Annex 2: Visit to Leicester, 11 November
Meeting with Leicester City Council
The Committee took part in a panel discussion, led
by John Broadhead, Behaviour and Attendance Strategic Lead for
the City Council. During the discussion, the following points
The nature and level of challenging behaviour
in Leicester schools
Leicester partners generally agreed that pupil behaviour
in schools was good, with pockets of seriously disruptive behaviour
from a minority of pupils. The fact that many pupils with behavioural,
emotional and social needs and/or disabilities are now more likely
to remain in mainstream school (whereas previously they may have
fallen out of the school system entirely), may have contributed
to a perception in some quarters that behaviour has deteriorated.
Leicester's Education Improvement Partnership
In Leicester, an Education Improvement Partnership,
of which all secondary schools are members, was established in
2006. The partnership now focused predominantly on behaviour management,
advocacy for headteachers, and providing continuing professional
development on behaviour management for staff working in schools.
When the Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Act
2009 placed a duty on secondary schools to form Behaviour and
Attendance Partnerships (that is for schools to co-operate with
at least one other relevant partner with a view to promoting good
behaviour), Leicester formalised its existing partnership arrangements,
added new members, and pooled resources. The impact of effective
partnership working is considered to be evident in the City's
constantly falling permanent exclusion rate, which shows the following
decreases year on year:
- 2005: approximately 50 secondary
- 2007: 28
- 2008: 3
- 2009: 3
- 2010: 1
The City partnership holds a common view that permanent
exclusion is expensive, ineffective, and curtails pupils' life
chances. The partnership aims for a zero exclusion rate.
Partnership working between schools
In Leicester City, there is an established culture
of less challenged schools supporting those with greater challenges
in terms of pupil behaviour. However, Education Improvement Partnership
Director, Bill Morris, pointed out that achieving effective partnership
working between schools was easier in a smaller city like Leicester.
Partnership working with Youth Offending Teams
The City has recognised the importance of tackling
behaviour outside the school gates as well as in the classroom.
Effective partnerships between the local authority, schools and
the Youth Offending Team have been instrumental in ensuring this
can happen. Central to the YOT's work is its focus on getting
families on-side in order to secure better cooperation from young
people. The Education, Training and Employment Team within the
Leicester City Youth Offending Service (YOS) is grant-funded and
has no budget of its own. This funding, which is short term and
target specific, has allowed the YOS to play a key role in the
'team around the child' when assessing - and providing support
to - pupils with behavioural issues, who are involved with the
YOS. The YOS runs parenting groups and Family Support Groups and
believes that work on improving self-esteem and pupils' attitudes
towards school and work is infinitely more important than focusing
on issuing punitive measures such as Parenting Orders. The YOT
is confident that it has solid evidence proving the effectiveness
of its interventions with pupils and families.
The future of partnership working
The City's Education Improvement Partnership is
a consensual arrangement and has no official legal status. However,
the partnership is seeking to become a legal entity in future.
It is likely that the EIP will continue as a central commissioning
body, with responsibility for providing continuing professional
development to schools. The EIP is school-led, and local authority-supported.
With National Strategies coming to an end, the City
Council sees its role as being a trainer for school leaders on
matters of behaviour and discipline. The expectation is that school
leaders will then cascade this knowledge and training down to
school staff at all levels. Marie Bush, Vice Principal of Judgemeadow
Community College, agreed that this approach would be helpful
and added that Judgemeadow Community College could not have become
a Lead Behaviour School by working in isolation. The ending of
National Strategies was not deemed to be of great concern. Mrs
Bush was not concerned by the prospect of her school having to
take on a greater role in commissioning and procuring services
for the school.
The role of Pupil Referral Units
Historically, the PRU in Leicester offered primary
and secondary settings within the same provision. In the primary
provision, partnership working with schools has been in place
for some time, with use being made of interventions such as managed
moves between partner schools to prevent exclusion. However, Key
Stage 1 places in the PRU were often taken up by children coming
through from foundation stage learning.
