Quote from the client:
Philip Thompson, Head of SEND; awaiting
In August 2017, Blackpool Council commissioned PAG to undertake a strategic review of localised high needs provision for children and young people with SEND aged 0-25 years in Blackpool. Our brief was to consider the effectiveness and value for money of a full range of future provision and high needs options, both locally and out of area.
The review included an evaluation of the extent of inclusive practice in Blackpool’s mainstream schools, as well as assessing whether there was a correct balance of local provision in specialist settings.
Some of the key requirements of the review were to make strategic recommendations of how mainstream provision could best be supported to meet the needs of pupils with SEND, within the context of the national year group expectations and the Ofsted Framework, and how Blackpool Council could most efficiently and effectively use its commissioning function to manage the financial cost of placements and associated costs.
We deployed a strong team with various specialisms including sector specific knowledge relating to SEND, education, research, consultation, and data analysis.
We initially undertook desk-based research and good practice/literature reviews to elicit key data and information relating to the Blackpool locality and relevant benchmarked Local Authorities regarding SEND needs and provision.
The main substance of the review relied on PAGs successful engagement with:
- Senior leaders and officers at Blackpool Council across public health, early years, education, care children and adult services
- Carers of children and young people with SEND
- Educational professionals from early years settings, primary and secondary schools, the localities Pupil Referral Unit, its 3 special schools and its 16 – 19 years establishments
- Local SEND professionals and support organisations
The outcomes of our work
The main outcome of the work was a report which specified strategic recommendations for immediate, short term and long-term inclusion and SEND strategies that could be adopted by Blackpool Council and used to address particular pressures on the High Needs Budget.
A strong theme running throughout the review concerned the levels of pupils being educated in the town’s sole Pupil Referral Unit and 3 specials school. We were able to make recommendations for how Blackpool Council could address and ultimately reduce these figures.
Another key theme of the review was the (growing) incidence and awareness of Social, Emotional Mental Health. The review provided colleagues with the opportunity to come together and identify ways that the Blackpool community could further strategize existing initiatives to ensure that these SEND children and young people were best supported.