SEND Sufficiency Plan consultation

Our consultation on the future commissioning of specialist education provision closed on 7 August 2018.

This consultation is now closed.

The SEND Sufficiency Plan describes how Suffolk County Council (SCC) and the Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in Suffolk will develop services for children and young people with Special Educational Needs and disabilities (SEND). This will help us to develop a better local offer to support children and young people with SEND in the future. The sufficiency plan is part of the SEND Strategy 2017-2020. The sufficiency plan is part of priority 3 of the Strategy ‘The Development of Provision and Services’.

The SEND Sufficiency plan will in time cover services and provision for education, health and care, however at this stage we have completed the education sections, and this is what we are sharing in this version of the plan. The Health and Social Care elements will be published in the Autumn.

As many families are already aware, Suffolk does not have enough specialist education places to meet the needs of children and young people with SEND currently.  The information included within the education element of the SEND Sufficiency plan will help Suffolk County Council to make better decisions about what type of specialist education places will be needed in the future, how many, and where those places are needed.

The education element of the plan is broken down into four sections:

  • Part 1: Executive Summary
  • Part 2: Our proposals for the future of specialist education – this is the section that we are now consulting service users and stakeholders on
  • Part 3: Demand – this chapter outlines what we will need to provide to meet the increasing demand for services for children and young people with SEND in Suffolk
  • Part 4: This chapter outlines the current specialist local offer of education places
  • Appendices: Background information

Download the SEND Sufficiency Plan (PDF, 1.3MB).

We have gathered a wide range of data to tell us about the existing supply of places and future needs and we have held workshops with families and education providers to look at this data and help us to shape ideas about what the future specialist education offer should look like.

Where did we get the data from?

We requested information from several different organisations, including:

  • Information from schools
  • Data from health providers e.g. Ipswich Hospital, Norfolk & Suffolk Foundation Trust (NSFT)
  • Looking at the number of young people in specialist education placements
  • Housing growth
  • Feedback from parents
  • National information
  • The number and type of special education places we currently have in Suffolk

It was the first time that we have brought together such a wide range of data, including from health providers, and been able to compare it with the information schools have. This has allowed us to have a far better understanding of where we have gaps in our special education provision, and also to see how Suffolk compares to other parts of the England. We believe this is the first time this has been done anywhere in the country.  

What did the data tell us?

In summary, the data we gathered told us:

  • There will be a further increase in the number of children and young people with Autistic Spectrum Disorder.
  • There will be a considerable rise in the number of children and young people with Moderate Learning Difficulties.
  • There will be a rise in the number of children and young people with Speech Language and Communication Difficulties.
  • There are not enough specialist education places for the numbers of children and young people we will have with SEND now and in the future.

If you are interested in the detailed data, there is a great deal of detailed information behind these headline statements in the supply and demand chapters of the Sufficiency Plan.

There is also a section in the appendices that explains our data methodology.

After we gathered all the information we held several workshops across Suffolk. These were held with both education providers and parent/carers giving them the chance to see the data and to give their views about where we should focus our efforts in developing future specialist education places.  

The feedback we received from everyone was excellent and has been very helpful in shaping our proposals for the future development of specialist education in Suffolk.

We know we need more specialist education places within the Suffolk local offer. The detailed data has given us much better information about how many places and where we need them, and the workshops have helped us to understand what is important to families and education providers.

We need to grow our numbers of places quickly. The demand for specialist places is already greater than the supply available and our information tells us that this will become a bigger problem by 2020. We have used the information from the workshops to develop a set of principles to guide thinking.

In the SEND Sufficiency Plan we set out three options for the future development of specialist education.  We looked at each option in terms of meeting the principles, speed and value for money. The best option on these three measures is to develop a network of specialist units attached to mainstream primary and secondary schools across Suffolk to provide most of the additional places that will be needed, alongside establishing a small number of new special schools where additional demand is especially high.

Now the data has been gathered and we have held both parental and educational workshops we will are consulting all service users and partners, including parents, carers and young people with SEND to give us their views on the principles and the options.