In 2002, the Primary Behaviour Support team was more
closely aligned with the primary PRU, to form a Behaviour Continuum.
The Primary Behaviour Continuum focus was to build capacity within
schools to support pupils with SEBD - this was a major development
at the time and allowed for much improved links between schools
and services targeted at preventing exclusion. This included an
improved 'outreach' service from the PRU (PRU teachers and support
staff going into mainstream schools to support teachers in managing
behaviour). Nurture groups are frequently used, and are seen as
a highly effective intervention with younger pupils. Primary interventions
also have a heavy focus on improving literacy, as this is a major
issue amongst primary pupils.
At secondary level, the situation has been more challenging:
getting secondary schools to sign up to partnerships was therefore
considered to be critical to addressing the high exclusion rate
at secondary level in previous years.
The Secondary Behaviour Support Service and the local
Pupil Referral Unit are considered to be one and the same, owing
to the fact that the PRU increasingly provides preventative interventions
for pupils at risk of exclusion, or displaying poor behaviour.
This demonstrates the City's increasing focus on preventing exclusion,
rather than managing those pupils already excluded.
Everyone agreed that school leadership has a significant
impact on the nature and level of behaviour in schools. Several
of those present agreed that it was very difficult to plan for
the impact of a change of leadership. It was therefore considered
hugely important for mainstream schools and PRUs to maintain permanent
and ongoing communication with each other, not just at times when
consideration of exclusion was taking place. It was also agreed
that much could be learned from the City's secondary schools which
operate a 'one campus' model
in which concerns, information and resources are shared at all
times, to facilitate effective management of pupils across the
The Committee learned how referrals to behaviour
support services in Leicester were made. The Council refers to
its services as a 'continuum of provision and support', with a
variety of agencies working together to secure support for pupils.
A common referral path would operate as follows:
- Phonecall from school to support
service, leading to discussions with either the Education Improvement
Partnership Director or the Council's Secondary Behaviour Support
Service. They would in turn liaise, as appropriate, with the Education
Inclusion Team, Educational Psychologists, and Integrated Service
- An Information Passport about the pupil
under consideration needs to be collated. This 'single referral
form' avoids the need for all concerned agencies to make multiple
separate referrals to support services, and improves the quality
of information shared between partners.
- If partners decide that low-level interventions
are required, 'School-Action'-type interventions are put in place,
possibly with additional in-school support and advice from support
- If higher level interventions are required, the
following interventions are considered:
- Off-site educational provision
at a PRU
- Split timetable between PRU and mainstream school
- Vocational placements
- For pupils with the highest
levels of need (i.e. those at risk of immediate exclusion), the
following actions and interventions
- Pastoral Support Plan meetings
and/or Common Assessment Framework process is initiated (a 'team
around the child')
- A full-time personal learning programme for the
pupil is agreed
- The City's Education Improvement Partnership
(comprising all City secondary, faith and special schools, the
City's one Academy and the Council's Behaviour Support Service)
would be engaged to consider a managed move.
- At present, it is not possible
to refer pupils to the City's Special Schools without a Statement
of SEN. However, the City is in the process of reviewing its current
protocols to see if earlier referrals would be beneficial.
Early identification of difficulties was a large
part of early intervention. Although witnesses agreed that early
interventions were extremely important and had a marked effect
on improving pupil behaviour, pupils with more complex needs often
required continuing support and intervention at secondary school
level. The Targeted Mental Health in Schools Programme (TaMHS)
was singled out as having been particularly effective in Leicester
as an early intervention.
Pupils with SEN and Special Schools
Leicester partners commented on a dramatic increase
in the number of primary pupils with serious behavioural issues
requiring placements in Special Schools. These placements sometimes
had to be out-of-city as the primary special school in the city
had closed. Many pupils with Statements of SEN are not able to
secure appropriate placements in Special Schools and waiting lists
in specialist provision are very long.
