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13 December 2017 - Newcastle Area Strategic Board

Meeting: December 2017, Civic Centre Room 5.2

Chair: Ewen Weir, Director for People, Newcastle Council


Doreen Andrews Service Manager LDA and Mental Health Services, representing Al McDowell, Newcastle Council
June Ball Senior Teacher Hadrian School, Compass Trust
Ann Banks Project Manager, Newcastle Council
Amber Burton Head of Service for SEN and Vulnerable Learners, Newcastle Council (from January 2018)
Gemma Dyer Head of Public Sector Partnerships, Princes Trust
Lynn Frith High Needs Review Lead, Vulnerable Learners, Newcastle Council
Mark Hasenfuss Learning Support Manager, Newcastle College on behalf of Barbara King, Vice Principal
Wendy Hodgson Deputy Chief Executive, Health watch
Dean Jackson Lead Assistant Director Education and Skills, Newcastle Council
David Jones Designated Clinical Officer, Newcastle Gateshead CCG
Tracey Kelly Assistant Principal and SENCO, Excelsior Academy SENCO, on behalf of Jane Spence, Chief Executive Laidlaw Trust
Lara Lillico Educational Psychology Manager, Newcastle Council
Louise Relton Parent/Carer representative
Penny Richardson High Needs Review Lead, SEND, Newcastle Council
Lynn Stephenson Chair, West Trust (Bridgewater)
Katy Squire SENCO and Assistant Head Bridges School, representing Mark Jones Chief Executive of Prosper Trust (from January 2018)
Abbey Waites Service Manager Specialist Services Children’s Social Care, representing Karen Simmons, Newcastle Council
Mark Wakenshaw Parent/Carer representatives


Rachel Baillie Assistant Director of Commissioning, Procurement and Inclusion Newcastle Council
Eugene Milne Director of Public Health, Newcastle Council
Chris Piercy Executive Lead Patient Safety and Quality, Newcastle Gateshead CCG

Notes and Actions

Introductions/Role of the Board

Ewen Weir, Director for People opened the meeting and invited introductions from the reconvened SEND Strategic Area Board. The purpose of the Board is to carry out a stock take of where we are in relation to the provision of SEND services, set the future strategic direction of travel and focus on delivering improved outcomes for children and young people with SEND.
Dean Jackson, the Lead Assistant Director of Education and Skills informed members that the Board replaces the previous SEND Board which focused on implementing the SEND reforms The Board now contains leaders from a variety of providers of services for children and young people with SEND across the city.
Dean referred the Board to the recent SEN inspection of Oxfordshire County Council, particularly paragraph 4 (attached as Appendix 1) and the comment that 'arrangements for holding leaders to account across education, health and care are not effective enough'. Other areas have also received criticism.

The Board discussed the governance arrangements for SEND in the city and considered that the Wellbeing for Life Board could be the natural forum to present the SEND agenda. Currently a significant proportion of work presented to the Wellbeing for Life Board relates to the needs of children in the city, but may need to be framed as a coherent children's agenda. Other issues discussed which need further consideration in relation to SEND are: 

  • Opportunity provided by North of Tyne Partnership
  • Future role of the North of Tyne Mayor
  • The ‘Education Challenge’ proposed in the North of Tyne Agreement
  • The North of Tyne devolved budget for skills
  • Role of Regional Schools commissioner 
  • Role and links with Newcastle Vulnerable Children's Board and Children's Trust

Board to note:

  • there are two public meetings to be held in January organised by Voices for Choices to provide a mechanism to hear the views of young people
  • Newcastle City Council has signed up to UNICEF’s Child Friendly City children’s right programme


Strategic board members are recommended to read a selection of SEND Ofsted reports which can be viewed at the following link:
Ofsted SEND inspection report listings

Ewen Weir and Dean Jackson to update the Board with proposal for governance of SEND agenda - February meeting

Terms of Reference 

Dean took the Board through proposed terms of reference and agreed a number of changes which are marked up in yellow on the revised document (Appendix 2a). Please note that links to the Wellbeing for Life Board and Children and Young People's plan are included in the terms of reference.


As part of agreeing working groups, it was agreed that we would set up a small group to look at developing an outcomes framework. This is to be led by Lynn Frith who has a draft document that could be adapted for Newcastle. This will be presented to the next Strategic Board meeting 

Statutory guidance 

 Dean Jackson took the Board through paras 76 and 77 of the Handbook for inspectors which explains which children are the focus of the SEND inspection. Points to note:

  • Those children electively home educated are receiving national focus at the moment. However the council has no rights of access to monitor these children unless there is a safeguarding issue. Dean Jackson is a member of national board looking into this issue
  • We are establishing an education sub group to the youth offending board to oversee outcomes for young offender
  • The role of the virtual school is to be extended to cover young people who have previously been in care
  • Work continues to monitor illegal schools

Links to the Inspection Handbook and the Inspection Framework are included in Appendix 2b.

Challenges for Local Area Leaders

Two brief presentations are attached:

  • Evaluation of performance against the first 30 SEND inspections - Appendix 3a
  • Newcastle Council's  summary of strengths and weaknesses - Appendix 3b

Due to time Dean Jackson requested that Board Members review and return any comments. At the next meeting we will present the SEND self-assessment (known as the SEF) for discussion and comments 

Update on the high needs reviews 

 The Council’s transformation leads Penny Richardson and Lynn Frith outlined their work on the SEND and Vulnerable Learners reviews,
presentations are attached:

  • The SEND review update -  Appendix 4a
  • Vulnerable Learners transformation project - Appendix 4b

Board to note:

  • That reports are planned for Cabinet in January 2018 and the SEND Board will be updated of progress at the February meeting.

Future programme

The Board agreed to meet each term and to hold an additional meeting in February with the following outline agenda:

  • Agree updated terms of reference
  • Agree sub groups
  • Agree any additional members required
  • Agree a work plan
  • SEF
  • Outcomes framework
  • Update on the transformation reviews 


The Board considered that the hospital trust should also be invited to be members. AB to invite for next meeting.
Board members are asked to have a look at the local offer and provide comments and suggestions. The local offer can be viewed at the following link: Newcastle's Local Offer
Louise Relton commented that whilst the local offer web site is good the term 'local offer' was not understood by parents

Any further  comments that you would like to make please return to Ann Banks, Project Manager -
Tel: 0191 277 4520

Future meetings

7th February 2018 9.30am – 11.30am, Armstrong Stephenson Room
28th March 2018 9.30am – 11.30am, Armstrong Stephenson Room
27th June 2018 9.30am – 11.30am, Armstrong Stephenson Room
19th September 2018 9.30am – 11.30am, Armstrong Stephenson Room
16th January 2019 9.30am – 11.30am, Armstrong Stephenson Room
Last updated: 21/01/2019
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