UPDATE NO 421 18 September 2020

Newsletters 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 […]

Three children playing happily together


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 (details below). 

Our Regional Improvement Plan for 2020-2021 can be found here.

UPDATE NO 421 18 September 2020


Unregulated – Children in care living in semi-independent accommodation


The Children’s Commissioner for England has called for the Government to change the law to stop councils placing under 18s in care in unregulated accommodation. 

The full report is here.

Action Required:

The change would see all children in care who need a residential placement housed in accommodation regulated under the same standards as children’s homes, and would put an end to 16 and 17 year olds being placed in bedsits, hostels and caravans. The call comes as the Children’s Commissioner publishes a report, Unregulated: Children in care living in semi-independent accommodation, revealing how thousands of children in care are living in unregulated independent or semi-independent accommodation. These settings are not inspected and children living there often go without regular support from adults.


Limitations of Machine Learning in the context of Children’s Services


There is no evidence that using machine learning to predict outcomes for families involved with children’s social care services is effective, research has found. 


The summary report is here. The technical report is here.

Action Required:

Models built by What Works for Children’s Social Care and trialled over 18 months in four local authority areas failed to identify, on average, four out of every five children at risk. The research found introducing text information extracted from social work reports did not reliably improve models’ performance, despite this offering a more nuanced picture of families than can be gleaned from demographic information and data tracking interactions with practitioners.


Independent Inquiry Sexual Abuse Recommendation to LGA


The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, chaired by Professor Alexis Jay OBE,  has recommended that the LGA should produce a code of practice for responding to civil claims of child sexual abuse. This recommendation has been accepted by the LGA.

The specific recommendations are here


Action Required:

The code should include recognition of the long-term emotional and psychiatric or psychological effects of child sexual abuse on victims and survivors, and acknowledgement that these effects may make it difficult for victims and survivors to disclose that they have been sexually abused and to initiate civil claims for that abuse.

The code should also include guidance that:

  • claimants should be treated sensitively throughout the litigation process;
  • the defence of limitation should only be used in exceptional circumstances;
  • single experts jointly instructed by both parties should be considered for the assessment of the claimants’ psychiatric, psychological or physical injuries; and
  • wherever possible, claimants should be offered apologies, acknowledgement, redress and support.

The research report Support services for victims and survivors of child sexual abuse giving the supporting evidence is published in summary and in full.


Guide to the Early Career Framework for Teachers


The DfE has published a Guide to the Early Career Framework for teachers, including information about the approved providers of core induction programmes, from Sept 2021. It has selected four expert teacher training providers who have each developed their own core induction programme based on the Early Career Framework:

Action Required:

Each set of materials cover the five core areas of the ECF (Behaviour Management, Pedagogy, Curriculum, Assessment and Professional behaviours). Although structured differently, each programme contains approximately the same amount of self-study material in terms of hours covered. Schools can use or draw upon any of four core induction programmes published here in whichever way is most beneficial to them and their early career teachers. 

From September 2021, it will become a statutory requirement for all schools to offer, and all early career teachers to undertake, a two-year induction based on the ECF. Next year schools will be able to choose from three approaches to deliver an ECF-based induction to their early career teachers:

Full induction programme; Core induction programme; or School-based programme

More information: An overview of the ECF reformsThe Early Career Framework Policy paper


NAO report on Childhood Obesity


The National Audit Office has published a report on childhood obesity.

The full report is here, a summary report is here, an e-briefing is here, and a press release is here

Action Required:

The NAO concludes,

Governments have been grappling with childhood obesity since the 2000s, with limited success. In 2018/19, nearly one tenth of 4 to 5 year olds and more than one fifth of 10 to 11 year olds were classified obese. We estimate that roughly 1.4 million children aged from 2 to 15 years old were classified obese in 2018. Not only is obesity increasing for 10 to 11 year olds, it is increasing even faster for children in deprived areas. While the Department’s programme aims to tackle this issue, it is not yet clear that the actions within the programme are the right ones to make the step-change needed in the timescale available. Progress with the programme has been slow and many commitments are not yet in place, although the new strategy announced in July 2020 has signalled new legislation and greater willingness to act to reduce obesity. The government will need to act with greater urgency, commitment, co-ordination and cohesion if it is to address this severe risk to health and value for money.


National Children and Adult Services Conference; 4th – 6th November 2020


This online event will take place over three days, with virtual sessions held on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday 4, 5 and 6 November. These webinars will be delivered by prominent figures in the adult, children and education sectors, including ministers, and as usual, the event will provide excellent opportunities to learn and share best practice with colleagues across central and local government. 

Action Required:

The delegate fee is £100 + VAT per person, which gives access to all sessions over the three days.

Further information and booking details via the NCASC website here.

Reminders from previous weeks


NSPCC Coronavirus briefing: guidance for social workers


Social workers have an important role to play in protecting children from abuse and neglect, especially during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic as many children are spending less time in school and more time at home.

This briefing summarises guidance from across the UK on how social workers and local authorities should work during the pandemic to ensure that children are protected.

Action Required:

It answers questions including:

  • how does the Coronavirus Act 2020 affect local authorities’ responsibilities?
  • how will the child protection system work during the pandemic?
  • what is temporary registration and how does it work?
  • can social workers continue to visit children and families?
  • how should support be prioritised?
  • do case reviews still need to be carried out?

The full pdf document is hereThis briefing was updated on Thursday 3rd September 2020.


No way out – children stuck in B&Bs during lockdown


The Children’s Commissioner for England has published a report looking at the number of children living in bed and breakfast (B&B) accommodation during lockdown and the impact on children and their families. Findings from a survey of 15 local authorities in England (including Slough from the South East) with highest numbers of children in B&Bs show that at the start of lockdown on 23 March there were 714 families housed in B&Bs, and 476 families living in B&Bs by the end of the full lockdown on 31 May.

Action Required:

She is calling for:

  • support for children who were homeless during lockdown;
  • families housed in B&Bs to be moved out of them in the event of further lockdown; and
  • action to prevent new family homelessness in the coming weeks and months.

The full report is here


CAMHS and children-in-care placed out-of-area


Many of you have already had the privilege of working with Andrea King – and now she has a new role in NHS England (Specialist adviser, CYP mental health) covering the whole of the SESLIP area. She has now joined the SESLIP family as one of the team supporting and cordinating the 19 children’s services authorities. One of her current projects is looking at CAMH services for children-in-care who are placed out-of-area. She will be presenting it to next week’s joint DCS/Lead member meeting.

Action Required:

Andrea writes:

Children-in-care who are placed out-of-area have inconsistent experience of accessing health, and specifically mental health, support in their placement. COVID-19 lockdown further intensified these difficulties for some children. As statutory partners we are corporate parents to our children-in-care; resolving inequitable access to mental health assessment and treatment out-of-area is placing additional pressures on our social care workforce and mental health commissioning leaders. This strategic project is intended to support improved outcomes for our children-in-care.

 For more information go to the project page on this website or contact Andrea (details below)


Ofsted interim phase: area SEND


An operational note for HMIs and CQC inspectors carrying out interim visits to local areas regarding their special educational needs and disabilities arrangements from October 2020.

On 17 March 2020, all routine Ofsted inspections were suspended due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. As part of Ofsted’s phased return to routine inspection, the Department for Education (DfE) and the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) have commissioned Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to carry out a series of ‘interim visits’ to local areas from autumn 2020.

This guidance sets out the process and range of activities that inspectors will carry out for these interim visits, from inviting a local area to take part in an interim visit to sharing feedback.

Action Required:

The purpose of the visits is to:

  • support individual local areas to understand the impact of the pandemic on children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and their families
  • find out what has worked well for them during this time, what the challenges have been and any lessons learned
  • work with the local area to identify opportunities for improvement that address the remaining challenges faced by children and young people with SEND
  • highlight positive case studies and share insights nationally to promote whole-system learning

The visits will also give Ofsted, CQC and the government insights into how well the SEND system as a whole is working. They will also enable us to understand when local areas will be ready for routine inspections to restart.


Keeping Children Safe in Education – Update


On 1 September 2020, DfE published a revised version of Keeping Children Safe in Education. The new edition includes revised material on statutory Relationship and Sex Education. 

Action Required:

The Sex Education Forum have published a guide and materials for making learning about RSE accessible for pupils with SEND.


Future dates for Network meetings


AD Safeguarding: Friday 11 December 2020 – The meeting last week (11 Sept) discussed Ofsted in the context of COVID; Kent UASC pressures; Unregulated Placements; Returning to normal practice after COVID lockdown; Charging Parents for Section 20 Accommodation; proposed Joint Meeting with East of England Region. For more information from Mark Evans (contact details below)

QA Network: Wednesday 9 December – The meeting yesterday (17 Sept) discussed preparations for Triad peer challenges among other topics. For more information from Diane Williamson (contact details below)

SEND SE19: more information from Tracey Maytas (contact details below)

Action Required:

Data Benchmarking: Thursday 10 December 2020. The meeting this week (15 Sept) discussed routine business – more information from Alastair Lee (contact details below)

AD EducationFriday 25 September 2020 – 10.30am to 1.30pm *NB this will be Education only – the joint meeting with SEND has been postponed to another day*– more information from Chris Owen (contact details below)

Adoption and Special Guardianship Leadership Board: Tuesday 20 October 2020 – more information from Rebecca Eligon (contact details below)

Tools & Templates

We have produced a Regional Improvement Plan which will underpin activities in 2020-2021

Unregulated – Children in care living in semi-independent accommodation published by the Children’s Commissioner 10 September 2020

Machine Learning in Children’s Services published by What Works for Children’s Social Care 10 September 2020 

Childhood Obesity report by NAO published 9 September 2020

Coronavirus briefing: guidance for social workers published by NSPCC 3 September 2020

Guide to the Early Career Framework for teachers published by DfE 1 September 2020

Support services for victims and survivors of child sexual abuse published by IICSA 31 August 2020

High needs benchmarking tool published by DfE 25 August

No way out – children stuck in B&Bs during lockdown published by the Children’s Commissioner 21 August 2020

A Perfect Storm: The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on domestic abuse survivors and the services supporting them published by Women’s Aid 18 August 2020

How Safe are our Children? 2020 published by NSPCC 17 August 2020

Promoting the Retention, Mental Health, and Wellbeing of Child and Family Social Workers: A Systematic Review of Workforce Interventions published by What Works Centre 7 August 2020

COVID-19: guidance on supporting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing published by DfE 4 August 2020

Children’s services omnibus – Wave 5 published by DfE 3 August 2020

Social Worker Fast Track Programmes Review – published by the DfE 21 July 2020

Highlighting an innovative shared approach towards child suicide prevention published 17 July 2020 by NHS Wessex Senate

What explains marked regional variations in infant care – published by NFJO 16 July 2020

Youth Violence Commission – Final Report published 15 July 2020

ADCS has published a discussion paper – Building a country that works for all children post COVID-19 14 July 2020

Getting the grades they’ve earned: Covid-19: the cancellation of exams and ‘calculated’ grades – published by the Education Select Committee on 11 July 2020

2020 NEET and 16- and 17-year-old participation figures published by DfE 9 July 2020

Teenagers falling through the gaps published 7 July 2020 by the Children’s Commissioner

Main Findings: Children’s Social Care in England 2020 published 7 July 2020 by Oftsed

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 and Information Manager: Luke Ede (East Sussex)


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)