About the strategy
The high needs strategy for Lincolnshire shows our aims over the next three years, so children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) in Lincolnshire have help to thrive in school and in life.
Our inclusive ambition:
- children and young people, parents, carers, and professionals understand the help available to them in Lincolnshire. They will have the right support, at the right time, in the right setting.
- mainstream schools will feel more confident in supporting children and young people with SEND. Schools will continue to work with families, so they feel confident in supporting their child or young person at home too.
- we will continue move away from school exclusions by making sure there is good communication with all services that can help children and young people.
- high aspirations for our children and young people with SEND. We are committed to supporting our children and young people to achieve their goals in order to thrive academically, and to become more independent adults after education.
There are four key parts to the high needs strategy:
- the Local Offer
- education, health and care plans
- how we use information to keep improving
In the strategy there are words and phrases that may be unfamiliar to you. See the inclusion toolkit for definitions.
The Local Offer
Our Local Offer is an online guide to all the services and information available for children and young people aged 0 to 25 with SEND, and their families
We will make our Local Offer stronger so families and settings get the best advice on how to support children and young people. We will make sure it is inclusive so everyone can access the services they need.
Our graduated approach means we will follow a cycle of continually assessing, planning, doing and reviewing the help and support a child or young person needs to make sure the right support is being given at the right time.
For education settings, we have set up a dedicated SEND advice line called Ask SALL. This provides over-the-phone consultations for teachers on how to support children and young people with SEND. Advice is free and easy to access and the Ask SALL advisors are experts in the local offer.
We have provided a set of tools to help settings support children and young people with SEND. Valuing SEND and the Inclusion Toolkit will support teachers in Lincolnshire to better understand the needs of children and young people with SEND and to plan the right support at the right time.
Valuing SEND (VSEND)
The VSEND assessment tool supports settings to assess need, and their ability to meet that need through a series of helpful prompts and questions in three different sections:
- understanding the child or young person’s needs
- understanding how well the setting can support the child or young person’s needs
- understanding how confident the family feels about supporting the child or young person’s needs at home
The first two sections of the tool are completed by teachers in the school, and the home confidence section should be completed in partnership with the family.
Reasons for using the tool:
- helping families and settings talk about a child or young person with SEND and how they can be supported
- helping settings look at different ways to help and support a child or young person with SEND
- helping to identify any support families may need at home
- helping explore differences between a child or young person’s needs at home and at the setting
SEND inclusion toolkit
Once needs have been identified, the inclusion toolkit helps settings to plan support for the child or young person. The toolkit supports VSEND by detailing a wide range of strategies, resources and services to support SEND teaching and learning for each area of need.
Education, health and care plans (EHCP)
What happens if a child or young person needs more support than can be provided by the graduated approach?
Sometimes a child or young person may be well supported by their setting and still need further help to make progress. When this happens, a setting, or sometimes a family, might submit an education, health and care needs assessment request. If the request is approved, an assessment is carried out which may lead to an EHCP being written. An EHCP is a statutory document that sets out what the child or young person’s needs are and how they should be supported.
- the use of our VSEND tool will help ensure there is more openness and consistency across settings. It will encourage settings to improve their capacity to support children and young people with SEND.
- an allocations panel reviews requests submitted by settings and families for EHC needs assessments ensuring they are considered fairly. This helps us to make decisions about how best to support children and young people with SEND.
- if the panel chooses not to grant a request for an EHC needs assessment, the family or setting will be offered a conversation explaining why the request wasn’t taken forward. Further support around how to best support the child or young person will be offered to settings by Ask SALL
- over time we want to build the confidence and ability of settings to apply the graduated approach and make the most of the local offer, so that all requests for EHC needs assessments are for those children and young people who most need them.
Annual reviews of EHCPs
Every year children and young people with an EHCP should have an annual review. The child or young person’s progress is reviewed and decisions are made about how they can best be supported through the next year. This makes sure that the EHCP is kept up to date. The annual reviews should be completed in partnership with families.
- we will make sure that children and young people’s progress is celebrated at their annual reviews.
- VSEND will help track the child or young person’s progress.
- we are committed to capturing the views and wishes of a child or young person when their EHCP is reviewed and this plays a key part in our decision-making process.
- where a child or young person with SEND is not already at a mainstream setting, we will make sure that moving to a mainstream school is explored (where appropriate) at each annual review.
- our EHCPs focus on outcomes for the child or young person, across education, health and social care, enabling independence where possible.
- children, young people and their families will be at the centre of decision-making.
- we will continue to ensure that annual reviews are processed on time so that families are not waiting unnecessarily.
How we will remove the barriers between different types of settings
In Lincolnshire, we have a wide variety of settings available to children and young people with SEND. It is important they can attend the right setting for their needs. We are committed to making sure that when a move between settings has been planned, the experience for the child or young person and their family is as positive as possible.
- we will work with the current and new setting to support children and young people before, during and after they move.
- all pupils who have been excluded in key stage 1 to key stage 3 will move back into mainstream school within sixteen weeks.
- special school pupils who are making the move to mainstream will temporarily be able to attend both mainstream and special schools at the same time to build confidence and make the move easier.
We aim to create ‘safe bases’ in mainstream schools.
Safe bases allow more children and young people with SEND to attend mainstream schools with confidence.
- we will help mainstream schools create a supportive environment for children and young people moving back from special schools.
- we will support and encourage children and young people with SEND to be able to rely less on the safe base over time and reintegrate into the host mainstream school full time, if this appropriately supports their needs.
How we use information to keep improving
To help us make sure we achieve our four ambitions, we will use information from across Lincolnshire. This will help us understand the challenges faced by children and young people with SEND and their families. We will call this our performance management framework.
The performance management framework will show us two things:
- the current and future journeys of children and young people with SEND.
- more detailed information to managers, to help them make decisions on SEND services for children and young people.
How will we know our strategy is working?
- our local offer will meet the needs of children and young people now and into the future
- higher achievements for pupils who have SEND
- reduction in exclusions and pupils who are out of school
- staff in mainstream schools are confident in meeting the needs of children and young people with SEND
- children, young people and their families are confident that mainstream school can meet their needs
- reduction in SEND appeals, tribunals and SEND-related complaints
- parents, pupils and school staff feel more supported and have better access to information
Higher needs top up - mainstream
For 5-16 year olds, the financial regulations require all schools to contribute the first £6,000 of a pupil's SEN from their existing budgets (termed as 'notional SEN'), before the LA will allocate further funding (termed as 'top up'). Schools are not expected to fund the first £6,000 for early years or post 16 EHC plans, and in these instances the LA will pick up the full cost of the EHC plan.
For the 2023-24 financial year, the top up rate has increased to £11.84 per hour. The top up rate will be kept under review during 2023-24.
Higher Needs Top Up – Special School
The top up funding for a school will be paid directly to the educating institution by the LA commissioner (this will usually be Lincolnshire County Council). Top up funding will follow the child, therefore only indicative top up funding allocations can be provided to schools at the start of the financial year (in line with DfE requirements), and adjustments will be made to reflect real-time movements (adjusted on a termly basis).
Each school will have a different top up rate, as this represents each school's banded profile and school's characteristics.
Where pupils are placed from other LAs, the commissioning LA will pay funding directly to the school based on Lincolnshire’s agreed values. It is the school’s responsibility to claim this funding from the relevant LA.