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The government confirms funding for SEN support

The government has recently announced a new multi-million pound fund to support children and families with SEN.

Edward Timpson announced this news on [Monday] 9 January at the Department for Education. The funding, totalling almost £60million, will be available from April of this year.

The government’s recent SEN support press release

‘The funding announced includes:

  • £15 million for the Independent Supporters programme in 2017 to 2018, run by the Council for Disabled Children, this has been a real driver of change for families navigating the SEND system and improving the experience for them
  • £2.3 million for Parent Carer Forums in 2017 to 2018, who bring parents together and provide a voice to influence local decision-making
  • £1.8 million to Contact a Family, to support individual Parent Carer Forums and their National Network, and to run a national helpline for families

The package also includes funding for councils worth £40 million, which the minister wrote to them about shortly before Christmas. This investment, an increase of £4.2 million from last year (2016 to 2017) will support them to make effective plans for this important final year of the transition to the new SEND system.

Minister Edward Timpson said:

“These reforms are the most significant we’ve made to the support for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities in a generation and we know that they are making a difference, thanks to the passion and dedication of all those involved.

“As we enter the final year of the transition, I know there are still challenges to overcome, to ensure that the inspiring work going on in many parts of the country is shared with areas where improvements still need to be made.

“That’s why I’m delighted to be able to confirm this additional funding for councils and for the groups playing such a vital role in supporting children with SEND. All children, no matter the obstacles they face, should have the same opportunities for success as any other.”‘

Editor’s note

Read the government’s press release in full.

In addition to this, our recent interview with Edward Timpson MP appeared in issue 18 of The SEND Practitioner.

Read the latest issue of The SEND Practitioner.

Issue 18 of The SEND Practitioner published recently

Issue 18 published on Sunday 8 January 2017 and features a cornucopia of expertise.

Edward Timpson MP (Minister of State for Vulnerable Children and Families) and Dr Adam Boddison (CEO of nasen) answer our readers’ questions on the Code of Practice, early identification, nominal budgets, the new national curriculum, the Rochford Review, SEND and teacher training courses, and 2017 and beyond. While Brian Lamb OBE looks at the SEND reforms and asks where are we now?

There’s a summary of  a recent research study that we carried out with hundreds of our Certificate in Psychometric Testing, Assessment and Access Arrangements’ (CPT3A) delegates and a couple of Q&As with two of our most recent CPT3A graduates.

Read issue 18.

Issue 18: The SEND Practitioner

The SEND Practitioner

Issue 18
The SEND reforms, the new curriculum and the Rochford Review

January/February 2017
With Edward Timpson MP, Dr Adam Boddison and Brian Lamb OBE

In this issue

  • A Q&A with Edward Timpson MP (DfE): We asked the Minister of State for Vulnerable Children and Families your questions about the SEND reforms and more. We discussed the Code of Practice, early identification, nominal budgets, the new national curriculum, the Rochford Review, SEND and teacher training courses, and 2017 and beyond. Read more…
  • A Q&A with Dr Adam Boddison (nasen): In January 2016, Adam was appointed nasen’s CEO. Since then, he has embarked on a vigorous expansion of the country’s leading SEND membership organisation for education professionals. With this in mind, we were keen to ask Adam many of the same questions that we posed to Edward Timpson. Read more…
  • The SEND reforms: Where are we now? By Brian Lamb OBE: In 2009, Brian wrote the widely respected Lamb Inquiry: Special educational needs and parental confidence. In this piece, Brian casts his expert eye over the state of the nation’s SEND reforms. His progress analysis of education, health and care plans (EHCPs), outcomes, the local offer and strategic engagement is food for thought. Read more…

Plus

  • What do our CPT3A graduates think of our course?                                   
    A research summary. Read more…

  • What do our CPT3A graduates say about our course?                                  Two Q&As. Read more…

Editorial

Even from a neutral perspective, 2016 was one of the most extraordinary years in living memory. As we begin 2017, the political status quo is in such a state of flux globally and domestically, that many ‘givens’ and established norms have been swept away by a tide of populism. In the wake of such a year, when the only certainty is the undertow of uncertainty, it is tempting to look at our education and health systems as safety-nets of stability. But even here, in the great public institutions that sustain and nurture our humanity, there is uncertainty.

