Issue details

23/00039 - Countywide Approach to Inclusive Education

Proposed decision: 

Agree the ‘Countywide Approach to Inclusive Education’ be made a strategy for Kent for 2023-28


Reason for the decision:

The Countywide Approach to Inclusive Education (CATIE) document was first published on KELSI in April 2021, establishing the commitment in Kent to improve inclusion across all phases and settings by means of four core priorities. CATIE was recognised as the approach Kent and its partners would take over the next 5 years, however, it was never formally agreed as a strategy.



The priorities within CATIE have been shaped by the current and future context Kent faces, and by the ideas and feedback received from our partners, stakeholders and residents. Each priority includes specific commitments and supporting objectives, and will focus our efforts as a council, and collectively with our partners, to meet those challenges and improve outcomes in mainstream settings for children and young people with SEND. The Priorities are:


1.            Supporting a school led system to deliver the highest quality core inclusive education

2.            Providing additional intervention and support with engagement and integration

3.            Inclusive Education is part of a broader, holistic, and joined-up offer of support

4.            Ensuring smooth transition between education phases


Options (other options considered but discarded):

The process for developing the CATIE document was iterative and alternative options were considered within this process to ensure the expectations set were the right ones for Kent.


Standards and expectations for inclusive education in Kent were agreed following intensive collaboration with schools, settings, parent/carers, young people, and other key stakeholders.


The CATIE was informed by the SEND Code of Practice, the Kent Strategy for Children and Young People with Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities 2021-24, research published in the Local Government Association report ‘Developing and sustaining an effective local SEND system’, as well a local collaboration.


Since CATIE was first developed the SEND and AP Improvement Plan has been published, aligning to many of the principles Kent has already signed up to within CATIE. With the Improvement Plan’s publication and its statements to the ongoing commitment of central government to the ‘right support, right place, right time’ we will update CATIE with confidence in its priorities position centrally.


How the proposed decision meets the objectives of ‘Increasing Opportunities, Improving Outcomes: Kent County Council’s Strategic Statement (2015-2020)’:

CATIE underpins many principles held by Framing Kent’s Future our strategy for 2022-2026 and will support the Council’s efforts to meet our immediate challenges as well as embedding foundations for long-term success.


Priority One of Framing Kent’s Future, Levelling up Kent, aims to maintain Kent County Council’s strategic role in supporting schools in Kent to deliver ‘accessible, high quality education provision for all families’, this is the cornerstone of the CATIE. Achieving the best possible outcomes within the CATIE framework will positively impact this Council priority. Our Schools Commissioning Plan and placement sufficiency activities support this levelling up priority to improve and maintain choice of school places for Kent’s families.


Elements of priority four in Framing Kent’s Future are also threaded intrinsically through the CATIE, reshaping commissioning, building better partnerships, integrating our planning and having a strong focus on co-production are behind the four core priorities CATIE sets out.


Approving the CATIE as Kent’s strategy for inclusive education will allow us to robustly embed the planned activity in a way that supports the Council wide objectives that make up Framing Kent’s Future.


Legal Implications:

Legally our duties remain the same if CATIE is a strategy for Kent or not. Section19 of the Children and Families Act 2014 sets out the principles underpinning the legislation and the guidance in [the SEND] Code of Practice. ‘When considering an appeal from a parent or young person the First-tier Tribunal (Special Educational Needs and Disability) (‘the Tribunal’) must have regard to this Code of Practice’. Local Authorities ‘must consult children with SEN or disabilities, and their parents and young people with SEN or disabilities when reviewing local SEN and social care provision’ .


‘As part of its commitments under articles 7 and 24 of the United Nations Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the UK Government is committed to inclusive education of disabled children and young people and the progressive removal of barriers to learning and participation in mainstream education. The Children and Families Act 2014 secures the general presumption in law of mainstream education in relation to decisions about where children and young people with SEN should be educated and the Equality Act 2010 provides protection from discrimination for disabled people’


‘The School Admissions Code of Practice requires children and young people with SEN to be treated fairly. Admissions authorities:

              must consider applications from parents of children who have SEN but do not have an EHC plan on the basis of the school’s published admissions criteria as part of normal admissions procedures,

              must not refuse to admit a child who has SEN but does not have an EHC plan because they do not feel able to cater for those needs,

              must not refuse to admit a child on the grounds that they do not have an EHC plan’ .

Decision type: Key

Reason Key: Affects more than two Electoral Divisions;

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Division affected: (All Division);

Notice of proposed decision first published: 05/05/2023

Decision due: Not before 5th Jun 2023 by Cabinet Member for Education and Skills

Lead director: Christine McInnes

Department: Education & Young People's Services


Consultation and co-production was undertaken in the creation of the CATIE in late 2020 and early 2021. Schools, parents/carers, other stakeholders were involved in the discussions and decisions over content within CATIE via different working groups. There was a County Education Reference Group that met 6 times a year, involving LA education and inclusion personnel, school staff across all phases and type of setting, Kent Special Educational Needs Trust and Kent Association of Headteachers representatives. A High Needs Funding Working Group convened and met monthly (and continues to meet now) with LA finance personnel and school staff across various phases and types of setting. A Transition Working Group was assembled and met monthly, and continues to meet now less frequently, with various stakeholders and partners invited. Parent/Carer feedback was gained via schools, with an event held in Autumn 2021.

Financial implications: The principles of the CATIE document and the proposal to make the CATIE Kent’s strategy for Inclusive Education CATIE has been included as part of the approach to delivering Kent County Council’s Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) ‘Safety Valve’ Agreement with the DfE. It has been approved as part of the DSG management plan to ‘Implement a countywide approach to ‘Inclusion Education’, to further build capacity in mainstream schools to support children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND), thus increasing the proportion of children successfully supported in mainstream education and reducing dependence on specialist provision’. The agreement is subject to review and ‘insufficient progress being made towards the authority reaching and sustaining an in-year balance on its DSG account as set out in the plan’ could result in a breach of the agreement.

Legal implications: As above.

Equalities implications: Low negative impact. Data Protection implications - screening in progress.