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EQUALS is a not-for-profit registered charity, first formed in 1994, committed to supporting the work of teachers, TAs, schools and parents/carers of pupils with profound and multiple learning difficulties (PMLD) severe learning difficulties (SLD) and moderate learning difficulties (MLD).

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Budget cuts and school finances, are a major agenda item for schools across the UK at this time, and the ‘National SEND Forum’ have not only recognized and acknowledged the importance of this, but are attempting to campaign on behalf of schools, to help address this issue/concern.

The National Special Educational Needs and Disability Forum is a regular meeting of the leading representatives of significant national organisations in this field. It is attended by the Department for Education. The National SEND Forum (NSENDF) is politically neutral, drawing together the providers, champions and commissioners of services for the most vulnerable in the maintained, non-maintained and independent sectors and across the 0-25 age range. The Forum is facilitated and convened by the Federation of Leaders in Special Education.

The letter below has been sent to the Rt Hon Philip Hammond MP by ‘The National Special Educational Needs and Disability Form’.

 

National SEND Forum 
LPEC 
PO Box 17475 
Bromsgrove 
B60 9LR 

The Rt Hon Philip Hammond MP, 
Chancellor of the Exchequer 
HM Treasury 
1 Horse Guards Road 
London
SW1A 2HQ 

Dear Mr Hammond,

I am writing to you on behalf of the National Special Educational Needs and Disability Forum (NSENDF). We are an organisation bringing together leading representatives of significant national special educational needs and disability (SEND) organisations at both national and local level.

The National SEND Forum (NSENDF) is politically neutral, drawing together the providers, champions and commissioners of services for the most vulnerable across the 0-25 age range in the maintained, non-maintained and independent sectors.

We meet regularly to discuss the issues that are arising across the country within education, health and social care that impact on children and young people with SEND, their families and the professionals who support them.

At a recent meeting there was much discussion again about the funding crisis that is currently being experienced by all local authorities and healthcare trusts. This is having a significant impact on the education, health and well-being of the most vulnerable children and young people in our schools.

The SEND reforms that were introduced in September 2014 have been slowly implemented over the last four years; the promise being that education, health and social care would work in partnership to support the county’s most vulnerable children and young people aged 0-25. At exactly the same time we have seen an erosion of funding from all public sector departments trying to do more with less.

To put this expectation of doing more with less into perspective, there is little in public policy that reflects evidence of the government’s own departments taking account of the increasing numbers, identification, novelty, frequency, severity, complexity and longevity of special educational needs and disabilities in both the child and adult population.

We appreciate the constraints of public finance but without sufficient funding and a more coherent approach, the Children and Families Act 2014 and the SEN Code of Practice 2015 are nothing more than empty promises from the government to parents and children.

There are a number of local authorities who are struggling to set a balanced budget for the next financial year and this is having an impact on the amount of funding that is going to be available to schools in the next twelve months. Many local authorities have deficits in their high needs budget and since there is no longer the opportunity to transfer significant sums of money into the high needs budget from other sources it is going to be very difficult for these to be balanced in the foreseeable future.

There are a number of factors that have led to this crisis, all of which need to be considered when allocating high needs funding to local authorities and subsequently schools.

  • In 2017 the number of pupils with special educational needs and disability (SEND) increased from 1,228,785 (2016) to 1.244,255 and then again in 2018 to 1,276,215. This is an increase of 47,430.
  • With the introduction of the SEND Code of Practice 2014 we saw the SEND system expand to all pupils aged 0-25. This meant an additional number of pupils identified with SEND between the ages of 0-5 and 19-25, however no additional funding was allocated to support this expanded number of pupils eligible for support.
  • The number of pupils with an EHCP and attending a special school has also risen over the last two years by 2% with a greater number having to access non-maintained and independent schools due to their complexity of need and lack of local provision.
  • Every local authority has seen a significant loss of specialist support and provision much of which is now traded and commissioned. This means schools are having to “buy-in” costly support at a time when their school budget is being drastically reduced.
  • The amount (£10,000 per place) that is provided for special schools has never been reviewed and is now insufficient to meet the needs of many complex pupils who require not only additional educational support but have significant medical and personal care needs as well.
  • The notional SEND budget introduced in 2013 is formulated through a calculation based on prior attainment, free school meals and deprivation. This has nothing to do with how many pupils a school may have to be supporting on SEN Support or with an EHCP and yet every school is expected to find up to the first £6000 of additional provision for every-one of their SEND children and young people. This is funding that comes from the school’s block and is not ring-fenced so can and is being used to fill the gap that schools are seeing in their budget allocation.

