North West Regional Update June 2019

The North West Regional Update

The response to our agreed annual priorities for collaborative activity is beginning to take shape as we progress our plans. Building on strong partnerships, including with Ofsted and the Regional Schools Commissioner, will be a common characteristic of our approach to driving regional collaboration and improvement activity in 2019/20. Our priorities are organised into three areas, reflecting the sub-groups of NWADCS and Ofsted remits as detailed below:

Education and School Improvement

• Improve progress and attainment at Key Stage 4

• Secure greater inclusion

• Diminish differences for disadvantaged learners.

Safeguarding and Vulnerable Children

• Safely reduce LAC and improve achievement of permanence

• Understand and embed impactful children in need intervention

• Enhance the response to risk and needs of vulnerable adolescents, including care leavers.

Special Education Needs/Disabilities

• Address the variability in quality of EHC Plans

• Increase the inclusivity of local schools, including SEN Support

• Improve transition and preparation for adulthood.

Regional collaboration in 2019/20 will be characterised by a combination of analysis, collaborative projects and practice sharing. Practice sharing will increasingly be delivered in a targeted focused way, through an adapted approach to our Better for Children seminar programme. These will include input and, for the first time, involvement as participants from Ofsted regional team of inspectors. As we move through the first quarter of 2019/20, the following workstreams are forming part of our initial actions:

Education and School Improvement

• Inclusion analysis – a high-level analysis of inclusion data has been completed, highlighting the range in use of not only fixed period and permanent exclusions, but also the use of Special Schools and Alternative Provision. This is being utilised to identify emerging practice, such as the Committed to Inclusion Mark, and shape more in-depth analysis of trends, including exclusions for children with SEND

• Learning from Strategic School Improvement Fund (SSIF) projects – with projects from early rounds of SSIF funding beginning to demonstrate impact and crystallise transferrable learning, we are working with relevant partnerships to shape a rolling programme of practice sharing. This will include a strong focus on disadvantaged learners, English and maths

• Sub-regional projects – utilising legacy funding, our School Improvement Partnership Board has approved the first of a series of sub-regional projects with matching funding awarded to the Greater Manchester Learning Partnership. Based on a model of working with ‘triads’ of schools – the project will provide for school leaders, including those not currently designated as System Leaders to work in new collaborations to innovate.

Safeguarding and Vulnerable Children

• High Risk Placements – adopting consistent regional solutions to the growing challenge of ‘high risk’ placements for young people is a key strand of our work to improve experiences of Looked After Children. Our initial work will draw on novel data collection to better understand common factors prevalent in high risk placements and identify commissioning practice which mitigates risks and secures improved outcomes for young people

• Placement with parents distance travelled exercise – building on our region-wide audit of cases where children were subject of care orders and placed with their parents in 2017, a distance travelled tool is being developed to assess the impact of our strategy for partnership action. Cases previously audited and similar, more recent, cases will be considered using the tool to act as a ‘control’ group

• Common appreciation of permanence – working with Ofsted HMI as part of our evolving partnership, we are hosting a regional forum to establish a ‘common appreciation’ of permanence for the North West. Utilising a bespoke research review under our regional partnership with Research in Practice, the forum will bring together strategic managers and practitioners to share practice and propose characteristics of good permanence planning to shape and improve practice.

Special Educational Needs/Disabilities

• SEND Commissioning – led by Cheshire East, working in partnership with our regional commissioning service – Placements North West – we are progressing planning for a SEND Regional Purchasing System. Working with providers and parents/carers we intend to co-produce a collaborative purchasing system to meet the needs of children/young with creative and innovative service provision

• DCO/DMO Networking – working with our partners in the health economy is key to our plans to address pressing challenges with the quality and impact of services for children with SEND. A new network for designated clinical/medical officers is providing a systematic mechanism for the key officers in local areas to coordinate support and challenge activity. The network seeks to identify barriers and agree common solutions to improving effectiveness of provision for children and young people with SEND

SEND Peer Challenge – building on learning from other areas, we are currently working across LA, Health and Parent/Carer partnerships to develop a model of SEND ‘Peer Challenges’. We will be piloting a new approach to providing external, peer assurance in June – taking a ‘design by doing’ approach in one local area. Based on some core operating principles, the challenges will include a mandate for peers to challenge local areas on aspects requiring improvement and scrutinise areas of good practice.

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