Agenda item

Report of the Interim Director of Children and Young People’s Futures (DEF/23/07), attached.




The Forum considered the Report (DEF/23/07) regarding:-


-Key Performance Indicators (comparing current performance to same time last year), including Attendance, Exclusions, Elective Home Education (EHE), Children Missing Education (CME);


-2021/22 Devon LA’s national ranking;


-Making Attendance Everyone’s Business;


-Children and Young People’s Mental Health;


-Ofsted Complaints data; and


-Shaping Children’s Services to Schools.


The Head of Education’s key issues reported included:-


-that the number of children outside Devon’s education system was a significant concern.  Data showed that Devon performed very poorly compared to other LAs in 2021-22, particularly with Devon’s disadvantaged students;


-there was a concerning higher than previously level of fixed term suspensions and permanent exclusions of pupils.  Schools were struggling with and working hard to support pupils with challenging behaviour within the available resources and skills.  Schools could also be requested to complete a more detailed Annex G exclusions form for submission to the LA to support better monitoring and understanding.  A review of the organisational structure of Devon’s attendance, elective home education and inclusion teams was being planned to better support schools and pupils.


The Interim SEND Strategic Director advised that Devon was the fifth highest LA nationally in relation to children with Education Health Care Plans (EHCPs) identifying Social, Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH) needs, with SEMH referrals routinely quickly escalated. The Team Around the School process offered headteacher support and peer challenge to schools.


Members discussion included:-


-concern that there were instances where schools could not access services required for pupils at risk of permanent exclusion prior to the exclusions process. Exclusion as last resort communications and messaging between County Council leadership, staff and schools should be clear and consistent;


-visit to schools to hear the realities of managing children with challenging behaviour would be welcome;


-the completion and submission to the LA of a more detailed Annex G exclusions form could be difficult for schools to achieve within the timescale after exclusion;


-a significant change in culture to a consistent, one approach of inclusive partnership between the County Council and schools was needed.  A simple flow chart outlining policy and procedure was also requested to support this;


-there was a potential mismatch between schools’ “Good” Ofsted inspection results and the rates of exclusion within Devon;


-the ongoing close working with other LAs on how best to use resources and best practice was welcomed;


-schools should ensure their curriculum met the needs of both SEND children and those with the most challenging behaviour;


-that it was recognised that work was needed to build sufficiency in additional places within schools and workforce and small schools collaboration, so that Devon schools could better support these children and reduce reliance on the independent sector (currently £54m spent on independent provision for challenging children, including residential).  Members considered there was significant potential within mainstream schools and colleges and a willingness to include.     




(a) that the report be noted, subject to comments and concerns above;


(b) that an annual exclusions report including data and reasons for exclusion be made to the Forum, in addition to any more regular updates as necessary;


(c) that a flow chart detailing policy and process regarding exclusions be prepared and circulated as above;


(d) that the Head of Education would further discuss points raised above in her briefing with DCC children’s education and social care staff, be noted.




Head of Education (Rachel Shaw) (b) - (d);


Legal and Democratic Services (Fiona Rutley) – (b) DEF agenda



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