Congratulations to East Sussex Area Partnership for attaining Youth Justice SEND Quality Lead Status with a Child First Commendation
East Sussex Area Partnership have attained the highest possible level within the Awards process at the first time of asking. They have used the framework as a touchstone to review and evaluate a mature, well-resourced, focussed and interconnected provision that embraces the principles of Child First practice, not only within the Youth Justice Service but across all the wider partnership of Children’s Services in the area.
The evidence trail accompanying the submission is comprehensive and detailed, reflecting a commitment to divert as many children as possible away from youth justice processes, especially those with complex and profound needs, and onto positive ETE (Education Training and Employment) outcomes.
There are many features of the provision that are worthy of acknowledgment:
- a close working relationship between the SEND Team and the Youth Justice Service, sharing information and professional development opportunities
- an experienced team of co-located professionals (mental health, education support, substance misuse and Speech and Language Therapy etc.)
- Good working relationships between schools (through Inclusion Partnerships) to support children at risk of exclusion
- Data Dashboards that inform and help target provision across services
- Effective and timely escalation routes should these be required
Of particular note is the high-level ERM Meeting. Education Review Meetings were introduced in April 2021 as part of a graduated response for children who are identified through Multi Agency Child Exploitation (MACE) Operational Group or the Vulnerable Adolescent Risk Panel (VARP) as being at risk of exploitation and/or serious youth violence. ERMs are chaired by the Strategic Lead for Specialist Adolescent Services. Professionals relevant to the child’s education will be invited as well as those agencies who have resources to be deployed includeing the Youth Justice Service, ISEND, Under 25’s Substance Misuse Service, Family Key Work, Children’s Social Care and Sussex police.
The purpose of the ERM is to prevent repeat suspension and exclusion and secure the future attendance at school of these cohorts of children and so doing prevent exposure to risks associated with exploitation and serious violence.
Nicola Maxwell (Strategic Lead for Specialist Adolescent Services) stated:
“Since their introduction, a total of 18 ERMs have been held, involving 8 children. The following outcomes have been achieved:
- Exclusion prevented for a child who was accused of a serious assault involving a knife outside of school
- Additional provision (Audio Active) funded by the Youth Justice Service to support a child on a reduced timetable
- Youth Justice Service practitioners supporting children in the local Pupil Referral Unit to improve attendance and behaviour in school. The Youth Justice Service also funded kickboxing for these students as part of the tailored curriculum
- Supported child and parent to engage in admission meeting as part of transition to PRU
In addition, we now have 2 dedicated Education Keyworkers in post providing direct, school based support to some of our most vulnerable learners in East Sussex. ERMs are an example of an operational response to a strategic issue being raised in the MACE Strategic meeting, and we are pleased with the multi-service commitment to joint working that secured this process and the related improvements for children.”
Well done East Sussex!