Report from Councillor Lucy Smith, Cabinet member for Children and Education Services attached.
Councillor Smith, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People Scrutiny Committee provided a brief overview of the SEND update report. Members were then invited to ask questions.
Councillor McBriar questioned further regarding the SEND Hub as discussed under public questions earlier. Councillor Smith, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People advised that the Council has not applied for funding as there is not any available at the moment. The Government and DfE speak to the council regularly regarding the deficit which is currently at £20million so most conversations are surrounding reducing the deficit. Isobel Booler, Director of Education and Skills advised that Bury was part of a Greater Manchester wide short breaks hub approach and she will check the outcome of this with NHS colleagues.
Councillor McBriar asked for an update with regards to funding for specialist Schools. Members were advised that Bury Council was unsuccessful in the special free school application submitted. Bury was successful in the first and second wave for a secondary ASC specialist provision and a SEMH Secondary provision.
Councillor Pilkington questioned why the Council was unsuccessful on the third wave of the special free school application. Members were informed that the application was approvable it was an extremely competitive wave.
Councillor Whitby raised concerns around SEND provisions in the Borough and the consequential impact this is having on Teachers and SEND Co-ordinators in the Borough. Councillor Smith, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People advised that Project Safety Valve is difficult and Bury is an outlier for how many applications it has for EHCP plans.
Councillor FitzGerald questioned what the graduated approach is and will it help children’s mental health. In response members were advised that firstly there is consideration for what the universal offer is so schools are able to early identify and meet additional need much quicker. There is an online toolkit and shared understanding of what the available provision should be and what can be added to meet need. By ensuring early identification and mental health support at a much earlier stage it is supporting Children’s mental health quicker.
Councillor Lancaster asked a query regarding an epilepsy nurse and ARFID services. Councillor Lancaster asked if staff could be up skilled, we could link in without Councils or other teams to offer an ARFID service. In response Isobel Booler, Director of Education and Skills advised that the funding has been approved and recruitment will be taking place shortly. In addition the CAMHS pathway around eating disorders in need of review and will be discussed with CAMHS colleagues.
Helen Chadwick, Union Representative wished to raise a report she did following a visit to the Social Care team and one team she thought was working well was the Children with Disabilities Team and a good model for other teams.
In addition Helen Chadwick, Union Representative sought assurances on how an extension may impact of the roof of the building of Millwood Primary School. Isobel Booler, Director of Education and Skills the roof has be complex but the work is progressing and the School continues to work around the building.
Councillor Smith, advised that the key priority going forward for her would be children not in school as we have a duty to give children an education.
Councillor FitzGerald advised that she is at Greater Manchester Health Scrutiny on 08.03.23 is addressing the increase in children presenting mental health issues so will circulate the report on this.