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SEND Improvement Partnership Board update – December 2022

Welcome to Devon’s special educational needs and disability (SEND) Improvement Partnership Board update for children, young people, parents, parent carers, carers and professionals.

The SEND Improvement Partnership Board met on Tuesday 13 December, with representatives from Devon County Council (DCC), NHS Devon, Parent Carer Forum Devon, and other delivery organisations.

The information on this page is also sent out in a regular newsletter. You can view and subscribe to the SEND Improvement Partnership Board update newsletter here.


SEND Improvement Plan and next steps

The SEND Improvement Partnership Board submitted the revised SEND Improvement Plan to the Department for Education (DfE) on Monday 12 December. The Department for Education will confirm agreement to the plan, and during this time we will continue to progress with the actions.

Our next steps include developing the workstreams and reporting methods for the plan to ensure progress is being made and to challenge where it is not.

Youth Voice involvement in SEND improvement work

DCC’s SEND Strategic Director met with a group of young people through the SEND Participation Team to have their say on the SEND improvement work in Devon, including the implementation of the SEND Improvement Plan and focusing on the four identified areas of weakness, this work will be ongoing.

Interviews of new permanent case officers

We are continuing to recruit for 17 permanent caseworkers for the DCC SEN 0-25 team. Alongside this recruitment post we have also successfully appointed four new SEN Area Education Officers in November.

These officers are responsible for coordinating the assessment for and maintenance of EHC plans for children and young people with SEN in Devon. Interview panels include parent carers, Devon Information and Advice Service (DiAS) and DCC 0-25 team leaders.

We are currently advertising for more people to join the team. Take a look at the SEN Area Education Officer advert.

Educational Psychologists (EP)

In October, the board took the decision to pause traded Educational Psychologists (EP) services to schools so the EPs could work on assessments for Education Health and Care plans (EHCPs). The board have agreed to extend the pause until 20 February 2023, when traded service delivery will restart, as the EPs are making good progress on the outstanding assessments for EHCPs. This will result in more children and young people receiving educational support that is tailored to their needs. The board recognised there are many children who are outside the education system and not in schools and all children need to be focused on, not just those in the initial assessment phase. DCC are working with local area schools to support them with their other EP needs during this period.

In other news

Devon County Council would like to share the news that Julian Wooster is joining the authority in January as interim Director of Children’s Services. Julian recently retired as DCS at Somerset County Council having successfully guided them from an inadequate Ofsted rating to good.

The council will also welcome Donna Manson as their new Chief Executive in February. Donna has been Chief Executive at Scotland’s largest rural authority, The Highland Council, since 2018. Her background is in Education and Children’s Services in three Scottish councils, having started her career in teaching.


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