Navigating this turbulence would be tricky enough at the best of times. But, combine this post-Brexit world with the pre-Brexit education reforms and one realises that the sheer external and internal forces at sea are daunting. And yet, despite this, SEND practitioners and the education system have shown remarkable resilience in a stormy time that is as far from the doldrums as Cape Horn is from the English Channel.

So, with all of this playing out – and at the beginning of a new year – it’s important to seek guidance from those in the know: those who make the decisions in government; those who support our practitioners; and those who are experts in the art of policy. With this squarely in view, I drew together a dream-team wish-list of experts for my readers to pose their questions to: three of them duly obliged and I commend their invaluable insights to you.

You sent in a flood of questions, I pared them and posed them to the country’s most influential SEND figure (the Minister of State for Vulnerable Children and Families, Edward Timpson) and the chief executive of one of the most high-profile charities for SEND practitioners (the CEO of nasen, Dr Adam Boddison). Their responses to many similar questions set out their views on such things as the Code of Practice, early identification, nominal budgets, the new national curriculum, the Rochford Review, teacher training and other SEND questions. Most importantly, their answers reveal similarities and differences that not only reflect their positions, but also shed light on the SEND landscape and education more generally.

To complement the Q&As, I thought that it would also be useful to commission a thought-leadership piece on the SEND reforms from one of the country’s most respected SEND policy experts and academics. I was thrilled when Brian Lamb accepted my proposal and his progress analysis of education, health and care plans (EHCPs), outcomes, the local offer and strategic engagement is elucidating.

Finally, as you may well have noticed, the initial email that links to this issue has been redesigned, so that it is cleaner, easier to navigate, and links to the pieces on our website. This means that we’re not clogging up your inbox with 1,000s of words, but giving you a summary of each piece, which you can click-through-to on our website should you wish. This allows us to provide you with even more useful content. To this end, you’ll not only find a summary of a research survey that we carried out with hundreds of our successful CPT3A delegates; but you can also read a separate Q&A with two of our most recent CPT3A graduates.

Thank you so much for subscribing to The SEND Practitioner. I hope that you find it useful and that you have a fine start to 2017.

Best wishes,

Edward Farrow
Editor
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Real Group welcomes new head of marketing and sales

We are delighted that Stuart Curry has recently joined the company as Real Group’s head of marketing and sales.

Prior to this, Stuart worked across a variety of sectors, including not-for-profit, consumer and business publishing, membership bodies, and finance. He is based at our Greenwich office and will support the marketing and sales team, while working closely with all departments and directors to continue Real Group’s financial growth. He will also assist with the development of new business propositions and areas of activity.

Stuart emphasised how much he has relished working with the team and learning about the positive aspects of our work:

‘I am really enjoying working with an incredibly dedicated and committed small team and getting to learn about the fantastic, valuable work that the company does in the sector – helping to change lives.’

He looks forward to working with Real Group to expand and meet the many challenges facing education professionals and their pupils.

What SEND practitioners must know about the latest Joint Council for Qualifications’ (JCQ) regulations – a clarification

Alan Macgregor discusses the latest JCQ requirements for SEND practitioners

Since Alan Macgregor’s previous blog, we have received a number of calls about the 100-hour requirement.

We stated in the previous blog that:

‘…all access arrangements assessors need to have a postgraduate qualification at, or equivalent to level 7; and, as part of that qualification, they are also required to have carried out at least 100 hours relating to individual specialist assessment.’

We have realised that this wording seems to imply that the 100 hours all has to relate to individual specialist assessment. This was unintentional. In fact it is the course that has to exceed the 100 hours criterion, so a better phrasing might have been:

‘…all access arrangements assessors need to have a postgraduate qualification at, or equivalent to level 7; and, as part of that qualification, they are also required to have completed a course of at least 100 hours relating to individual specialist assessment.’

