The Parent Carer Forum 'Stronger Together' has co-produced and consulted on the SEND Strategy and the Capital Bid for the development of increased provision for children and young people with ASD/SEMH and who present challenging behaviours at Early Years, Primary and Secondary/Post 16 phases. The recent on line consultation, 96.55% of parents and carers agreed with the proposal for the Capital Bid along with an overwhelming agreement from the major family support groups. The Minister for State for Children and Families recognised South Tyneside as an area of good practice at a national Parent Carer Forum held in December 2017 highlighting the integrated models of working between the Local Authority and the Parent Carer Forum.
The Capital Bid for the further development of provision for children and young people with SEND recognises the close working partnership between the LA, parents and families, schools, settings, colleges and multi-disciplinary professionals. Extensive consultation, meetings and training events have taken place over the past 10 months across South Tyneside to shape the Bid in line with our SEND Strategy named 'Stronger Together' as a recognition of our strong partnership with the families of South Tyneside.
Our Capital Bid outlines the need for additional support and places for children in the Early Years who have ASD/SEMH. This will build on the innovative work based at the 'outstanding' Sue Hedley Nursery school who will extend their provision to support children with SEMH/Communication/Interaction needs up to Reception both in the school and through outreach support and training.
We have a growing number of children in our Primary schools who have social, emotional, mental health and communication/interaction needs and who as a result exhibit challenging behaviour. We have excellent provision at Hebburn Lakes and in our Special Schools, but we need to have more of this provision across the Borough. Lord Blyton is a good school with an excellent reputation for inclusion and working with children who have emotional needs. We intend to further develop this expertise and to establish an Additional Resource Base with 8-10 places and an outreach support service to support primary schools with children with these needs.
Our families and young people have told us that they want more opportunities to get into the world of work and to have the chance to develop friendships and leisure activities locally. We have worked closely with Park View school and the College to identify where we could improve our vocational courses and the transition between school, college and the world of work. Our Capital Bid will support the development of a vocational centre for 25 students in the first instance, in an industrial setting providing a small tailored provision that will have vocational courses alongside support for the young person's emotional and social needs. The centre will be staffed by specialists including support from a mental health professional and who will focus on getting the young people who will have ASD/SEMH needs into College and work through building up confidence and skills that will allow them to cope in mainstream settings. This provision will allow young people with SEND to learn and work in our local community rather than travelling outside the area.
All these areas in the Capital Build Bid are in line with our SEND Strategy 4 strategic priorities that families and young people have agreed with us;
Identifying need at the earliest stage to ensure the right children are in the right placement with the right support
Improving local provision so that our young people can be educated in their communities
Increasing achievement and opportunities for children and young people with SEND
Embedding excellent training and outreach to help with stronger inclusion
In consultation with parents, families and carers the importance of earlier identification was key with a rapid multi-disciplinary response to supporting their child and themselves as a family. They are co-producers and feel that the earlier their child can be identified and an effective specialist package put in place the better.
Sue Hedley Nursery is an 'outstanding provision - Ofsted 2017' and an inclusive setting. Its plays a pivotal part in the LAs SEND Strategy providing specialist multi-disciplinary support, outreach and placements for those children who are exhibiting challenging behaviours. The nursery works closely with Keelman's Way special school which is on the same site along with the Early Excellence Children's Centre and the Early Help team. The LAs SEND Strategy highlights the growing numbers of children in the Early Years who have challenging behaviour, some of whom attend the nursery. The Capital Build monies will refurbish part of the building so that more pupils can access the specialist support and that the specialist provision can be extended to support Reception age pupils.
Currently there are 6 nursery pupils with a diagnosis of ASD and there are 14 pupils in reception classes across the borough with a diagnosis of ASD as the primary need (11) or Speech, Language and Communication Need (SLCN) (3). The data coming through from the Private, Voluntary and Independent settings, Children Centres, Child Minders and Early Years settings demonstrates that the needs of the children coming through are more complex and growing rapidly in number.
The Portage and Pre School Service is about to be located in the Early Excellence Centre on the same site as Sue Hedley Nursery. The expansion of the resource at Sue Hedley would also be supported through the early identification of need by the Portage Service and the multi-agency approach through the work of the Children's Centre and Keelman's Way special school.
Lord Blyton Primary School
In consultation with parents, families and carers the importance of quality SEN support in mainstream schools mattered most. Access to mainstream provision with specialist support was required. The Additional Resource Base would provide this approach for families and Lord Blyton school has a dedicated home/school specialist worker who would provide the support for families that they require.
Lord Blyton is rated as a 'good school' by Ofsted (2017). It is an inclusive school with a clear focus on meeting pupil's individual needs and in particular mental health/emotional wellbeing. The school has a member of staff who is a 'mental health champion' and who is specialist trained. The LAs SEND Strategy has identified a significant rise in pupils with SEMH and ASD at primary, many of whom in addition have communication and interaction needs. The LA is committed to increase the number of schools with Additional Resource Based provision and to reduce their over reliance on special school placements. Currently there are 57 pupils with SEMH in Primary Schools, 31 in special schools/resource bases with 9 being in Bamburgh special school and 2 in out of area specialist provision. There are 157 pupils with ASD as a primary need in primary schools, 59 are in specialist provision with 3 in out of area specialist provision.
The Capital Build monies would provide funds to re model and/or place additional classrooms in the school for an Additional Resource Base to provide for pupils who exhibit changing behaviours, communication and interaction needs and who have a need for a therapeutic multi-disciplinary intervention. The Resource Base would cater for between 8-10 pupils and would provide an outreach service into schools. It would work in partnership with the highly successful Hebburn Lakes Resource Base who have a long history of working with pupils who have SEND.
Park View Vocational Centre
Parents, carers and families are tremendously excited about this vocational provision with a multi-disciplinary team wrap around service. In all consultations with families they are concerned about the lack of specialist vocational pathways and the opportunities for their children to prepare themselves for adult life. In consultation with young people themselves they want to work and plan for the future like anyone else, they want support around life skills, travel training and job hunting. The CAMHS team are particularly keen to support this development.
Park View Special School caters for students with a range of social emotional, mental health and communication, interaction needs. It was rated by Ofsted as a 'good' school in 2017. The LA SEND Strategy recognises that there is a growing need for specialist vocational provision for students 14-19 with SEMH, ASD and those who present challenging behaviours. The SEND Strategy highlights the need to have a clear pathway and effective transition arrangements with a focus on work, employment and leisure activities preparing for adult life (PFA). Currently there are 109 in secondary provision who have a diagnosis of SEMH and 131 with ASD as a primary diagnosis. Of those 109 students who have SEMH, 75 are in special schools with 12 of those placed in out of area provision. 28 students with SEMH attend local college provision and 20 attend out of area or other Post 16 providers. Of those 131 with ASD, 83 attend secondary special schools in South Tyneside and 9 are in out of area provision. There are 65 students with ASD Post 16, 5 in special schools, 36 in local College provision and 24 in out of area provision.
Many of these students are finding it hard to transition into local college and/or work-related settings due to their emotional and behaviour needs and for whom a smaller more bespoke provision is required to get them 'work/college ready'. Tyne Coast College is keen to work in partnership and those students accessing and completing the vocational provision will be guaranteed a place on a course/apprenticeship at the College.