Agenda and minutes

SEND Sub-Committee - Thursday, 28th September, 2023 2.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Sessions House, County Hall, Maidstone. View directions

Contact: Gaetano Romagnuolo  03000 416624


No. Item


Apologies and Substitutes

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Apologies for absence were received from Mr Dendor, Mrs Hudson, Mr Lehmann, Mr Rayner, Mr Reidy, Mr Roper Mr Whiting and Ms Ainslie-Malik. Mr Booth substituted for Mr Dendor. Mrs Prendergast substituted for Mr Whiting.



Declarations of Interest by Members in Items on the Agenda

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Minutes of the meeting held on 25 July 2023 pdf icon PDF 283 KB

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RESOLVED that the minutes be approved as a correct record.



Kent Local Area Accelerated Progress Plan pdf icon PDF 216 KB

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1)    Mr Love introduced the report. He explained that the Accelerated Progress Plan included a very detailed set of steps that had been agreed for KCC to take in order to address areas of weakness that had been identified by Ofsted and the CQC in 2022. One crucial aspect was the need to change to a customer-centred culture that focused culture that was focused on continuous improvement.


2)    In answer to a question, Christine McInnes explained that the CYPE Directorate had commissioned a former National Schools Adjudicator to undertake a thorough review of the tribunal process to address its recommendations. The Directorate had produced a robust action plan Progress would be reviewed at the end of 2023 and would be reported back to the SEND Sub-Committee.


3)    Asked whether the tribunal process would be led by lawyers rather than CYPE Directorate officers, Christine McInnes explained that, given the volume of cases, the cost of using lawyers for each one would be prohibitive.


4)    In reply to a question, Craig Chapman said that there were 157 children with a final EHCP who were currently still seeking a school placement.


5)    In response to a question about whether mainstream schools in Kent were equipped to educate children and young people with special needs, she explained that the issue was la ack of consistent practice. She accepted and apologised that, in some cases, this provision was not working for some children with SEND and their families, but this was not the case across the board.


a)    Craig Chapman accepted that the backlog was unacceptable and said that a dedicated team was established to address it. There were multiple conversations with schools that were unwilling, or unable, to offer places.


b)    Mr Love explained that, as a result of the work carried out by KCC this year alone, every home to school transport application for children with SEND that had been received within the timescales had been processed before the start of the school term. This was an example of the progress that had been made.


6)    A Member asked why some Kent schools refused to educate more children with SEND, Craig Chapman said that schools used criteria within the Code of Practice to determine whether they were able to provide the support that these children required.


a)    Alice Gleave explained that KCC had a team of advisers whose role was to support and advise schools on how they could best meet the needs of children and young people with SEND.


b)    Mr Love said that most Kent mainstream schools had very good inclusion practices. Nonetheless, inclusion was now part of the Ofsted inspection framework, and this provided a degree of leverage on schools with poorer practice.


7)    In reply to a question about the reasons for the rising numbers of children educated at home, Cristine McInnes explained that Covid was a key factor. The medical view was that the best education setting for most children with low and medium levels of anxiety was  ...  view the full minutes text for item 21.


Report by the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman pdf icon PDF 222 KB

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1)    The report outlined the actions the Council had taken, and proposed to take, in response to the Report by the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (LGSCO) Investigation into a complaint about Kent County Council.


2)    The Ombudsman had stated that KCC should consider the report at its full Council, Cabinet or other appropriately delegated committee of elected members, and that evidence that this happened would be required by the 5th October 2023. In view of this timescale, the SEND Sub-Committee was deemed the most appropriate forum.


3)    Mr Love explained that this report referred to a complaint that had been made to the Ombudsman before the Ofsted and CQC Revisit in September 2022. He said that the Authority would continue to make every effort to improve its SEND provision and to minimise complaints.


RESOLVED – The SEND Sub-Committee noted the contents of the report.



Future Meeting Dates

All the meetings will be held in the Council Chamber, Sessions House, Maidstone, Kent, ME14 1XQ.


Tuesday 31 October 2023, 2pm

Thursday 7 December 2023, 2pm

Wednesday 7 February 2024, 2pm

Thursday 21 March 2024, 2pm

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