Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru
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Ymchwiliad i Addysg Heblaw yn yr Ysgol
EOTAS 17      

Ymateb gan: Cyngor Bwrdeistref Sirol



National Assembly for Wales
Children, Young People and Education Committee Inquiry into Education Otherwise than at School EOTAS 17

Response from: CONWY County Borough Council



1. Reasons for and support available for children and young people at risk of EOTAS, including through their exclusion from mainstream provision.


1.1      Reasons for EOTAS


Learners become at risk of EOTAS for often a number of reasons and factors, the most commonly identified factors within Conwy LA are listed below.

·         Complex barriers to learning e.g chaotic home life,- Barriers outside school environment that impact on learning

·         School refusers

·         Disengaged from learning provision offered following adaption and personalised timetabling

·         Parent dissatisfaction with current mainstream provision

·         Permanent Exclusion from mainstream school

·         Vocational options for future learning pathway


1.2 Support available to EOTAS learners

There is a range of support available for learners for whom being part of mainstream school flow causes them significant challenge and they are unable to access learning in a meaningful way. Support within Conwy can be split into two areas the first held centrally by LA and the second being held within the school environment itself.

Centrally held:

·         14-16 Collaborative Courses Vocational Courses- 50 % at risk disengaging

·         Alternative Curriculum Programme [160 learners Year 10 & 11 2018/19]

·         TRAC – 715 Participants aged 11-16 across LA

·         Social Inclusion Staff supporting with outreach and consultation around placements

·         Education Social Work Service

·         School Based Counselling

·         Managed Transfers- LA works with secondary schools to look at the allocation of learners whom would benefit from mana


School based:

·         OSIC- Onsite Inclusion Centres located within all Secondary provisions

·         Learning Coaches/ Guidance Mentors

·         Schools own bespoke learning programme- Schools have a range of short course provisions and localised connections to the schools which are utilised to personalise timetables

·         County led resource bases [Language, ASD, Behaviour]

·         Pupil Support Plan- Offering parents and school the chance to work together to create a plan around a learners needs

·         Reduced timetables – Reducing hours a learner attends for a short fixed period of time in order to support re-engagement


2. How effectively parents are engaged and supported throughout the EOTAS process


Parents/ carers form a key part in both the planning and support process where a learner is identified for EOTAS provision. Indeed, no decisions for EOTAS provision are made without parental consent. Parents/ carers would be part of the school based support meetings held and would be consulted on options available for learner, including provision of available information and visiting new provision to ensure an informed decision is made around the placement. All provisions have a key point of contact for parent/carer ensuring there is a point of contact for parents/carers within the provision. Parents/ carers also form part of the review process for learner and will be invited to attend reviews scheduled for progress and have the opportunity to feedback with their own comments also.


3.The variation in rates of EOTAS for children and young people with particular characteristics (such as learners with special educational needs or who are eligible for free school meals) and the consequences of this


3.1 EOTAS learners in Conwy 2018/19

Conwy PLASC data for 2018/19 details that the county had 74 learners identified as EOTAS. This classification has three clear sub groups of learners:

[1] PRU Provision

49 Learners accessing Pupil Referral Unit provision through LA. There 47 learners within this group whom at the point when PLASC data was taken they are in year 11 learners and accessing LA PRU. The remaining 2 learners are currently on our Key Stage 3 provision roll and whom do not have a mainstream placement, and their sole registration is to ourselves. This is not common practice, learners whom access PRU are usually dual registered to a mainstream provision.

[2] Mainstream school arrangements of EOTAS

The mainstream school has arranged EOTAS provision for learner and the provision is managed by the school. This accounted for 6 learners within the data.

[3] Independent Schools

Learners whom attend Independent Specialist schools in order to meet their ALN as identified through their statement ALN accounted for 19 learners within this cohort.


3.2 Identified Characteristics

As a cohort of learners the following characteristics can be identified from those with EOTAS status 2018/19:

- 69 out of 74 learners are from White British backgrounds

-35% (26 learners) were eligible for Free School Meals

- Only 8 learners from the cohort are not identified as having ALN, with 22 learners with statements of ALN.


 4. The levels of financial support available to support EOTAS and children and young people at risk of becoming EOTAS and whether this represents value for money


Learners identified as needing EOTAS placements are supported through a number of routes financially to do so. The route completed by a learner is dependent upon the initial reason behind the need for EOTAS, and individualised plan around the learner.


4.1 14-19 Grant & TRAC


Conwy currently receives a grant of £330, 000 for the provision of  14-19 Network, this includes the provision of vocational options, extended work experience placements along with the appointment of 2 staff members to co-ordinate support Co-ordinator College placements and work experience. Conwy also benefits from TRAC programme, with a £4.3 million investment over 8 years for the project. This programme has supported identified learners with a range of resources which include attendance support, counselling, identified additional provision and the opportunity for schools to plan for the wider needs of learners.