Educational Psychology Service
The view from Leicester's EP service was that, whilst
behaviour in Leicester's schools was good on the whole, there
remain a small proportion of highly disruptive pupils who require
support and interventions from outside agencies. The EP service
felt that the service provided to schools and pupils from outside
agencies could be improved in the following ways:
- Generally 'smarter' working
with other partners
- Focusing more on the link between school and
- Improving statutory SEN assessments, especially
through enhanced parental involvement in assessments and increasing
capacity in the service to deal with caseloads
CAMHS and Health interventions
CAMHS said that the local CBII (Child Behaviour Intervention
reduced waiting times for CAMHS. In 2006, waiting times for CAMHS
were approximately 1.5 years. This has now been reduced to 4 months,
with emergency referrals benefiting from a 24 hour emergency service.
CAMHS shares information with schools about pupils
accessing its services, although CAMHS is not party to the Information
Passport used by the Leicester Education Improvement Partnership.
CAMHS is, however, a recipient of information gathered through
Common Assessment Framework processes.
Leicester CAMHS is currently investigating what happens
to young people who do not meet mental health service thresholds
for intervention. The Targeted Mental Health in Schools (TaMHS)
has helped to bridge this gap, particularly by up-skilling school
and other front-line staff in identifying and working with pupils
with low-level mental health problems, therefore keeping them
off waiting lists for higher-level CAMHS interventions.
CAMHS pointed out that it is sometimes difficult
to persuade parents to accept interventions for their children
due to the stigma which can be attached to mental health issues.
Speech Language and Communication Needs
Leicester schools have noticed a deterioration in
pupils' speech, language and communication abilities, with reading
ability and comprehension being major issues. Two thirds of adults
in Leicester find reading difficult and the problem seems to be
continuing in the younger generation, with experts blaming the
home environment (too much television, a lack of conversation)
in many cases. Leicester has invested heavily in staff to counter
SLCN problems both in schools and out, but it admits that this
is a burgeoning problem, with a direct impact on the nature and
level of challenging behaviour in schools.
Impact of budget cuts
The Leicester partners agreed that cuts to local
authority budgets would create serious challenges. The partnership
aimed to deal with cuts by making more joint appointments and
sharing expertise between partners more widely. The idea that
schools might feel the need to compete for resources was considered
to be "regrettable" and all partners concurred that
strong partnerships between schools and local authority services
would be increasingly important in tough economic times.
Visit to Beaumont Leys School
Peer coaching and mentoring
Beaumont Leys operates a system which it calls Supporting
Progression, whereby all Year 9 and 10 pupils mentor a
Year 7 or 8 pupil. Even the most challenging pupils are expected
to take on this mentoring role and the school has found that pupils
take the role very seriously. In turn, all Year 11 students are
coached by senior staff and the school believes that this has
contributed to their improved behaviour and attainment.
The school has taken an energetic approach to raising
its own profile, and celebrating the achievements of the school
and its pupils, to inculcate a sense of ambition and aspiration
in all its students. Headteacher Liz Logie believes that developing
pride in the school and its community is essential to promoting
good behaviour. Careers advice starts at Year 7, at which point
pupils are encouraged to think about choices relating to university
and future employment.
Beaumont Leys does not use repeated fixed term exclusions
to avoid permanent exclusion. Instead it focuses its attention
on securing appropriate interventions for pupils at risk of exclusion.
The school does not use a 'sin bin', although there is a "2
to 5 school" which is used as an alternative to exclusions,
where pupils have to work in silence for three hours . Staff
believe that mental health issues are a huge factor in the poor
behaviour of many pupils. They estimate that mental health problems
are a factor in maybe 60% of behaviour resulting in fixed-term
exclusions. The school has not permanently excluded a student
for three years, but that comes with a significant cost, as the
school uses alternative provision.
Special Educational Needs
The school identifies managing the behaviour of
pupils with Social, Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties as
its major challenge, and the one which absorbs most energy and
resources. The school staff provided a case study of a student
with Social, Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties and the steps
taken by the school to maintain her education. Such children needed
a huge amount of teaching, pastoral and specialist support in
order to help them make academic progress. The annual cost to
the school of staff support for children with SEBD and other special
educational needs - excluding the cost of non-teaching pastoral
staff - was at least £371,500.
