Variance has dominated much of the children’s services narrative for too long now – it’s time to move the debate on to value.
We are excited to announce a new specialist module of the IMPOWER INDEX, which takes an in-depth look at the provision of services for pupils and students with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), under the high needs funding system.
It is a challenge for local authorities to demonstrate outcomes and value in relation to high needs spending. However, our work has shown that the independence of children with SEND (and their sense of inclusion) is maximised when councils focus on outcomes, and on improving the link between needs and the financial resources available. We therefore developed this module as a benchmarking tool to help councils to do this.
We began by devising a series of questions that we wanted the high needs module of the INDEX to cover, grouped under four categories:
- What is the level of high needs and is it changing year by year?
- Are the processes working efficiently to identify and support children with high needs?
- Is there sufficient provision within the geographical area?
- What type of needs do SEND pupils have and does this change by school type or age?
2. Independence and inclusion
- What proportion of high needs pupils are in mainstream schools?
- How are mainstream schools supporting pupils with high needs?
- How big an issue are exclusions?
- Are children with high needs achieving good outcomes in childhood?
- Are young people with high needs achieving good outcomes in preparation for adulthood?
- Do outcomes continue to be evidenced in adulthood?
4. Financial situation
- What is the level of funding?
- How is this changing over time?
- Can councils demonstrate financial grip over high needs?
In order to be able to answer these questions, we needed to collate 39 different nationally available datasets. It’s not surprising therefore that councils are finding it difficult to understand the challenges around demand for children with high needs.
We’ve already shown the high needs module to several Directors of Children’s Services and their management teams. Please contact us if you’re interested in better understanding your own specific situation.