Tender opportunities for involvement in education clusters
A programme is being launched to help ease the frustrations of securing support for those with special educational needs. The Learning and Skills Improvement Service (LSIS) is going to be inviting organisations to tender for work to help children and young people with learning difficulties and/or disabilities, and their families.
The Department of Education has agreed to fund Phase 2 of LSIS’s work around the government green paper Support and aspiration: A new approach to SEN and disability. The paper, which was published in March 2011, set out the government’s vision to support disabled children, young people and their families by making wide-ranging proposals to respond to frustrations of both children and young people, and those who support them.
Viv Berkeley, Programme Development Manager at LSIS, said: “Parents and carers feel they are facing a system where they have to battle for the support they need, where they are passed from pillar to post, and where bureaucracy and frustration face them at every step.
“According to the Council for Disabled Children, on average a disabled child experiences 32 assessments as they grow up. Resources that could be spent on support and teaching are diverted into bureaucracy, which is inefficient. Children and young people with special educational needs (SEN) don’t achieve as much as they could and by the time they leave school these young people are more than twice as likely to be out of education, training or employment as those without. This is something we’d like to redress.”
Phase one of the project supported people who work with children, young people and adults with learning difficulties and/or disabilities. This was done by sharing effective practice and examining how providers in a local area can work together to ensure a joined up service. Feedback from this initial phase have indicated that the relationships developed will continue to benefit be sustained beyond the life of the project.
The second phase will move the project from a regionalised approach to one that is localised and, at the same time, significantly increase the number of providers involved from 54 to 216, with approximately six local clusters per region. The aim of the localised approach is to encourage a culture shift from one of competition to one of collaboration.
Clusters will be expected to focus on the following areas ‘Preparation for Adulthood’ and ‘Challenging Low Expectations’ through sharing delivery and effective practice. They should also undertake developmental work around areas such as co-delivery, phased transition and developing supported employment and social enterprise models.
The tender will be available to view the week beginning Monday 9 July and it is expected a number of organisations with expertise in working with people with learning difficulties and disabilities will apply such as general further education providers, independent specialist colleges and third sector organisations. Prior to tendering interested providers will need to negotiate to work in a local cluster. Each provider in each cluster will receive a grant of £4,000.
LSIS Chief Executive, Rob Wye, said: “We are very pleased that the second phase of the programme which will help disabled children, young people and their families, and those who support them is going to go ahead. This programme is another example of how LSIS is helping to improve the quality of sector, as identified in a recent LSIS internal audit.”