East Midlands Update April 2017

SEND Peer Challenge

The regional scheme of peer challenge continues. Three areas have received their SEND Peer Challenge in this last quarter and more colleagues trained and added to the pool of reviewers. The scheme sees mixed teams of senior LA leads, health and parent/carers from different areas visit a ‘host’ area to investigate key lines of enquiry relating to implementation of SEND reform and inspection readiness.

The region’s programme of wider DCS-led peer challenge also continues with three visits currently underway or in the pipeline. During May the EM DCS group is looking to shape plans for the concept of a possible LA Improvement Alliance to move the region’s sector-led improvement model onto the ‘next level’.

Regional Adoption

The region’s work to establish collaborative arrangements for aspects of adoption continues to make progress. In two pilot phases of work, elements of family finding and matching are being developed on a region-wide basis, while a strong sub-regional group is aligning service policy and practice as a step towards stronger partnership. Ongoing challenges remain to demonstrate improved service quality and price within any new models, as is the need to match the strong ethical desire to retain ‘sovereignty’ for children’s outcomes.

Family Support and Early Intervention – a new qualification

The region’s Workforce Leads group is delighted that its work with the SFJ awarding body has led to a new set of qualifications for the children’s workforce to support this vital area of practice. These new awards mean that a pathway from L3 to L6 is now available with a delivery model that is highly flexible to employers’ needs. An online L2 award that will be highly suitable to post-16 college students is now under development. The group’s next phase of work is to seek recognition for this pathway within the apprenticeship arrangements.

Mapping Family Support and Early Help

A mapping exercise is currently underway to share intelligence and exchange practice in the use of interventions and approaches to service delivery that are proven to work well with families at the early stages of help and support. The 2nd Tier Safeguarding Leads group will review this mapping and analysis to see where it can inform smarter commissioning and potentially point to a (sub) regional approach.


Driven and co-ordinated by the quarterly routines of the region’s Improvement and Data Group and underpinned by a data-sharing protocol, the benchmarking and analysis of data between the region’s nine areas continues to add a useful and interesting dimension to collaboration.

  • A subset of early help indicators has been designed and is started to be collected and analysed
  • A set of education indicators is now being analysed at pupil level to drill deeper into the analysis of pupil outcomes by learner characteristics
  • The region’s Early Years Strategic Leads group is also drilling into an analysis of the nature of boys’ achievement as represented in the early learning goals. Boys’ readiness for KS1 is a persistent challenge and this analysis looks to shed light on ways in which early learning experiences might better utilise aspects in which boys seem to thrive to strengthen progress and outcomes in ‘weaker’ areas.

Education Summit

This regular network meeting of the key strategic leaders across the education sector has recently been proving useful to underpin discussions about the introduction of the Strategic School Improvement Fund. The change of RSC and the use of the RSC region rather than the traditional East Midlands is leading to some interesting challenges, but the spirit of working together to seek a strong approach remains as strong as ever.

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