Do you have a child in Bristol with an Education Health Care Plan (EHCP) who has been pushed out of their education setting? We know that unfortunately this does happen in the city. We asked Bristol City Council at People Scrutiny Commission at the end of September what action they take against settings that do this
Q: Exactly what action does the council take against education settings who push out Send learners with EHCPs? Please answer with specific details around the exact process and reference the policy. If nothing happens, please also state this. If you have no policy regarding this please also state that in your answer.
A: Bristol City Council is committed to supporting and challenging schools around the areas of inclusion and exclusions.
There are many factors that can contribute to a child or young person developing a disconnection from their education and/or educational institution. Therefore, there is not one pathway, policy or procedure but rather a collective responsibility and positive action will depend on the child or young person’s needs and specific circumstance. The Bristol Belonging Strategy: Belonging in Education 2021 – 2024 provides the overarching framework to guide planning and action. ‘As part of this strategy all children and young people should have access to education that is inclusive and values diversity.
There are many touch points and forums for teams and between teams, across the Local Authority, to share information, skills, expertise and provide support to minimise and remove barriers prior to escalation, for children and young people, whatever these may be.
Currently, Bristol City Council’s Inclusion Hub offers an inclusion surgery and daily drop-in sessions to offer schools help and support where there are concerns in supporting individual children and young people. SEND Officers attend regularly.
Other avenues where SEND Officers are represented alongside other teams (such as Schools Partnerships, Safeguarding in Education Team, Education Welfare Service, The Hope Virtual School, The Inclusion Hub, Educational Psychology Service and The Youth Justice Team) include; the Bristol Inclusion & Fair Access Panel, the Attendance & Belonging Group, Education, Training & Employment Group and ALPFAM.
These forums are mainly child and young person level designed to offer the right help, support and expertise at the right time; addressing the needs of individual children and young people with the overarching aim to avoid children and young people being ‘pushed out’ and exclusion or placement breakdown occurring.
The Government expects local authorities and schools to work together to prevent children becoming Children Missing Education (CME). A pupil’s name can only lawfully be deleted from the admission register on the grounds prescribed in regulation 8 of the Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2006 as amended.
Schools are reminded that they may wish to seek their own legal advice before deleting a pupil’s name from the admission register. Bristol City Council Children Missing Education guidance document outlines when a pupil’s name may be removed from the admissions register at a non-standard transition point.
Ongoing systemic concerns, within a school setting, arising within any forum, within the Local Authority, can be escalated to senior leader level through the pathway ‘schools causing concern’ for audience with the Director of Education and the wider senior leader team. Action to be taken will be agreed by the Senior Leader Team on a case-by-case basis.
This pathway is currently under review following recent changes to the senior leadership team. The Local Authority are looking to develop this further in which will include IT opportunities to support consistency and information sharing across the directorate.
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