Using information from EHC plans to inform school and college improvement and to commission post-16 options

19 February 2015

In order to improve the outcomes of young people with SEND, local areas need to use information from EHC plans and the work on the Local Offer to inform strategic commissioning and provider development. Joint commissioning across education, health and social care (including housing and employment) provides an opportunity to ensure there is good support for the PfA outcomes for young people with SEND.

It can take time to change commissioning practice and develop the skills and behaviours of the workforce. Local areas should be exploring how they can use information about the aspirations, outcomes and needs of young people in Year 9 and above to forecast the type of post-16 provision and support they need in the future to ensure young people with SEND achieve employment, independent living, community inclusion and good health and wellbeing.

Working Together for Change (WTfC) is a tried and tested approach to co-producing change with local people and harnessing the energy from that process for strategic planning, commissioning and service development. This approach was designed by Helen Sanderson Associates and developed further thorough the Department of Health’s Provider Development Programme (2010). Over the last decade the approach has been tested and refined and is now being used across the country in a variety of settings such as schools, hospitals, local authorities, and internationally as a tool for delivering inclusive strategic change. Many of the Getting a Life pilot sites and Preparing for Adulthood SEND pathfinders have used this approach to support local areas to co-produce post-16 pathways that lead to employment, independent living, community participation and good health.


WTfC uses information, most commonly from person-centred reviews (and now from Preparing for Adulthood reviews) to identify what is working well for people, what is not working so well and what might need to change for the future. It is usually a two day facilitated process involving young people, families, schools, colleges, commissioners, providers and professionals across health, education and social care and key agencies such as housing and employment.

Working Together for Change reflects the co-production ethos of the SEND reforms, and is a time- and cost-effective process to inform:

  • school and college development plans;
  • work on the local offer; commissioning strategies;
  • how providers and professionals may need to adapt processes and practices;
  • what type of post-16 options and support are required to realise young people’s aspirations and outcomes (including study programmes).

The process is designed to work cyclically and to be embedded within the core cycle of commissioning or business planning, rather than to be picked up for a single usage – though that can still work well too.

Here is a summary of the 8 steps and how this can be used with data from the Preparing for Adulthood reviews and EHC plans:

8 Steps of how this can be achieved

1. Prepare

Agree the question you want to answer with Working together for Change and therefore who needs to be involved.Decide the question you want to answer – for example, “What type of post-16 options and support do we need to develop for young people currently educated out of area?” Then decide the scope of using Working Together for Change.This could be:

·         One school;

·         All schools in a locality;

·         All schools within a local authority;

·         All young people educated out of area;

·         Particular groups of young people who have poor outcomes.

Agree who to invite. This should include young people, families, schools, post-16 providers including FE colleges and commissioners, health and care colleagues across children’s and adults’ services, housing and employment providers and other key partners such as the voluntary sector. It works best when one third of the group is young people and families.

Decide on the venue and date

2. Collect

Gather the information from the Preparing for Adulthood reviews. This includes The top 2 statements about what is working for the person, the top 2 that are not working, and the top 2 things they want to do in the future.

For young people within the area chosen, gather the information from the Preparing for Adulthood review (what is working and not working) and EHC plans (aspirations). The information from the Preparing for Adulthood reviews will be automatically generated as part of the review process.

3. Theme

Information from Preparing for Adulthood reviews is used to identify themes which can be used to inform commissioning and provider development

The first session involves clustering similar issues together, identifying themes and writing these as ‘I’ statements.

Working in small groups identify:

What’s working for young people?

What’s not working for young people?

What young people’s aspirations are?

4. Understand

Work together to understand the root causes of what is not working for people and prioritise the top ones to address

On mixed tables, different groups look at the themes around not working and aspirations.

They identify possible root causes for what is not working.

5. Identify success

Identify what success would look like if the root causes were addressed and changed. Agree success statements from different perspectives.

This section looks at the themes and identifies what success would look like from the perspective of each different group (young people, families, schools and colleges, commissioners etc).

6. Plan

Look at what is happening already to move towards success, think together about a range of other ways to make change and agree which ideas to turn into action plans and take forward.

Identify what needs to happen (by whom, by when) to do more of what is working, change what isn’t working, and help young people achieve their aspirations.

At this stage it is important that people know:

·         What is in the local offer;

·         What national good practice looks like, and the evidence of what helps young people achieve paid employment, independent living, community participating and good health.

Information from the action planning session can help to:

·         Inform school or college development plans

·         Identify how professional practice needs to change across health, education, social care and partner agencies

·         Update the local offer

·         Inform commissioning and development of post-16 options and support (across education, health and social care)

7. Implement

Identify where you are now (baseline) and how you will know you have been successful (indicators). Share this information and start to implement action plans.

For each area where there will be changes, it is important to have a clear understanding of where you are now, and how you will know if there is success.

For example, if there are actions to increase the number of young people leaving school and going into paid employment, it is important to know how many achieve that now, and what is the target number you are working towards.

This information is shared with all stakeholders through a variety of communication channels, for example school newsletters, parent partnership newsletters, and local authority reports.

8. Review

Evaluate progress against success criteria and write a Working Together for Change report. Communicate progress and next steps to all involved and other people interested in the changes.

The information about progress towards the success indicators is reviewed and shared. This includes updating the local offer and sharing stories about how young people are being supported to achieve their aspirations and have full adult lives.

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