It was our intention to highlight and clarify the first option below listed in the JCQ regulations which states:

A head of centre will appoint:

  • an access arrangements assessor who has successfully completed a postgraduate course at or equivalent to Level 7, including at least 100 hours relating to individual specialist assessment. An access arrangements assessor may conduct assessments to be recorded within Section C of Form 8; and/or
  • an appropriately qualified psychologist registered with the Health & Care Professions Council who may conduct assessments to be recorded within Section C of Form 8 and where necessary undertake full diagnostic assessments; and/or
  • a specialist assessor with a current SpLD Assessment Practising Certificate, as awarded by Patoss, Dyslexia Action or BDA and listed on the SASC website, who may conduct assessments to be recorded within Section C of Form 8 and where necessary undertake full diagnostic assessments.

So we would like to be really clear that the first bullet point above means that the course, whichever course that is, must cover at least 100 hours of study relating to assessment this doesn’t mean 100 hours of psychometric testing. While at Real Training we generally do not give an exact number of hours that any course will take, as different people progress at different rates, the CPT3A course is accredited in such a fashion that it comfortably exceeds this requirement. In summary, by completing and passing CPT3A delivered by Real Training, you can be assured that this requirement is met.

The other thing we would like to clarify is that this change does not apply to HCPC-registered psychologists or to those that hold an Assessment Practising Certificate (APC), who are still covered by the second and third options on the list. We had not anticipated that either of these groups would think that they might be affected, but we are happy to reassure them that they do not have to take notice of this change.

Please accept our apologies for any confusion, which was not our intention. And please do contact us if you would like to discuss this further.

What SEND practitioners must know about the latest Joint Council for Qualifications’ (JCQ) regulations

Alan Macgregor discusses the latest JCQ requirements for SEND practitioners

With only ten months to go until the JCQ qualification requirements come into force, Alan Macgregor (one of Real Training’s directors) highlights the key changes that every practising access arrangements assessor must meet before 1 September 2017.

Every year, the JCQ brings out new regulations that affect teaching professionals who assess candidates with SEND for exam access arrangements. In recent years, the adjustments have been gradual and it’s been easy for practitioners to adapt to them. By 1 September 2017, however, all existing access arrangements assessors (formerly specialist assessors) must comply with two critical elements if they are to continue to practise.

The two critical changes that must be met

Before 1 September 2017, all access arrangements assessors need to have a postgraduate qualification at, or equivalent to level 7; and, as part of that qualification, they are also required to have carried out at least 100 hours relating to individual specialist assessment. So, if the person responsible for exam access arrangements in a setting does not meet these essential requirements, then they will need to ensure that they meet them before 1 September 2017. If they do not do this within this timeframe, then all access arrangements in their setting will need to be carried out by someone else who meets the new requirements – either an internal member of staff or an external consultant.

Who is likely to be affected by these changes?

We’ve received quite a few calls from SENCOs who have a postgraduate SEND qualification and have carried out assessments in their setting for many years. However, come 1 September 2017, they will simply not be able to practise, because either their postgraduate qualification is not level-7-equivalent, or their level-7-equivalent qualification did not include at least 100 hours relating to individual specialist assessment.

What about Form 8?

The latest Form 8 has caused a few problems for those who do not have a postgraduate qualification at, or equivalent to level 7, with at least 100 hours relating to individual specialist assessment. Why? Because there used to be a section for them to complete in Form 8, which has since been removed in anticipation of the 1 September 2017 deadline. Access arrangements assessors who do not meet the key requirements will not be able to complete Form 8 and their setting will need to employ someone else who meets the new requirements – either an internal member of staff or an external consultant.

What course can access arrangements assessors take to fully meet the new requirements?

Access arrangements assessors who need to upskill between now and 1 September 2017, can take our Certificate in Psychometric Testing, Assessment and Access Arrangements (CPT3A). This course is made up of the Certificate of Competence in Educational Testing (CCET) and the Access Arrangements Course (AAC), both of which can be studied online or intensively. This joint course will enable delegates to learn how to use psychometric instruments effectively (CCET) and apply them in exam access arrangements (AAC) confidently and competently. Those who already have CCET, can take AAC on its own.

