UPDATE NO 349 26 April 2019

Newsletters A brief summary of the main headlines and highlights for this week are shown below. Any tools, templates or documents needed for the actions required are provided here also. If you would like to know more about these workstreams or the others in the Programme, click on the main section icons shown above. At […]

Three children playing happily together


A brief summary of the main headlines and highlights for this week are shown below. Any tools, templates or documents needed for the actions required are provided here also. If you would like to know more about these workstreams or the others in the Programme, click on the main section icons shown above. At SESLIP we are always on the look-out for good ideas that might be better implemented regionally rather than locally. If you have any suggestions, please contact Richard Tyndall, SESLI Programme Manager. Our Regional Improvement Plan for 2019-20 can be found here.

UPDATE NO 349 26 April 2019


Children not in school – DfE Consultation


The DfE has launched a 12-week consultation on “Children not in school”.

This consultation is about establishing a local authority registration system for children who do not attend state-funded or registered independent schools. It is a follow-up to the consultation and call for evidence on elective home education held by the Department for Education in 2018.

It seeks views on proposed legislation to establish a register maintained by local authorities of children not attending mainstream schools, together with associated duties on parents and the proprietors of certain educational settings. It also consults on proposed legislation to establish a duty to support parents who educate children at home and seek support from their local authority in doing so.

The current consultation closes on 24 June 2019.

Action Required:

The earlier consultation report is here, and the revised Elective Home Education guidance for local authorities is here. 

The current consultation document seeks views on a number of proposals for legislation and the way in which those proposals would be implemented:

  • the introduction of a duty on local authorities to maintain a register of children of compulsory school age who are not registered at schools of a specified type;
  • the introduction of a duty on parents to provide information to their home local authority if their children are within the scope of such a register;
  • the introduction of a duty on education settings attended by the children on the register to respond to enquiries from local authorities about the education provided to individual children. The settings in scope would not include those providing supplementary education outside school hours;
  • the introduction of a duty on local authorities to provide support to home educating families – if it is requested by such families.


Complex LAC Project


Complex LAC Project Bidding for DfE Funding. There is agreement that all 19 South East Authorities will work together on a single bid for the DfE Improving Commissioning and Sufficiency Planning to Increase Stability and Permanence for Looked After Children project. This will focus on the following bid criteria (those that accord most closely with the established aims of the Complex LAC project). 

  • Sufficiency planning at scale, with a view to increasing stability and permanence;
  • Improved commissioning practice, including joint commissioning arrangements;
  • Gaining a better understanding of the relationship between children’s needs and placement costs to ensure greater value in spend on placements;
  • Models that create or strengthen links between different types of care placements, e.g. supporting children moving between residential care and fostering;
  • Enabling children on the edge of care and their families to gain earlier access to foster care through support foster care

Portsmouth and Oxfordshire have indicated that they have an interest in a possible additional/secondary bid for the DfE funding.

Action Required:

The SE DCS group also provided a clear steer that the ultimate vision for the project is to develop shared commissioned arrangements in specific themed and focused areas (driven by the evidence and commitment to partnership), rather than a comprehensive approach for all complex LAC in the region. 

The project has also secured SESLIP funding for the financial year 2019/20 and will concentrate on delivering the following objectives: 

  • To have a detailed understanding of models of joint and strategic commissioning implemented elsewhere in children’s social care and to learn from the outcomes of these models
  • To have a detailed and documented analysis of alternative models of provision for complex LAC (e.g step down provision)
  • To engage with users of the service (children and young people who are looked after), to understand their needs for effective residential provision and how they would want to be involved in developing good quality services for the future;
  • To engage with providers, understanding issues they currently face, how services are developing to meet changing needs and how collaborative working could be undertaken in the future
  • To produce a detailed analysis of need for the authorities participating in the project, using existing collected data and setting it in the context of wider demographic and published LAC data; feeding in information collected from users and providers
  • To feed content into LA level sufficiency statements for those authorities participating in the project
  • To engage with key other stakeholders (e.g. health agencies, education) to determine the feasibility of joint commissioning arrangements (or at least more joined up arrangements)
  • To develop and publish a strategic market position statement for the most complex looked after children in the region
  • To develop a costed business case for the development of joint strategic commissioning arrangements in the future (this will be focused upon the areas or themes where there is the greatest potential for collaboration between authorities to be successful and may not cover all LAC with complex needs).