We cannot forget the number of young people experiencing significant mental health issues with no access to CAMHS and the rise in the number of SEND pupils who are excluded, off-rolled or home educated.

We know from many years of research and evidence that early identification and intervention is the key to support children and yet the number of children identified in early years is still very low. Many local authorities have not been able to fully introduce the two-year development check for all children as promised by the Children and Families Act 2014.

We have seen significant closures of resourced provision or specialist bases situated at mainstream schools – what happened to inclusion?

The recent NAHT report Empty Promises: The crisis in supporting children with SEND, very clearly sets out the challenges that schools are having in meeting the needs of pupils with SEND, often

having to provide services delivered by health professionals but paid for from an education budget. This is not right at a professional, moral or ethical level.

The funding crisis in schools is not only about cuts to education budgets but also the cost to the most vulnerable children and their families of cuts to a range of critical health and social care services as well.

We urge you to re-consider the funding that is being allocated to local authorities and health services to ensure that we do not let down our most vulnerable citizens of the future.

Yours Sincerely

David Bateson OBE

Chair of National SEND Forum


The DfE is funding a ‘SEN/D Workforce Development [DSWD]:  Project-Whole School SEND’.

This is an important opportunity for you as a practitioner and schools in general to influence and inform how their needs in this area are to be met.

Thank you for taking the time to read this carefully. The focus of this invitation is for colleagues working in all phases of schooling in England only.

A survey has been created to give insight into the factors affecting your engagement with special needs and/or disability [SEN/D] related training and Continuing Professional Development [CPD] in school/ setting; how your school/ setting identifies, accesses, uses and follows up on training /CPD; who makes those decisions and the impact they have on the SENCO, Head teacher and teaching staff roles, workload and activity.

This survey takes no more than 20 minutes to complete. To complete the survey please follow this link:

https://uclioe.eu.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_2rCOMJbP24KHFkN

The organisation(s) sending you this invitation will not see your individual answers and will not be involved in processing or analysing the information / answers you give. This will be done by the research team at UCL IOE Centre for Inclusive Education.

You are not asked to identify yourself or your school/ setting in the questionnaire: your contribution will be entirely anonymous and participation is voluntary.

Your opinions and experiences are really important to us.

If you have any questions please email us at: wssen-d@ucl.ac.uk

Thank you very much for taking the time to complete the survey!

 


 

EQUALS has published a ‘Brand New’ Semi-Formal Curriculum, specifically designed and written for learners of all ages with SLD.

The aims of the Schemes of Work project have been

  • to build on the collaborative work of Penny Lacey and Swiss Cottage School;
  • to write outstanding practice schemes of work for non National Curriculum ‘areas of learning’;
  • to involve outstanding teachers in good and outstanding schools throughout England and Wales;
  • to produce schemes of work that are available to all schools on a cost recovery (not for profit) basis through the Equals website;
  • to share best practice within a broad band of stakeholders, including both the DfE and Ofsted.

The general principles governing the schemes of work are that they

  • are developmental in nature and open to personalisation – they start at the beginning of the individual pupil’s learning journey and aim for the highest level of independence possible;
  • cover all stages of education from 2 to 25 (and beyond) but are not directly related to either age or key stage. Learners fit into them where they will according to their individual abilities, interests and learning journey;
  • are not related to the National Curriculum, though the common language of the P scales is occasionally used for ease of understanding.

Below is a short video of just over 11 mins by Peter Imray; our Director of Developments. Peter Imray talks about our brand new Semi-Formal (SLD) Curriculum.

 

To place an order, you can Download an Order Form or Order in Web Shop

 All of the Semi-formal Curriculums are priced at £49.00 + VAT each for Members and £149.00 + VAT for non-members. 

My Citizenship and My Forest School will be available later this academic year.

 

EQUALS Members benefit from significant discounts on EQUALS publications.
The members price for the above publications is only £49 + VAT each.
This involves a saving of £100 + VAT each, compared to Non-members prices

If you would like to become a member of
EQUALS at £120 + VAT for 12 months please click here


To view a preview, please click on a link below

 


Hi all

I am forwarding on a message from Christopher Robertson (Birmingham University) which contains a link to a summary report of Monday 13th July’s Upper Tribunal judgement ruling relating to autism, behaviour and exclusion.

