Agenda item


To receive a report and a presentation.


Barbara Thurogood, Head of Special Educational Needs Education Services introduced the report.



1.     Enfield has seen a year on year increase on referrals for Education, Health & Care Needs assessments, there is not dissimilar to any other London borough.

2.     The Special Educational Needs 2 survey undertaken by DfE shows that there has been a 10% increase nationally is children with SEND. The DfE have been looking at reviewing SEND reforms to see how the increasing demand can be managed.

3.   The threshold for assessment is low which means there is an increase in referrals. It is expected that post Covid there will be a higher demand.

4. Following analysis, the needs that have been identified are: speech, language and communication, autism and complex autism.

3.     Some examples of work were provided: currently looking at an Inclusion Charter, so that all schools will start to be more inclusive for children with SEN identifying needs as early as possible; a Speech and Language Communication hub is being developed, this is at the project initiation stage. This will be to support schools to identify children who may not need EHCP but may require additional support. More support for autism and changes to nurture groups, so they will be part time and increase numbers from 10 to 28.

4.     Increases in travel costs is because there has not been enough growth of provisions in borough. This is being reviewed and developing different options with school place planning so provision can be increased locally.


Comments, queries and questions:

  • What has been the impact of Personal Travel budgets and how have they been received? How has Covid effected personal travel budgets? Officers advised that some colleges were supporting young people with independent travel training and they are not able to do this due to Covid restrictions. However, those young people who are still able to attend schools and colleges are still accessing personal travel budgets. The local authority is reviewed how the SEN service works with the travel assistance team, to ensure that there is fairness and equity within the offer and to manage the provision more effectively. The legislation states you identify the nearest school in the first instance, and this is the school that is offered if there is places available. If parental choice not to go there, then under the Education Act it is not an effective use of public funding to pay for travel assistance as well.
  • What other boroughs have introduced this and how has it worked? In Waltham Forest this has not been effective. However, in Barking & Dagenham this is working well with pick up points making it easier to manage the length of time a young person is on a bus.
  • Rising demand is showing projections of 8-10% for EHCP’s what has this been in previous years? In Enfield this has been around 6-8% but this has increased nationally.
  • Is there a concern that there will potentially be an increase due to the Pandemic and if so, what provisions are being made for this? There is expected to be an increase due to Covid where children have not been in school. Some programmes that have been put forward through Schools Forum; Speech and Language Hub, changes in nurture groups and the work on autism and these will have an impact. The local authority is currently looking to develop a data dashboard to provide a better understanding. There is an operational SEN group and SEN board and all issues and concerns are highlighted as they arise to allow a rigorous response to the demands.
  • Why is there a sharp increase between 2018/19 and 2019/20 of home to school transport costs? A large part of this is out of borough provision. There were children with more complex autism and insufficient places within the borough for children with such complexity of need. More analysis is needed as to why Enfield has a higher proportion of children with complex needs.
  • Pupils needs are decreasing in Enfield but the number of children with SEND are increasing. Given there are extra places in some primary and secondary schools as pupils numbers are down is there opportunity for more SEND pupils to attend mainstream schools? Officers advised that it is expected that in future pupil numbers will increase. Where there are decreasing pupils’ numbers in some schools looking to see if there can be more resource provision within those schools.
  • Following a request for timelines on increasing provision in borough the following was confirmed: 14 additional places at Suffolk’s School for this year; another local school a further 23 places for this year, 70 further places at Salmons Brook School for 2022, Fern House an additional 22 places for this year and looking at moving staff from a building to a school to utilise these premises for more complex autism creates around 22 places hopefully this year. By 2022 there will be 110 new places will be created but hopefully this figure will be higher.


Officers were thanked for their report

Supporting documents: