Agenda item

Verbal Update by Cabinet Members


1) Mr Love provided his Cabinet Member Verbal Update as follows:


Primary School Offers.

Mr Love said that Monday 17 April was primary school offer day for children across Kent.  This year there were just under 17,000 applications, and just over 90% of pupils were offered their first preference.  Around 1.5% of pupils were unable to be offered a place at any of their named preferred schools, this was an improvement from 2.25% last year. 

Parents were given until Monday 1 May to accept or refuse the offer given, and the appeal deadline was 16 May.

KCC would reallocate places from schools’ waiting lists and send out a second round of offers on Wednesday 7 June.  From Thursday 8 June, schools would maintain their own waiting lists; parents could apply to schools directly after this date to ask to be placed on the waiting list.

Thanks and congratulations were offered to the KCC admissions team for their success in offering the vast majority of Kent’s children a place at their preferred school.


Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Update.

Mr Love advised that staffing numbers within the SEND service had been an issue for some time however, recruitment had been going well, and staff numbers were increasing; vacancies within the case holding team had dropped from over 100 to around 50.  The recruitment strategy had also been refreshed to widen the potential pool of applicants, which should help to continue the reduction in vacancies.

The SEND Enquiries Hub was up and running, it provided parents and carers with a dedicated point of contact for enquiries about SEND support, assessments, placements and Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCP).  The Hub could also put families in touch with the right caseworker when needed.

The SEND Enquiry Hub was part of a package of measures being put in place to ensure better outcomes for those using SEND services in Kent, that was taking place alongside a wider restructure and recruitment drive. Further details about the SEND Enquiry Hub were available on the website:

The draft of the Kent Areas Accelerated Progress Plan has been submitted to the Department for Education (DfE). This was the start of a process that would lead to the plan being agreed and published by the DfE.  KCC and its partners were working to address the SEND service performance shortfalls that were identified in September 2022, and there could be confidence that progress was being made.


Rosewood School Visit.

Mr Love spoke positively about his recent experience at the Boulanger Coffee Shop, a shop owned and operated by Rosewood School, that he visited with Director of Education Ms McInnes.  They were very impressed with the school’s ethos of, aim high and be kind.   There was a culture of ambition for the children that was embedded throughout the school.  Members were encouraged to search online to see how the school turned around the lives of the children it had contact with.


In answer to comments and questions from Members, Mr Love confirmed the following:

  • The Kent Commissioning Plan fully summarised any capacity issues to a granular level for primary schools.  Only around 1.5% of applicants did not receive a placement at one of their preferred schools, this would indicate that supply matched demand.
  • KCC had a good working relationship with the Kent Parents and Carers Together orgainsation (Kent PACT), and valued its engagement.
  • KCC aimed to rebuild the trust with parents that was identified as lacking in the November 2022 Ofsted revisit conclusions; this was being done directly and indirectly through collaborative working with organisations like Kent PACT.
  • Mr Streatfeild would receive a written response outside of the meeting to his question asking how the current total number SEND Case Officer posts compared to the number before September 2022.


2) Mrs Chandler provided his Cabinet Member Verbal Update as follows:


Sensory Support Procurement.

Mrs Chandler advised that the Forthcoming Executive Decision for sensory support, that the Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Health was set to take in June, would introduce a framework of providers for adult and child sensory services over a period of four years, replacing the current spot purchased contracts.

It was anticipated this would improve the consistency of services by having clearly defined terms and contract specifications.  Whilst the majority of the funding would come from the Adult Social Care and Health Budget, there would be a £120,000 contribution across the four years from CYPE.

This would be an important decision that tied in with Kent’s Strategy for Children and Young People with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities, particularly the principle that young people with SEND and their families ‘benefit from working with skilled practitioners who understand their needs and how these can be best met’.


Social Work Degree Apprenticeships

Congratulations were offered to the Social Work Degree Apprenticeship cohort who recently passed their degrees.  This was a fantastic achievement and highlighted the dedication of not only those who undertook the apprenticeship, but also those who supported them on their journey into social work including the practice educators, the teams within which they were based.


His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons (HMIP) and Ofsted Inspection.

Last week Kent had a joint HMIP and Ofsted Inspection which focused on the theme of young people’s experiences of remand.  It was clear from the feedback last week that youth justice services had improved since the HMIP inspection of 2021, with glowing feedback about collaboration between youth justice and social work services.

The Ofsted inspector was of the view that social work practice had improved further since the inspection in May 2022, stating that she observed, through this inspection, some of the best practice seen in her long career as an inspector.  Thanks were offered to all the staff for their continued hard work.  The visit was part of a thematic investigation and therefore would not result in a judgement however, a full report on all visits would be published as a thematic report at the end of the Summer.


Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children (UASC) Update

As of 12 May, there had been 40 UASC arrivals since the start of the month, bringing the total number of UASC arrivals for 2023 to 444.  As the weather gets warmer, it was expected that there would be an increase in the number coming across the Channel, in line with previous years.

The largest cohort of UASC were from Afghanistan, followed by Eritrea and Syria.


Foster Care Fortnight

Mrs Chandler advised that 15 May was the start of Foster Care Fortnight, which highlights the importance of children being fostered by a family in their local community.

There was a shortage of foster carers across the United Kingdom, Kent Fostering was desperately seeking more households to join its fostering community across the county.  The call for carers went to all communities, regardless of ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, disability, age or marital status.  

Thanks were offered to the district councils who included material promoting Kent's fostering services on their council tax statements.  It was hoped that it encouraged more people to consider becoming a foster carer.

The next online information event would take place at 7pm on 17 May, and Mrs Chandler encouraged anyone with an interest in becoming a foster carer to attend.  Details could be found on the Kent Fostering website: (