Yorkshire Humber November 2015 Update

Peer challenge

14 LA peer challenges have been completed as at October 2015. Internal and external evaluation has provided evidence of a process which makes a difference and is being constantly refined. Round 2 peer challenge has just been launched.

The peer challenge training programme is a shortened version of the LGA peer review training programme. There are now over 50 trained peer challengers in the region. A further training programme is planned for 23 and 24 November 2015 to increase capacity and meet demand.

DfE Innovation funding has enabled the introduction of LSCB peer challenge activity in the region, building on the maturing business process for regional LA peer challenge, but with a key variation being that challenges are led by LSCB chairs rather than DCSs. Six LSCB peer challenges had been planned for the period September 2015 - March 2016. Three had been undertaken as at 30 October 2015.


The region built on outputs from self-assessment by developing a refreshed ‘signatures of risk’ and ‘signatures of strength’ in 2015. Signatures of risk are those things which put LAs most at risk of failing (originally compiled nationally by CIB as a result of an analysis of Ofsted reports). Signatures of strength are based on an analysis of a selection of Ofsted reports and identify the things that get a LA towards ‘good’.

Also developed was a set of critical indicators, which are being trialled in the fourth annual regional self-assessment process (September 2015 – January 2016) and will form the basis for quarterly regional reporting in 2016.

Regional data analysis

A regional database is maintained by Sheffield City Council, which brings together information from education and social care data sets and has produced customised data for the region on the achievement of children in care. This informs annual self-assessment processes.

Leadership development

The region runs a well-established Senior Leaders Programme (SLP) (now on cohort 7) and has also recruited to Cohort 4 of the Aspirant Leaders Programme (ALP). These programmes are designed and delivered in-region, but take account of the leadership constructs and ideas shared on previous and current national programmes. Senior managers are utilised as tutors and the programmes are directed by the SLI coordinator. The cohorts in 2015/16 are the largest ever, numbering 34 (SLP) and 61 (ALP) respectively. The region has developed these programmes for 2015/16, broadening their reach to adult services leaders (nominees make up approximately 40% of participants). The DASS regional network is now a joint sponsor of these activities, with senior adult services colleagues also supplementing the tutorial teams.

A systems thinking programme was commissioned in 2014/15 and is being repeated in 2015/16. Teams from four LAs are engaged, addressing systems issues around school improvement (three areas) and teenage pregnancy. This programme is led by the Virtual Staff College and has received highly positive evaluation.

Innovation workshops

The region is running a series of workshops for 2016 to create opportunities to celebrate and disseminate innovative local practice. These are being based around leadership, ‘voice’, school improvement and safeguarding and are being curated by regional groups overseeing these themes.


Strong links have been established with NHS England around the children’s mental health agenda and the region is co-producing a series of workshops in 2016 which will help to disseminate emerging practice around local transformation plans.

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