Agenda item

Report of the Director of Children and Young People’s Futures (DEF/23/12), attached.




The Forum considered the report of the Director of Children’s and Young People’s Futures (DEF/23/12) including as follows:-


(a) Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for attendance, exclusions, elective home education (EHE) and children missing education (CME), since autumn term 2021, to date:
 – whilst there had been some improvement in Special Educational Needs (SEN)/Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP) pupil attendance, there was some work still to be done.  Attendance was a national issue and Devon’s attendance and improvement team was doing further work to understand the reasons with schools and to improve the system;  

-exclusions data indicated that SEN and struggling pupils were more likely to be excluded/suspended, with persistent disruptive behaviour followed by physical assault against a pupil, being the most common reasons for these sanctions;

-there was a Government consultation on proposed changes to the non-statutory EHE guidance for LAs and parents, open to all to comment, closing date 18 January 2024 Elective Home Education guidance review - Department for Education - Citizen Space  Devon’s monitoring of EHE pupils remained well below the annual review target unless there were safeguarding reasons.  Whilst EHE remained a right of parents, there had been a significant increase and Devon needed to understand why, as more EHE pupils were as a result of parents dissatisfied with schools rather than lifestyle choices. EHE data was also time tracking pupils as to the length of time they were EHE. School transition years R, 1, 7, as well as year 10 were EHE spike years; 


(b) Staffing changes of key personnel was reported, including that an appointment was not made to the Head of Education post following the recruitment process, with further interim measures to be announced shortly;


(c) Early Help was to be developed to reduce reliance on EHCPs to address SEN;


(d) Social Emotional Mental Health (SEMH) Partnership Project;


(e) Devon School Admissions had high levels of meeting parental preference/ children being offered places;


(f) 2022/23 Outcomes by key stage, indicated there was a lot of work to do regarding KS2 being below national and regional statistical neighbours, linking the spike in EHE and exclusions in year 7; the low attainment gap widened as pupils moved through the key stages, with pupils needing to be able to access the curriculum to meet their needs; Devon was working closely with Essex Local Authority (LA) which had a similar social mobility pattern;  Devon’s KS4 results were now improving from a historically lower rate;  


(g) School Ofsted - the Head of Education wished to reassure school leaders of the LA’s support to help school improvements where required. 


Discussion also included:-


-Data indicated the more disadvantaged pupils were being EHE, but where there were patterns the LA discussed with schools to understand the context, as well as with Ofsted around inclusivity, to avoid concerns such as off-rolling; 


-A consistent inclusive Devon schools approach and stronger partnership working of the LA, schools and health would improve attendance, exclusion and EHE rates.  A deeper understanding of the data and review of systems could support these vulnerable pupil groups;


-DEF were keen to have clarity around Devon’s arrangements to cover the Head of Education role to avoid disruption to the LA and schools partnership working.




That the Forum thank the two interim Heads of Education for their work and support over recent months and for stepping into the role (until end autumn term 2023).




Head of Education (Rachel Shaw)

Supporting documents: