Agenda item

Question Time.


The following questions, received under Standing Order 35, were put to the Chairman of the Children and Families Overview and Scrutiny Committee:


a)    Question asked by Sue Whiting


“Could the Chair please state how much training members of the Inclusion Team have in SEND, particularly in the Specific Learning Difficulties/difference/disability, as these are the children who can often be very anxious because of unmet provision for their needs?”


Response by the Chairman


All members of the Inclusion Team who carry out direct work with children and young people are expected to undertake training relevant to the young people that they are working with. The training undertaken includes Autism Awareness training levels 1&2 with some staff completing level 3 where this supports the direct work that they have completed with a child or young person. The whole service has completed training on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) and Trauma Informed Responses. Members of the service have taken part in Thrive training and we have a licensed Thrive practitioner. Staff have also undertaken training in Emotional Literacy Support, Dyslexia and Neurodiversity, Emotion Coaching, Dyslexia Awareness, Building Emotional Resilience, Mental Health First Aid, Words and Pictures and Hearing awareness.


Supplementary question asked by Sue Whiting


“Thank you for this comprehensive list of training. I am very familiar with most of the training listed but would value an explanation of the components of Thrive training and which particular role the licenced Thrive practitioner plays”?


Response by the Chairman


At the invitation of the Chairman, the Director of Children and Family Services responded that Thrive Practitioners were education officers for children with medical needs who worked with children, parents, schools and any other involved agencies to plan a child or young person’s education, whether that be requesting face-to-face or online tuition, in planning for a return to school, or engaging some other support around that child. The Thrive training had been an approach used by a number of schools in Leicestershire to support mental health needs of children and young people through training for staff in early years and school settings. The overall aim would be to boost the resilience of children by fostering an exclusive culture which would enable children to thrive. The Director advised that more information could be found at


b)   Question asked by Jane Williams


“Panels make decisions on the lives of disabled children and can be the difference between getting the provision they need or not. Because these panels are so important to disabled children, can you confirm or deny if minutes are taken at all panel meetings and what the minimum required SEND law training for someone to be part of a panel?”


Response by the Chairman


The Local Authority are required to make a number of decisions relating to the SEND. In making these decisions, the Council is required to follow the relevant legislation and the related guidance set out in the SEND Code of Practice (2015).


There is no requirement for the Council to establish any Panel mechanism to make the above decisions. However, in common with most other local authorities, Leicestershire County Council have established a number of Panels to make these decisions. All decisions made by the Panel are recorded, communicated to parents/carers and added to the child’s case file.


There is no minimum training requirement for Panel members, but each person will be professionally qualified in their own field.


Supplementary question asked by Jane Williams


“I know you said that you document decisions, but do you take minutes of how you came to that decision and how that decision complied in full with the Children & Families Act and the SEND Code of Practice”?


Response by the Chairman


At the invitation of the Chairman, the Director for Children and Family Services responded that the Department had kept records of all decision making which had taken place at panels. Records would be logged on child’s file as well as retained centrally as minutes so that officers could identify the decisions taken on any given date and also which panel members had been present. With regards to decisions to assess and decisions as to whether to issue a plan, the rationale would be recorded with reference to the relevant legislative test. Decisions regarding whether or not to consult with a specialist placement would be made in line with the requirement to consult with the school of parental preference, but also the duty to ensure that the placement could meet the child’s needs would be an efficient use of local authority resources and would not be incompatible with the efficient education of others.


Supporting documents: