UPDATE NO 375 25 October 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 375 25 October 2019


Adoption and Special Guardianship – Regional Leadership Board


The next meeting of the South East Region Adoption and Special Guardianship Leadership Board will take place on Friday 8 November 2019 at the Arora Hotel, Crawley. Hilary Brooks (DCS Southampton) will chair. For further details, contact Rebecca Eligon (details below).

Action Required:

Access the meeting papers is restricted to members of the SE Region ASGLB. The confidential page is here


Review of Memorandum of Cooperation


We have identified the key elements for the planned review of the Memorandum of Co-operation which is being led by Sarah Hammond (Director of Specialist Children’s Services, Kent) with support from SESLIP Consultant Mark Evans (contact details below). They are:  

  1. A survey of current agency rates (updating the benchmarking we did when we launched the MoC).
  2. To investigate the appetite for regional performance measures and management is relation to agency staffing
  3. Developing a new proposal for governance of the MoC (with reference to the need for temporary exemptions or exits) 
  4. Sector research on how MoCs have developed in other regions
  5. Considering the need for authorities to recommit to the MoC

Action Required:

We plan to conduct most of the work remotely via email/conference calls etc with the possibility of one face to face meeting towards the end of the project. The work will be completed by the March 2020 DCS meeting.

Please can you nominate a representative from your authority to participate in the review.  The person needs to be a senior officer with responsibility for children’s workforce. This could be a senior manager, PSW or HR Partner.  

To complete the review we will need input from both the service and HR functions within all authorities. The invitation to participate in the review is extended to authorities who are not currently MoC signatories as we would like to use this as an opportunity to re-engage them.  Please forward details of your nominated representative to Mark Evans (contact details below).


SCIE Review of Social Worker Digital Capabilities


This is an interesting review from the Social Care Institute for Excellence of the way social workers use technology and includes some interesting insights (particularly around views about performance management). 

The literature suggests that social workers’ digital capabilities vary, however survey respondents in this project varies rated their digital skills as ‘Good” or ‘Very good’. Social workers engage with digital technologies in their private lives and want this to be replicated in their professional roles. They understand the benefits of technology. All stakeholders involved in this projected reported fragmentation and inoperability. They believe that current technology can assist with better integration of services and workstreams. There is the need for co-production principles to underpin development and installation of digital technology. Social workers and experts by experience (EbE) should be meaningfully involved. 

Action Required:

Social workers believe that new systems in workplaces should prioritise relationship-based practice and person-centred care over performance management. They do not want their role to include data collection for performance management and other organisational objectives. Organisations need to collect performance management and other data, however this should not all be included in social workers’ tasks as this can divert focus from their role. Social workers appear concerned with different ethical issues from those addressed in the literature. They want EbE to have choice over how they interact with services and for their right to self-determination to be enhanced by technology. Social workers also want data security and the threats that they receive on social media to be addressed. Key informants suggest that social work is not utilising the full potential of current technologies because of restrictive local data governance protocols.

The full review is available here


DfE State of the Nation 2019 Wellbeing in children and young people in England


This reports new statistics on wellbeing in children and young people in England, and examines variation in wellbeing for different subgroups of children and young people. Existing evidence of inequalities in how wellbeing is distributed across different groups of children and young people shows the importance of moving beyond the average in understanding wellbeing.

The full report is available here

Action Required:

Some key findings of the report are:

  • The majority of children and young people report being relatively happy with their lives
  • Wellbeing declines as children and young people get older.
  • There were few consistent differences in wellbeing by gender in children, but young females were more likely to report recently feeling anxious than males.
  • There were no discernible differences in children’s wellbeing based on their ethnicity.
  • There is some evidence that FSM pupils’ wellbeing is lower than their non- FSM peers, but both FSM and SEN status are not consistent indicators of poor wellbeing.


AD Safeguarding Network – next meeting 6 December 2019


The next meeting of the AD Safeguarding Network will be on Friday 6 December and will be a joint meeting with colleagues from the East of England. The following meeting is planned for 6 March 2020.

Action Required:

The meetings are 9.30 for a 10.00 start at The Abbey Centre, 34 Great Smith Street, Westminster SW1P 3BU. If you have any items you would like to add to the agenda, please contact Mark Evans (details below).


AD Education Network – next meeting Friday 13 December. Please note the change of date.


The date for the next Education Network meeting has had to be changed: it will now be on 13th Dec from 10.30am to 1.30pm at Broadway House as usual.

The meeting will include a focus on attainment in 2019 (both the positives and the challenges), with an emphasis on vulnerable groups. Chris Owen (contact details below) will be contacting members to discuss this further and ask for possible MAT leader representatives who could join the meeting.

Please go to the Education Network activity page for more infomation about this group

Action Required:

Education Network Sub-groups:

The Education Data sub-group meets on Thursday 14th November, 10am to 4pm in the Longley Room, Crawley Library (more from Daryl Perilli contact details below)

The new Children Missing Education sub-group has its first meeting on 11th November, 1pm to 3.30pm at Shaw House, Newbury. RG14 2DR (contact person: Kelly Rooker)

Please either nominate your LA rep for these groups or make sure you liaise with them about the agenda beforehand. 


Free schools in England: 2019 report


The Education Policy Institute has published its latest assessment of the free schools programme in England.

The new report draws on the most recent data from the Department for Education, providing the most detailed, up to date findings on free schools.

First opened in 2011, free schools are state-funded schools independent of local authorities, set up by parents, charities and other groups. Today, there are over 500 in England.

Action Required:

In September 2019 the government announced a new wave of free schools, with a further 220 set to be opened over the coming years. Ahead of this expansion, this new report from EPI examines the strengths and weaknesses of the programme to date – including whether it is successfully targeting areas in the country that are most in need of school places. 

You can download the full report here. 


7 recent DfE publications


1. The provisional KS 4 performance data have been published by the DfE. More details are available here

2. The provisional allocations for National Funding Formula and for LA high needs funding for 2020-21 have been published here

3. The DfE has published its response to the House of Commons Education Select Committee report on schools and college funding available here

Action Required:

4. The provisional A-level and KS 5 performance data has been published by the DfE and more details are available here

5. National summary data on pupil absence for the period September 2018 to April 2019 have been published. Headlines show a continuing reduction in levels of persistent absenteeism across all groups of pupils are available here.

6. EYFS profile data for 2018-19 has been published here

7. 2018 KS4 and KS5 destinations data for students is now available here


House of Commons Education Select Committee


The House of Commons Education Select Committee published its report on SEND this week. The full report can be found here

Action Required:

The report includes the following quote: “The Department for Education set local authorities up to fail by making serious errors both in how it administered money intended for change, and also, until recently, failing to provide extra money when it was needed. (Paragraph 20)”


APPG on Knife Crime Report “BACK TO SCHOOL? Breaking the link between school exclusions and knife crime”

Action Required:

The report notes the strong links between school exclusions and young people’s vulnerability to involvement in gangs, criminal exploitation and knife crime. They have also suggested that schools should continue to be responsible for excluded pupils exam results to disincentivise exclusion.

Reminders from previous weeks


Home education: a choice or last resort?


Children leaving secondary school to be home-educated often have complex needs and some make the move as a last resort rather than a preferred choice, new research by Ofsted has revealed.

Action Required:

Ofsted carried out the study: ‘Exploring moving to home education in secondary schools’ across 7 local authorities in the East Midlands. For more information about the SESLIP work on home education and children missing education please contact Chris Owen (details below)


Support for pupils with SEND in England


National Audit Office (NAO) report on the arrangements and funding to support children and young people with SEND; an excellent and critical report from NAO which is very well evidenced and captures the financial pressures locally and nationally and is critical of gaps in leadership and direction from the DfE.

Action Required:

At January 2019, 1.3 million pupils in England (14.9% of all pupils) were recorded as having special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). The full report (60 pages) is hereA summary (9 pages) is here.


Developing Models of Social Work Project


The project plan can be found on the Models of Social Work webpage

The objective of this piece of work is to share and develop new models of social care practice that fit the times. Authorities are questioning their models of practice. Some are seeking to integrate early help and social care and would value some collective thinking about this new challenge. Some large LAs have been spending significant amounts to deliver systems changes. We will investigate shared learning and other collaborative approaches to support new models of practice. Contact Diane Williamson (details below) for more information.

Action Required:

The first stage of this work is to collate information about models of practice across the region. We will have an overview of the evidence of success and the impact of models of practice.  We will then develop an understanding of what works and why, within the context of different types of Local Authorities, and the challenges associated with the models.  The project will culminate in a conference to be held in spring 2020, with an associated publication.

We are ready to collate information about models of practice that are in use.  We have developed a brief questionnaire that has been ‘road tested’ by colleagues in Bracknell Forest to ensure it isn’t too onerous and gathers the pertinent information. Please return to Diane Williamson (contact details below) by 16th November 2019. 


In-house Fostering Project


Our in-house fostering project, sponsored by Pinaki Ghoshal, (DCS Brighton and Hove) and supported by Rebecca Eligon, will have three areas of work:


Marketing our Unique Selling Points (USPs)


For more information about these areas see box on the right. If you want to get involved please contact Rebecca Eligon (contact details below)

Action Required:

Sharing: we will use Regional Adoption Agency footprints, rather than the 19 LAs.  This element is intended to build on informal and ad hoc sharing. The detail will need to be determined within the different groupings and could include:

  • sharing of foster carers 
  • sharing access to training for foster carers (i.e. foster carers can access training from other LAs/RAAs),
  • sharing access to peer support (i.e. foster carers can access peer support from other LAs/RAAs), and
  • sharing of good practice (i.e. through a network for fostering leads, possibly repurposing the existing Fostering Network South East session).

Marketing our Unique Selling Points: This element is about developing a coherent, simple set of messages about LA fostering (i.e. not profit making, first access to children, grounded in a locality/place, good training and support).  This will be complemented by mystery shopping of our existing offer asking a small number of foster carers to call up and review online content across the 19 authorities. 

Commissioning: A number of themes were highlighted with the existing IFAs.  This element will seek to share this insight with commissioners, framework managers and fostering leads. We are exploring the extent to which this element can align with/support the complex LAC project.


November – January 2019-20 Peer Challenge


The cycle of preparation for the November – January 2019-20 Peer Challanges is underway. We have brought forward the start date by a few months to avoid a clash with the Ofsted cycle of annual conversations which are due to start in 2020.

New data profiles are now available for each participating authority from the Peer Challenge Library restricted area.

Please go to the Peer Challenge in the South East page if you want further information, or contact Isabelle Gregory (details below).

Action Required:







25th November


East Sussex



9th January 2020

West Sussex



Quartet 3

11th November


Hampshire and Isle of Wight

Milton Keynes


29th November

Windsor and Maidenhead




15th November

West Berkshire


Brighton and Hove


13th November

Bracknell Forest



Tools & Templates

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

Back to School? Breaking the link between school exclusions and knife crime APPG on Knife Crime report published 24 October 2019

The House of Commons Education Select Committee report on SEND Published 16 October 2019

‘Exploring moving to home education in secondary schools’ Ofsted report published 15 October 2019

Digital capabilities for social workers SCIE report published 14 October 2019

State of the nation 2019: children and young people’s wellbeing DfE report published 10 October 2019

Engaging parents with relationships education policy. A guide for primary headteachers setting out why they must engage parents on their school’s relationships education policy and tips on how to do so. DfE report published 10 October 2019

Not going to plan? – Education, Health and Care plans two years on LGSC Ombudsman report published 4 October 2019

Ofsted Review of ILACS inspections published 26 September 2019

Schools causing concern Guidance for local authorities and Regional Schools Commissioners on how to work with schools to support improvements to educational performance, and on using their intervention powers published 19 September 2019

National curriculum assessments: key stage 2, 2019 (provisional) published 11 September 2019

Support for pupils with SEND in England NAO report published 11 September 2019

Children’s Commissioner Report on Homeless Children published 21 August 2019

The Good Childhood Report 2019 (The Children Society) published 20 August 2019

Interim results from Devolved Budgets pilots (What Works Centre) published 15 August 2019

What Works Centre Updates – Trauma-informed models in out-of-home care

Nuffield Foundation Review of Special Guardianship published 2 August 2019

A report by the Department for Education, Evaluation of regional adoption agencies

NCH Campaign for National Childhood Strategy

Children’s Commissioner Report on Childhood Vulnerability

Missing People has published research into the value of the return home interview (RHI).

SESLIP Leadership Development Prospectus

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

LGA Children’s Improvement Adviser: Helen Watson (South East Sector-Led Improvement Programme)


07810 011892

Education Network: Chris Owen (South East Sector-Led Improvement Programme)


07825 862330

SESLIP Education Data Group Lead: Daryl Perilli (Brighton and Hove)


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)