If you have any queries, or would like to know how we can help you navigate these changes, take a look at our website, or get in touch.

Read the JCQ’s latest assessor criteria.

The Rochford Review: final report is out

On 19 October 2016, the Rochford Review: final report published. It sets out the recommendations of the independent Rochford Review group and follows on from the Rochford Review’s interim recommendations, which were published in December of last year.

The government aims to consult on the recommendations of this review in early 2017. Final decisions will be made in the wake of that consultation.

In the interim, the government suggests that ‘schools should continue to use the pre-key stage standards and P scales for the statutory assessment of pupils working below the standard of the national curriculum tests’.

The ten recommendations of the Rochford Review: final report are set out verbatim below:

Recommendations

‘The review makes the following recommendations to government for the statutory assessment of pupils working below the standard of national curriculum tests at the end of key stages 1 and 2:

  1. The removal of the statutory requirement to assess pupils using P scales.
  2. The interim pre-key stage standards for pupils working below the standard of national curriculum tests are made permanent and extended to include all pupils engaged in subject-specific learning.
  3. Schools assess pupils’ development in all 4 areas of need outlined in the SEND Code of Practice, but statutory assessment for pupils who are not engaged in subject-specific learning should be limited to the area of cognition and learning.
  4. A statutory duty to assess pupils not engaged in subject-specific learning against the following 7 aspects of cognition and learning and report this to parents and carers: responsiveness, curiosity, discovery, anticipation, persistence, initiation, investigation
  5. Following recommendation 4, schools should decide their own approach to making these assessments according to the curriculum they use and the needs of their pupils.
  6. Initial teacher training (ITT) and Continuing professional development (CPD) for staff in educational settings should reflect the need for teachers to have a greater understanding of assessing pupils working below the standard of national curriculum tests, including those pupils with SEND who are not engaged in subject-specific learning.
  7. Where there is demonstrable good practice in schools, those schools should actively share their expertise and practice with others. Schools in need of support should actively seek out and create links with those that can help to support them.
  8. Schools should work collaboratively to develop an understanding of good practice in assessing pupils working below the standard of national curriculum tests, particularly across different educational settings. Schools should support this by actively engaging in quality assurance, such as through school governance and peer review.
  9. There should be no requirement to submit assessment data on the 7 areas of cognition and learning to the DfE, but schools must be able to provide evidence to support a dialogue with parents and carers, inspectors, regional schools commissioners, local authorities, school governors and those engaged in peer review to ensure robust and effective accountability.
  10. Further work should be done to consider the best way to support schools with assessing pupils with EAL.’

Read the Rochford Review: final report.

Snapshots from the world of SEND

June

  • 16 June: issue 16 of The SEND Practitioner published (a special issue for the Autism Show featuring Dr Temple Grandin, Steve Silberman and Dr Sue Sheppard)
  • 17 and 18 June: exhibited at the Autism Show, where Dr Sue Sheppard spoke about the innovative work in schools supporting learners with autism
  • 22 June: ‘What parents told the government’s review into the SEND reforms’
  • 23 June: the Brexit vote fell in favour of the UK leaving the European Union by a slim majority.
  • 23 June: ‘Poor pupils are still let down’, warns Ofsted boss
  • 24 June: Dr Mark Turner (our director) responded to the Brexit vote
  • 27 June: ‘How will Brexit affect children and young people with disabilities
  • 27 June: our learning design and psychology team popped over to Krakow for EU-funded project: Q-Tales
  • 28 June: ‘Two-thirds of parents fear child’s mental illness a life sentence’
  • 29 June: Ofsted considers scrapping outstanding grade, says new chief inspector
  • 30 June: Real Group reviewed the reforms with colleagues at London’s SEN Policy Forum.

