried. In response it was noted that an independent review of processes had been conducted which identified new opportunities to increase productivity through technological solutions, such as e-forms, with the aim of improving parents and family experiences. The back log of requests was to be separated and addressed and new entrants will come through the more streamlined approach.

·  The question of the right balance between extended processes for assessments or diagnosis as opposed to access to services and direct help for teachers and parents to support children was made. In response it was agreed there was a requirement for a perception shift so that assessments weren’t required for all cases and the right skills were available to provide support, for instance in every classroom. As assessment lists experience backlogs and some care requirements, particularly in areas of deprivation, may be less visible or hidden, training for identification and provision for special needs were required for front line practitioners and teachers. This training should include meeting needs prior to a diagnosis.

·  It was noted that assessments and diagnoses were a route for schools to access financial support to employ staff or otherwise enable additional support for a child. However, workforce skills and sufficiency gaps meant that it was not a certainty that the identified help was always able to be provided to a child even where funding and need had been established.

·  An update was agreed to be provided back to Members regarding plans for system leadership, partnership working, unexplored capacities and recruitment challenges. Recruitment was identified as complicated challenge with the same pool of staff across the services within health and care systems.



a)  That the proposed revisions to the Leeds area SEND and AP Partnership Board’s terms of reference, including new operational structures and thematic priority areas, be agreed.

b)  That the updates on recent progress in key areas relating to our current Everyone’s Included 2022-27 Leeds SEND and Inclusion strategy, be noted.

c)  That the updates on planned work to ensure rigorous local self-evaluation which will inform revision and refresh of our local SEND and inclusion strategy, be noted.

d)  That the Board encourage ongoing engagement of key partners across education, health, and social care services in the Leeds area SEND and AP Partnership Board and planned activity as detailed in the report.


Supporting documents: