Agenda Item No 23

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

Cabinet Meeting: 30 July, 2018

Report of Cabinet Member for Learning and Culture

Educated Otherwise than at School for Key Stage 3 Provision

Purpose of the Report

  1. To inform Cabinet of provision for young people educated otherwise than at school (EOTAS) and current provision used for Key Stage 3 pupils with social, emotional and behaviour difficulties.
  2. To request a waiver of Contract Procedure Rules to enable the procurement of a short term arrangement for the provision of educational support services from an external provider.

Recommendations

  1. That Cabinet consider the progress made to date on key stage 3 provision with ACT Ltd for 12-14 year olds pupils educated otherwise than at school (EOTAS).
  2. That Cabinet agree to the waiving of contract procedure rules to enable entering into the short term arrangement proposed.
  3. That the Monitoring Officer/ Head of Legal and Democratic Services be authorised to agree the terms of and execute the necessary agreement.

Reasons for the Recommendations

  1. That members consider the progress made to date on key stage 3 provision with ACT Ltd for 12-14 year olds pupils educated otherwise than at school (EOTAS).

2-3.   To facilitate the entering into of the short term contractual arrangement proposed.

Background

  1. Pupils in Key Stage 3 (KS3) are aged between 12 and 14, and fall across year groups 7, 8, and 9. Some of the pupils display social, emotional and behavioural difficulties and as a result they struggle to settle within the school environment, these pupils are often educated otherwise than at school (EOTAS). 
  2. The Learning and Skills Directorate operates EOTAS provision for KS3 pupils at Y Daith Pupil Referral Unit. However, a number of students have proven difficult and challenging to place at Y Daith. As a result, the Council has identified the need for alternative provision for pupils who cannot access mainstream education and require alternative EOTAS provision, to Y Daith 
  3. Currently the KS3 provision available with external providers is limited. The Council has explored various options and has discounted these on the grounds of transportation costs and costs per capita. The only provider that is sufficiently effective and has independent school status is Associated Community Training (ACT) Ltd.
  4. The Council has an agreement with Associated Community Training Ltd (ACT) to engage a small cohort of EOTAS pupils in KS3, where the school or the Pupil Referral Unit is unable to meet the young person's needs. The cost of the provision for the year is £84,000 excluding VAT.  This agreement commenced in January 2017 as an urgent solution to ensure the statutory educational needs of the pupils were met.

Relevant Issues and Options

  1. The Local Authority (LA), on most occasions, refers pupils to its Pupil Referral Unit (PRU) for those with Social, Emotional, and Behavioural Difficulties aged 12-14. However, in some instances pupils require an alternative to the PRU or mainstream schooling. Some pupils have attended the PRU but have not been able to settle there and others are not emotionally equipped to cope with the PRU environment and abscond or do not attend.
  2.  On these occasions the LA will broker alternative education otherwise than at school (EOTAS) for pupils. The mainstream local training providers do not normally take students of this age bracket but prefer them to be 14-16. Therefore, providers who will accept and re-enrol the number of pupils aged between 12-14 years is small. Following research, the only two organisations found to be delivering this type of specialist service in South Wales was ACT and Catch 22 Include. The LA identified ACT as the sole provider available locally who is able to accept learners in this age group and provide numeracy, literacy and a curriculum offer to KS3 pupils. The provider conducts initial assessments and regular monitoring processes. They also provide transport for pupils to Ocean Park in Cardiff. Pupils are taught a range of units covering PHSE, maths, literacy and digital competency. Pupils can also progress with the training provider into a vocational route if successful at KS3.
  3. ACT provides a curriculum focused, learning pathways programme designed to engage KS3 pupils with emotional, social and behavioural difficulties. The provider hosts a maximum number of seven pupils at any one time to ensure that the full benefits of the provision are received.  ACT has been providing KS3 provision to pupils since September 2016. Prior to this the programme was geared towards year groups 10 and 11. Through the provision, learners are guaranteed the following:-
      • A bespoke programme that suits their needs. 
      • Access to experienced pastoral team.
      • Daily support with behaviour and personal barriers.
      • Regular progress and target setting.
      • All the support they need to ensure successful transition to post-16 destinations.
  1. ACT have developed a curriculum that focuses both on academic and vocational subjects, offering learners an opportunity to work towards achieving the same as their mainstream counterparts but in an environment that is more suited to their needs.  ACT have taken steps to ensure the curriculum offer promotes equity in opportunity with a curriculum development plan in place which considers the key elements of the 'Successful Futures' strategy.
  2. ACT have focused on developing literacy and numeracy whilst addressing some of the barriers that learners are facing. The overall aim is to transition pupils back into school at key stage 4 (KS4) or to prepare them for successful transition into alternative provision at KS4 whether that is with ACT or another provider. ACT also offer vocational route in construction, motor vehicle, animal care and hair and beauty. The routes are structured so that over one year a learner can work towards completion of a relevant skill specific level 1 qualification which gives them the basic technical skills required to work in that industry. During the second year, learners work towards a level 2 qualification building on the skills they learnt in their first year. 
  3. Qualifications are offered at entry 3 level and have specifically been selected to complement their KS4 curriculum as well as providing underpinning knowledge for the Welsh baccalaureate suite. Individual learning pathways are agreed during the induction process to ensure that the bespoke curriculum offered to each individual is realistic and achievable whilst also allowing learners to be stretched and challenged.
  4. ACT is signed up to the Wales Acord for Sharing Personal Information. All sharing of information is subject to GDPR regulations. ACT also recognises and agrees to the Vale Local Authority Information Sharing Protocol ("ISP").
  5. Progress reports of each learner are provided to the Council termly and a comprehensive review of all learner placements takes place on a half term basis. These meetings provide ACT an opportunity to provide updates on all aspects of the provision as well as allowing the LA to carry out any quality checks where necessary. If during monitoring meetings it is mutually agreed that a learner is ready for a return back to mainstream school or if ACT can no longer meet the needs of the learner, then full support will be provided to ensure a smooth transition.
  6. An opportunity to tender for EOTAS provision was published in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) and sell2wales website on the 30th April 2018. Alongside ACT Ltd four other organisations submitted their tender response on or before the 6th June 2018 deadline. Evaluation process of the applications is being carried out and interviews are scheduled for the 17 July 2018.  The waiver, therefore, is only for a limited period, up to August 31st 2018,  whilst the selection process is observed. The waiver will ensure services are provided to meet young people's needs and ensure the LA has provision available for those who are most vulnerable.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

  1. The cost of this ACT provision is £28,000 per term and £84,000 per academic year which will be met from within the directorate's resources.  Further charges will be added for food and expenses.
  2. The annual cost covers a block placement for seven pupils for 37 weeks per year.  This results in an annual unit cost of £12,000 per pupil
  3. From January 2017 to March 2018 a total of £98,000 was spent on this provision.
  4. The procurement of any contract in excess of £75,000 is subject to the Council's Contract Procedure Rules.
  5. Under section 17.4.5 of the Council's Contract Procedure rules (CPR's), the relevant Director may deem that an exemption from CPR's is required to meet  urgent special educational needs providing that that the exemption is followed up with a written cabinet report under rule 17.4.3.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

  1. There are no sustainability and climate change implications arising from this report.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

  1. The local authority has a statutory duty to provide young people 25 hrs education provision.
  2. Section 19 of the Education Act 1996 is the primary legislation relating to the duty on local authorities to arrange suitable education for young people outside of mainstream school. Section 19(1) of the Education Act 1996 (as amended by section 47 of the Education Act, 1997) provides that:

'Each local authority shall make arrangements for the provision of suitable education at school or otherwise than at school for those children of compulsory school age who, by reason of illness, exclusion from school or otherwise, may not for any period receive suitable education unless such arrangements are made for them'.

  1. It will be necessary for a formal contract to be entered into with ACT.

Crime and Disorder Implications

  1. There are no crime and disorder implications for this report.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

  1. Currently EOTAS provision through the medium of Welsh is limited however, the LA will explore the development of a Welsh language EOTAS resource.

Corporate/Service Objectives

  1. This report supports the Council's Wellbeing Outcome 3: An Aspirational and Culturally Vibrant Vale, Corporate Objective 5 'Raising overall standards of achievement'.

Policy Framework and Budget

  1. The recommendations of this report are within existing policy framework and budget and are a matter for Executive decision by Cabinet.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

  1. Not applicable.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

  1. Learning and Culture.

Background Papers

None

Contact Officer

Nisha Shukla, Youth Engagement and Progression Coordinator

Officers Consulted

David Davies, Head of Achievement for All

Andrew Borsden, Lead Officer for Social Inclusion and Wellbeing

Responsible Officer:

Paula Ham, Director of Learning and Skills