Investment within these programmes contributes greatly to the scale of delivery for supporting EOTAS learners and also provides learners with a pathway outside of Pupil Referral Unit provision. By utilising the above, schools have the ability to complete a more individualised timetables around learners needs, and support them. This area of support akin to wider educational services, has also received an annual budget cut and concern rests around project end date of TRAC programme in July 2022, as to what resources will then be available to support this area of work.


4.2 PRU Placements


At present costs for placement for learners within Conwy PRU setting are met through Service Level Agreement with mainstream providers. Schools ‘buy in’ to the agreement, and refer learners as appropriate to the county moderation panel for the allocation of a placement. Current placement within this provision is through identification of learner needs against entrance criteria, schools are able to refer as needed. At present this area of funding is within democratic process with a consultation for withdrawal of service level agreements and funds to be held centrally. This process has anticipated end date of November 2020 for proceedings from consultation to be reviewed by Elected Members.


4.3 SMAP- Joint agency funding with Social Care and Health


This area of funding where education works jointly with Health and Social Care colleagues to provide provision through Independent schools in order to combine financial resources to ensure that the needs of the learner are met with recommendations from other key agencies.


4.4 School EOTAS provision


Mainstream provisions are increasingly looking towards and supporting the provision of EOTAS as identified and paid for through school budget. This is an area of work the LA are looking to support and develop, in order to support provision of wider EOTAS opportunities for learners currently in a mainstream setting.



5. Responsibility and accountability for the education of pupils who become EOTAS


Conwy LA is at present developing EOTAS policy for use across the county to ensure that there is a consistent response for responsibility and accountability of those learners with EOTAS status. This policy is being developed in accordance to the current EOTAS Framework for Action 2017 guidance produced by Welsh Government. At present learners with this status are monitored according to the groups identified in Section [3].


[1] PRU learners

Learners whom are accessing PRU provision are supported and monitored by PRU staff with close working relationship with mainstream referring provider.


[2] EOTAS provision provided by mainstream school

Learners remain responsibility of the mainstream school even though their provision is outside of the school setting. School staff are responsible for managing welfare, attendance and attainment of these learners.


[3] Independent Schools

Responsibility for learners within these settings rests with LA and statutory reviewing mechanisms in place through Annual Reviews. The LA will steer and monitor any changes to provision needed and ensure welfare of the learner is being managed.



6. Attainment of children and young people EOTAS 


A key area for development within the county EOTAS policy is to ensure that attainment of learners within EOTAS continuum, not just those within the PRU setting, are reviewed annually with clear development plans in place. At present the attainment of learners with EOTAS status is looked at according to which of the three groups Conwy leaners fall into. We would look to develop a more cohesive approach in line with practices reflected within Framework for Action 2017 in order to have county wide processes for raising attainment for EOTAS learners.


Learners within EOTAS settings access both vocationally national recognised qualifications, short courses and GCSE examination subjects. Data from 2018/19 PRU cohort of 47 learners  shows 138 GCSE entries were made with 32 A*- C grades and 90 D- G grades awarded.


7. Outcomes and wellbeing of children and young people EOTAS


Outcomes and wellbeing for this group of learners are carefully supported to ensure outcomes based around the learner’s future needs and ensuring that they are not disadvantaged from post 16 opportunities. EOTAS learners from 2017/18 PRU cohort of 36 demonstrate this success  with only 4 learners NEET/Outcome unknown,  27 gaining a place in College for post 16 studies and 5 entering work or training.


8. The quality of support provided to children and young people in the range of EOTAS provision


Learners accessing EOTAS provision receive support that is bespoke to their identified needs. Support within their identified provision[s] is quality assured through a range measures which include the following:

·         In house quality assurance processes- Lessons observations, training, school based quality assurance procedure, school council, School Development Plan

·         Outside agency processes- Gwe School Improvement, Estyn, Care Inspectorate Wales

·         LA processes- Annual reviews, LAC Reviews, LA EOTAS policy.


9. Professional development support for Pupil Referral Unit staff, including those who provide home tuition


All staff within LA PRU [Canolfan Addysg Conwy] including staff whom provide Home tuition services have opportunity and are actively encouraged to engage with professional development. The LA supports identification of professional development with PRU Senior Leadership team through PDR process, with the leadership team likewise planning for the development of staff on each site. Thematic training needs following referral of specific needs around learners is completed as identified, utilising outside agencies and support of Management Committee as required. Areas of training and development identified and completed are reported to the Management Committee on a termly basis, in order for members to be aware of the input into staff development and to support the Service where training needs are outstanding.


10. The potential risks for children and young people EOTAS such as increased barriers to accessing mental health support, increased risk of involvement with crime and the criminal justice system such as ‘county lines’.


EOTAS learners represent a section of the most vulnerable learners within the authority and we are therefore mindful that they are at increased risks to involvement with negative activity and face greater barriers to accessing additional services. Clear plans of support around the learner are needed not just to support educational provision, but to ensure well-being of learners remains a key focus. Multi agency planning and review meetings as needed are encouraged, with staff working with EOTAS learners along with continuous professional development around emerging themes and risk to learners e.g county lines, so that staff are more confident and knowledgeable.