If you have any questions or would like to know more about the project please contact Mark Evans or Rosemary Perry (contact details below)


Unexplained pupil exits from schools: A growing problem?


The Education Policy Institute (EPI) has published the most comprehensive analysis to date of unexplained pupil exits from English schools, using over a decade’s worth of Department for Education data.

The research improves on estimates of the potential size of so-called “off-rolling” in the school system – where schools informally remove pupils in order to boost GCSE results, or for other reasons.

You can read the full report here.

Action Required:

While the number of official school exclusions is recorded by the government, too little has been known about the phenomenon of pupils who are removed from school rolls unofficially. These unexplained pupil moves are not consistently recorded or regulated.

This new report, which is sponsored by the National Education Union (NEU), fills this evidence gap by examining the prevalence of unexplained pupil exits nationally. The study considers unexplained pupil moves that have taken place both between schools, and those involving pupils leaving the school system entirely.

The report is being published as a working paper, with an open consultation on the methodology used. Further details can be found here.

Reminders from previous weeks


Children’s Commissioner Report on Early Access to Mental Health Support


The Children’s Commissioner undertook a statutory data request to local authorities and clinical commissioning groups to gain an understanding of what is spent on mental health services to support children with emerging or mild conditions which do not meet the thresholds for specialist NHS services. This report outlines the key findings of this research, explores the challenges of conducting this exercise and makes recommendations on what can be done to improve the situation in future.

There is wide variation between areas and agencies in reported spending: the top 25% of local areas spent £1.1 million or more, while the bottom 25% spent £177,000 or less. The overall total spending figure of £226 million includes a small number of very high spending areas masking a larger proportion of low spending areas. This is particularly the case for spending by LAs.

Action Required:

The report identified variation in spending per child across different regions of England.15 In the financial year 2018/19, reported per child spend on low-level mental health services was higher in London and the North East, and lower in the East Midlands, the East and the South East.  The report highlights that in London, local authority spending per child was £17.88 per child, compared to only £5.32 per child in the East of England. CCG spend per child is highest in the North of England (£12.76 per child) and lowest in the Midlands & East (£5.83 per child).

The full report is available here


Peer Challenge Triads – Planning for 2019-20


We are now planning Peer Challenge Triad sessions for November 2019; this is a move to late autumn to avoid clashing with Ofsted Annual Conversations which are planned to run from January 2020.

We have commissioned ADCS to undertake an independent review of the recent round of Triad Peer Challenges, and their report will feed into the detailed planning for 2019-20.

16/19 2019 self-assessments have now been uploaded onto DCS-only area of website. We look forward to receiving Ofsted Annual Conversation letters as when they are available for circulation here.

For access to this page please consult your DCS or Isabelle Gregory (details below).

Action Required:

Triad 1 – East Sussex, Surrey and Wokingham on Monday 25 November 2019

Triad 2 – Kent, West Sussex and Portsmouth Friday 1 or Monday 11 November 2019 TBC

Triad 3 – Hampshire, IoW, Milton Keynes and Slough on Monday 11 November 2019

Triad 4 – Medway, Oxfordshire and Windsor and Maidenhead Friday 29 November 2019

Triad 5 – Brighton and Hove, Buckinghamshire and West Berkshire on Friday 15 November 2019

Triad 6 – Southampton, Bracknell Forest and Reading on Wednesday 13 November 2019

Please contact Isabelle Gregory (details below) for further information on these events


Help shape the procurement of a new aspiring DCS leaders’ programme


Louisa Ellisdon of DfE writes

Following conversations with a few DCSs and with Rachel Dickinson, we would like to invite you to a workshop to help shape the procurement of a new aspiring DCS leaders programme as well as some tailored support for newly appointed DCSs.  We’re very keen to listen to your views and want to work with you on next steps.  We’d also be keen to talk to some Assistant Directors in this context (do share this invitation with relevant Assistant Directors in your area).   

We are inviting you to a workshop on Friday the 10th May 11:30-14:00 in Sanctuary Buildings, Great Smith Street, Westminster, London SW1 3BT . We would like to use this session to listen to your views about DCS leadership and growing the next generation of leaders. We will explore some of the areas below with you – we want your views and experience built into this work.


Action Required:

  1. Skills and capacities to develop leaders of the future What do you consider to be the skills and capacities that are essential /desirable for future DCSs? Where the role is done really well, what does it look like and what needs to be in place to support.  What do you think must be included in a future leadership programme?
  2. Support and networks: What do you see as being more/less helpful – particularly when you move roles or corporate /political leaders change in your local authority? What are the core learning and support needs for new DCSs/DCSs that move areas?  Moving beyond this – What else would be helpful as you progress through your career as a DCS and senior leader?
  3. Motivations, talent attraction and diversity: What encouraged you to want to be a DCS? What can we do to attract in new talent/encourage existing talent to step up to senior leadership?  and to diversify leadership?  What barriers do you see?
  4. Working in partnership: What can central government do to better support collaborative leadership – including through networks, support and collaborative training approaches with other sectors etc?

Please confirm if you’d like to join by emailing holly.ramsey@education.gov.uk.   It would be very helpful if you could confirm your attendance by 1st May and let us know if you have any dietary requirements (we will serve some light refreshments). Do get in touch with Holly with any other questions you have in the meantime.

A similar workshop was held in Sheffield on Tuesday 23rd April

Tools & Templates

We have produced a Regional Improvement Plan including Annexes which will underpin activities in 2019-20.

Unexplained pupil exits from schools: A growing problem? The Education Policy Institute (EPI) has published the most comprehensive analysis to date  using over a decade’s worth of Department for Education data.

Children’s Commissioner Report on Early Access to Mental Health Support

All Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Youth Work – report published April 2019

DfE’s Elective Home Education guidance for local authorities was updated on 2 April

ADCS Report – Building a workforce that works for all children

Contextual Safeguarding Implementation Toolkit – This is a really useful free online resource that includes practical resources and tools focusing on: Referral and screening; Assessment; Planning and review; Support and interventions; Monitoring and evaluation; Policy development

Ofsted has published detailed figures revealing the scale of the problem with suspected illegal schools in England.

A councillor’s workbook on engaging with young people has been designed as a learning aid for councillors to assist them with the effective engagement of young people and the organisations representing them within their ward. The workbook provides some signposting and ideas around the engagement of young people rather than it being a step by step guide as such. More information at the LGA web page for this project

Falling through the gapsa new report published by the Innovation Unit, reveals key insights about the experiences of care leavers leaving prison, and the opportunities and challenges they face following release. 

The new Legal Support Action Plan, published by the Ministry of Justice, follows a post-implementation review of legal aid reforms

Skipping School Invisible Children – How children disappear from England’s Schools A report by The Children’s Commissioner

The ‘evidence store’, from the government-funded What Works Centre for Children’s Social Care, so far contains systematic reviews of 11 programmes including family drug and alcohol courts, solution focused brief therapy and kinship care. it can be found here

The National Audit Office Children’s Services Report is here

2019-20 Memorandum of Understanding – Blank available for downloading here

SESLIP Leadership Development Prospectus

National Implementation Adviser for Care Leavers’ First Year Report – This was published in the Autumn and sets the findings of the National Adviser for Care Leavers following his first year in role. The report is structured around the 5 identified priorities for care leavers and goes on to provide examples of good practice from local authorities that he has visited. It also sets out aspirations for 2019-2020. The full report can be found here

SEND Inspection Preparation: Self Evaluation Framework Peer Review Guidance

The MoC area of the Seslip website now includes the latest versions of key documents, including the:

Contact Details

Data Benchmarking: Luke Ede (South East Sector-Led Improvement Programme)


07925 148597

South East Grid for Learning – Consortium Manager: Krista Pickering (South East Sector-Led Improvement Programme)


07872 014083

SESLIP Consultant: Isabelle Gregory (South East Sector-Led Improvement Programme)


07931 586784

CSC Workforce, PSW and AD Safeguarding Network Lead: Mark Evans (South East Sector-Led Improvement Programme)


07803 147072

Adoption; Fostering; Kinship and Early Help Regional Networks: Rebecca Eligon (South East Sector-Led Improvement Programme)


07944 996219

SESLI Programme Manager: Richard Tyndall (South East Sector-Led Improvement Programme)


07880 787007

S.E. Region SEND Network Programme Co-ordinator: Sheelagh Sullivan (South East Sector-Led Improvement Programme)