July

  • 1 July: the DfE sent an update on the EU referendum result and its impact on the DfE
  • 4 July: concerns raised that special schools are being ‘left out’ by the academy system
  • 7 July: delegates encouraged to enrol on our new one-day face-to-face Assessment and Access Arrangements Update (AAU) course
  • 8 July: Nicky Morgan presses ahead with the process of appointing Amanda Spielman as the new Ofsted boss – despite concerns about her suitability.
  • 13 July: our delegates graduated from Middlesex University
  • 13 July: Dr Sue Sheppard penned a super piece on the importance of developing flexible programmes of support for learners
  • 14 July: SEN finally to be part of England’s core teacher training
  • 15 July: Kay Bedford OBE left Swiss Cottage School, after 21 years at its helm.
  • 16 July: Edward Timpson MP confirms that he will remain Minister of State for the DfE.
  • 25 July: DfE updated its SEN statistics

August

  • 3 August: DfE published the July edition of their SEND newsletter
  • 3 August: we interviewed the Children’s Commissioner for England (Anne Longfield OBE) for issue 17 of The SEND Practitioner.
  • 4 August: Sue wrote an important piece on whether initial teacher training should include specialist autism training
  • 15 August: a poll of education staff suggests that too many pupils with SEND in England lack crucial support
  • 19 August: an excellent overview of exam access arrangements and the key role that they play
  • 22 August: sad news about the recent passing of Brian Rix. He made a huge contribution to Mencap and SEND during his lifetime
  • 23 August: Ofsted boss in Isle of Wight row quits
  • 24 August: during July and August, the DfE published five outcome letters from inspections of local area services for children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities
  • 25 August: we officially welcomed four new colleagues to our growing organisation (Hannah Fairall, Abby Grieve, Andrew Heap and Katie Hickmott)
  • 31 August: the European Commission signed off our Q-Tales collaboration in Luxembourg.

Issue 17: The SEND Practitioner

The SEND Practitioner

Issue 17
Children and young people’s
mental health

September/October 2016
With Anne Longfield OBE
and Sarah Norris

In this issue

  • Anne Longfield OBE (Children’s Commissioner for England) discusses the state of the nation’s child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) via: CAMHS cuts, SEN general annual grant (GAG) funding, demographics, exclusions, legal aid, and the post-Brexit landscape. Read more…
  • Sarah Norris (senior educational psychologist (EP)) explores the particular challenges facing professionals who support children and young people with social, emotional and mental health (SEMH) difficulties. Read more…

Editorial

In 1954, Pearl S. Buck, author and winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the Nobel Prize in Literature, wrote that “the test of a civilization is the way that it cares for its helpless members”. Her moving words echoed similar sentiments expressed by Samuel Johnson and Mahatma Gandhi many decades earlier. Sentiments that, at their very heart, frame the state of a nation’s health, not in terms of its financial or cultural wealth, but in respect of the welfare of its most vulnerable citizens.

Children and young people with mental health difficulties are one of those vulnerable groups who face a range of challenges in a country grappling with funding constraints, legislative reforms and post-Brexit uncertainties. With so many big questions dominating the headlines it is, perhaps, easy to get preoccupied with their impact on us and forget that the most vulnerable members of our society tend to be most affected when times are tough.

With this in mind, I was really pleased to speak to the Children’s Commissioner for England, to get a better sense of the real and pressing problems facing children and young people with mental health difficulties. The fact that Anne works so closely with young people, in pursuit of her statutory duty to champion, safeguard and promote their rights, means that she is uniquely placed to comment. To get the practitioner’s viewpoint, I was also grateful for the opportunity to speak to our very own Sarah Norris. Sarah is a talented and respected senior educational psychologist and an expert in this important area.

I do hope that you find this issue useful and that, in some small way, it helps you in your practice. At this moment, children and young people face such a myriad of mental health challenges that SEND practitioners are in a powerful position to enable some of this country’s most vulnerable individuals to thrive.

Thank you for continuing to read and engage with this publication over the past two years. I very much appreciate your invaluable input and look forward to speaking to some more high-profile experts in subsequent issues. As ever, please do let me know your thoughts, comments or suggestions.

Kind regards,

Edward Farrow
Editor
edward@realgroup.co.uk
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