The judge took the view that the Equality Act does not offer sufficient protection against exclusion for children with autism, but I think we can also take this to cover CYP with SLD and PMLD since they can be equally discriminated against when it comes to the view that the behaviour which leads to the exclusion is ‘not a matter of choice’. I am not going to underestimate the significance of this ruling for all schools!!
 
https://www.irwinmitchell.com/newsandmedia/2018/august/aggressive-behaviour-is-not-a-choice-for-autistic-children-jq-671403

All the best

Peter

 


EQUALS Semi-formal SLD Curriculum
Schemes of Work (SoW) – Twilight Workshops

Course Profile

With the Rochford Review confirming that ‘schools already have the freedom to use any curriculum they feel is appropriate for the needs and requirements of pupils’ who are not engaged in ‘subject specific learning’, we seek to explore:

  • What does subject specific learning mean?
  • Who might be involved in subject specific learning and who might not?
  • What kind of curriculum makes sense for learners with SLD who will only ever be able to succeed (at the very best) up to the very beginnings of the National Curriculum?
  • What kind of curriculum model can enable those with SLD to be the very best that they can be and to do the very best that they can do, irrespective of their level of learning difficulty?

 
We seem to be in a position of much greater flexibility than we have been for a very long time which makes for extremely exciting and interesting times in curriculum development!

Below is a short video of just over 11 mins by Peter Imray; our Director of Developments.
Peter Imray talks about our brand new Semi-Formal (SLD) Curriculum.

 

To learn more please click here

 

During 2018
EQUALS successfully delivered
twilight workshops at:

  • Hadrian School, Newcastle
  • Priory Woods School, Middlesbrough
  • Bennerely Fields School, Derbyshire
  • John F Kennedy School, London
  • Swiss Cottage School, London
  • Threeeways School, Bath.
  • Wilson Stuart School, Birmingham.
  • Oak Grove College, Worthing.
  • St Ann’s School, London.
  • Melland High School, Manchester.

Costs for the twilight workshops were:
Only £19 per delegate for EQUALS Members

More workshops are currently being planned for other areas of the UK.

Further training will also be provided for other topics, at some of the schools listed above.

If your school is interested in attending
a twilight training workshop please
email admin@equalsoffice.co.uk

 

EQUALS Twilight Curriculum Training
 

Written by Mike Sissons
and originally developed at The Dales School (North Yorkshire)

MAPP (Semi-Formal) is a suite of materials developed to facilitate the planning, assessment and recording of progress in relation to personal learning intentions.
 
 

 
Whats New in this ‘Semi-Formal’ edition of MAPP?

    • MAPP (Semi-Formal) spreadsheets now generate longitudinal data which provide a graphic presentation of individual progress over time. This process is automated so that no additional administrative burden is placed on teachers
    • Longitudinal data can be transferred from each individual record to a cohort sheet to facilitate reporting and whole school analysis of progress.
    • The MAPP Milestone Statements have been comprehensively rewritten and expanded.
    • A completely new section provides guidance on the implementation of MAPP and addresses the key issue of how to demonstrate that progress is good or better within a framework of personalised assessment.

Below is a short video of almost 11 mins by Mike Sissons; the author of MAPP – Semi-Formal.

Mike Sissons talks about the new MAPP – Semi-Formal.

MAPP (Semi-Formal) at a glance

Section 1 contains the MAPP Milestones. These are not strictly hierarchical and, though they increase in complexity within each section, there is no assumption that learners will work through all of them or approach them in a fixed order. They are intended to guide thinking when writing personal learning intentions; they are not intended to be exclusive and teachers should refer to other relevant resources.

Section 2 contains the Assessment of Lateral Progress (ALP). This is the core instrument in MAPP for assessing progress in relation to learning intentions, whatever their source. It has been used to assess progress in physical development, for example, an area not covered by the Milestone statements but an area which is of vital importance to many pupils with LDD.

In this revised edition of MAPP, the aspect of ‘prompting’ has been renamed ‘independence’.

This is simply a change in language which has been made to provide consistency, and to avoid the confusion that has sometimes arisen over the notion of progress being linked to a reduction in prompting, rather than an increase in independence.

Section 3 offers guidelines on the completion of the MAPP (Semi-Formal) spreadsheets. These spreadsheets generate more information than the spreadsheets in the first edition of MAPP but have been designed in such a way that they do not require teachers to input any additional data.

Section 4 discusses key concepts in MAPP (Semi-Formal) and recommends systems and processes concerning its implementation. This section contains answers to the questions that have most frequently ben raised in training sessions and presentations since the publication of the first edition of MAPP in 2010.

£100.00 + VAT for members and £149.00 for non-members.

* Discounts are available for schools, that previously purchased the first version of MAPP.
Please email paul@equalsoffice.co.uk for further details.

To place an order please click on the ‘Download Order Link’ button below or you can also order through our Webshop.

 

EQUALS Members benefit from significant discounts on EQUALS publications.
The members price for the above publication is only £100 + VAT each.
This involves a saving of £49 + VAT each compared to Non-members prices

If you would like to become a member of
EQUALS at £120 + VAT for 12 months please click here