These questions have been sent directly to us or collected from follow up events.
What is TSIL?
Transforming SEND and Inclusion in Leicestershire, or TSIL as it has become known, is a piece of work which aims to improve the experience of children with special educational needs and disabilities.
The programme builds on work that’s already been done, takes into account the increasing demand for support, and the need to ensure children get the right support, at the right time, in the right place.
It's different from past work because there is a focus on all the organisations involved in supporting a child. This is sometimes called 'the system'.
How long will TSIL last? When will we see an impact from it?
Between December 2021 and March 2022 a review took place.
Over the summer of 2022, more data was analysed and we heard from people who have experience of services.
By October 2022, we'd held an engagement event and focus groups. We began to come together as 'design groups'.
By the end of 2022, we expect to have divided the work into chunks, known as 'workstreams'. Each design group will set their timescales and we'll put this on our website.
Are councillors coming to any of these meetings?
Yes. Cllr Deborah Taylor, who is the cabinet member for children and families, has attended several events.
Have SENDIASS been included in these discussions?
Yes, and they are going to be involved in some of the design groups in future.
Can the council and Newton Europe clarify if the purpose of this TSIL aim is to reduce costs?
Each year, the government provides a grant to each council to fund school places for children with special educational needs and disabilities.
At the moment, Leicestershire is overspending this grant by around £10m every year.
Our aim over the next five years is to meet the needs of children fairly and bring our costs in line with the grant we receive.
Finances / savings – where do savings go? Back into SEND System or LA
Our aim is to reduce our spend so it’s in line with the government grant we receive to support children with special educational needs and disabilities.
There are strict rules about what the government grant can be used for. This includes specialist school places, support for high needs, services for pupils at risk of exclusion, some inclusion services and specialist teaching.
If we spend less than the grant we receive, this must be invested into services for children with SEND. It can’t be used on other council services.
Will TSIL ensure that the SEND System and processes is working in a way that is compliant with SEND Legislation?
All decisions made about a child’s provision, support, placement and EHCNAs should be done in a legally compliant way.
The program will seek advice from legal experts to support this aspect of the work.
Is it known if high-cost placements actually make a difference to the outcomes of children and young people?
One of our workstreams will be looking at the evidence for this. This is so that we can be confident that the money we spend is achieving outcomes for children.
We will be looking at a range of evidence, including:
- Special educational needs and disability: an analysis and summary of data sources (DfE)
- Special educational needs in mainstream schools – Guidance report (Education Endowment)
- Trends in spending for children and young people with SEND in England (LGA)
- Evidence of the link between inclusive education and social inclusion
How is current funding spent? Are there some areas where an alternative of equal or better quality could cost less?
Currently, 90% of what we spend to support high needs funds specialist placements and supporting SEN pupils in mainstream schools.
Last year, we spent more than the government grant by £10.8m.
National data shows that Leicestershire has high numbers of Education Health and Care Plans (EHCPs), high spending, but low additional needs within the general population.
How quickly will we get back in touch with people to set up Design forums?
From mid-November, we’ll be contacting people who said they would be part of the design groups.
We aim to have all design groups set up by the end of 2022.
How can we get more health buy-in through the programme? Will Leicester City and Rutland be involved?
Health organisations and neighbouring councils joined us at our event on the 12 October.
We have a joint strategy and people working together on an action plan.
How is data and research being used in decision making about what to change first?
We are considering the priorities which were set out in the government’s green paper, much of which was based on research and best practice.
We are working with experts and using evidence to make improvements.
Why has nothing been shared from the previous project with the LA and Newton Europe? When will this be shared?
The previous work with Newton Europe was a first look at the opportunities. It’s been used to make the case for this dedicated programme.
Evidence from that first piece of work has also informed the Children and Families Overview and Scrutiny Committee report, published in September 2022.
Now that the TSIL programme is underway, data and analysis from the diagnostic, together with more up-to-date information, is being used to inform work. Some of this is being shared through engagement events, design group meetings and other communications.
Communication - how is this going to get better?
We aim to address this in three ways:
- Improving how processes are followed, decisions are made and feedback at individual case level
- Ensuring people from across the partners are part of designing solutions
- Keeping people informed about the programme progress.
How can we find out who a case worker working with our child is? And if they change?
When is synergy coming online for all parents?
We are finalising some technical issues and working through some information governance arrangements, but we will soon be able to start testing Synergy through some pilots before the end of 2022.
There will be further updates made available.
Where do I go to get help?
Leicestershire’s Local Offer - contact the SENA service
Leicestershire SEND Hub led by parent carers.
How does TSIL support or link to Ofsted and CQC area inspections?
In February 2020, Leicestershire’s Ofsted report identified two areas to improve.
This programme isn’t only focused on these areas, but the work we do will contribute to improvements.
How many specialist places are there in Leicestershire? What types?
- Five area special schools
- Three additional special schools focusing on communication and interaction / social emotional and mental health
- 31 specialist enhanced resource bases attached to mainstream schools (three attached to special schools)
- Four specialist nurseries
Leicestershire also has a resource base for Deaf and Hearing-Impaired pupils at Beauchamp Academy known as the Hearing Support Centre.
Where does responsibility lie for training of school staff? Schools or LCC?
Every school must have a qualified SENCO, this is also the case for maintained nurseries.
The Senco works with school leaders on the development of SEN policy and provision, day-to-day responsibility for the SEN policy and co-ordination of specific provision made to support individual pupils.
The Senco provides professional guidance to colleagues and works closely with staff, parents and other agencies.
For non-maintained nurseries there are ‘Area Sencos’ who provide advice and support to early years providers.
Schools must also publish a SEN Information Report on their website. This should explain arrangements for admission, support, facilities, and their accessibility plan.
A full list of what these should include can be found on page 106 of the SEND Code of Practice, it includes staff training.
Is there any way of providing financial support to help people join these events and design groups?
We are not able to offer funding or payment for people to take part in TSIL.
We want to make contributing as easy as possible by creating both face-to-face and virtual opportunities, as well as considering the timing of events.
We will keep working hard on this as we plan future events..