Beaumont Leys spends £170k per year on non-teaching
pastoral staff, who support pupils in school and can develop links
with pupils' parents and carers - even those who are "hard
to reach". As part of the school's ethos, it adopts the
role of what it calls "the wise parent".
Staff would welcome greater access to more specialist
support - from educational psychologists for example - and interventions
from therapeutic services. At present the schools receives just
30 hours of support per year from educational psychology services.
Difficult decisions have to be made about what to prioritise,
particularly as processing one statement can take up to six hours
of educational psychologists' time, even before writing the report.
The educational psychologist therefore has very little capacity
to support the school in carrying out preventative work in a more
proactive way. The school has considered establishing its own
educational psychology service, but has decided that this is
not financially viable.
The school highlighted major difficulties in accessing
CAMHS. Headteacher Liz Logie said that she had not had any contact
with CAMHS in 8 years of her headship. Referrals had to
be through GPs or educational psychologists. She stated that the
lack of support for young people' s mental health problems was
a 'national scandal ', and the school's inability to access CAMHS
was described as a "disgrace". Asked whether the situation
would improve if schools were able to commission CAMHS directly,
she said this would only be effective if sufficient funds were
made available but that it was certainly something to be considered.
The Common Assessment Framework process was working
well in the Beaumont Leys area, but witnesses pointed out that
this was not the case across the whole city.
The school pays particular attention to pupils going
through the transition between Years 6 and 7 and has a system
of mentoring and supporting students who are vulnerable or at
risk in some way, in order that their introduction to secondary
school goes smoothly. This includes pupils who have behavioural
difficulties. There are particular problems with the low levels
of literacy of many pupils entering Year 7. The school believes
that this contributes to behaviour issues; the result is that
the school has to invest significantly in 'catch up'. Teachers
at Beaumont Leys felt that there was still insufficient early
identification of specific special educational needs, as opposed
to general needs, of children coming from primary schools. It
was suggested that primary schools simply did not have the capacity
to undertake what can be a very arduous process.
Staff said that having a high-quality curriculum
and schemes of learning to support good teaching engaged students
and therefore improved behaviour. For certain subjects, including
geography and religious education, Beaumont Leys teachers have
largely disposed with text books and re-written the Schemes
of Learning to suit the needs of pupils and teachers' delivery
style. This was felt to have been highly effective and to have
had a positive impact on both attainment and behaviour.
Afternoon session with Leicestershire
County Council and partners
The Committee took part in a panel discussion with
the full range of partners involved in managing behaviour in Leicestershire.
During the discussion, the following points were raised.
Leicestershire is a major proponent of partnership
working in the interests of supporting good behaviour in schools.
In addition to formal partnerships between schools and a variety
of agencies, Leicestershire supports a range of more informal
partnerships, such as sports and curriculum partnerships, all
of which contribute to the behaviour and discipline agenda. School
partnerships have had a significant impact on raising standards
in schools which were previously facing more challenging circumstances.
It is accepted amongst schools within partnerships that, even
if an individual school is funding places in alternative provision
but does not benefit from its services (as it has no pupils in
need), it is still preferable for schools to operate in a collegiate
way in order to protect the best interests of all young people
in an area.
Managing behaviour in and out of school
The National Strategies SEAL (Social and Emotional
Aspects of Learning) programme has been implemented in most Leicestershire
schools. Partners believe that SEAL has been successful in equipping
the majority of pupils with the tools and skills they need to
manage their own behaviour successfully. However, partners agreed
that most behavioural problems can be traced to a pupil's home
environment and so interventions are often focused on supporting
pupils and their families. Sure Start children's centres were
having an effect in teaching parents how to attach to their children.
Numbers of permanent exclusions had reduced from
120 in 2006/07 to 26 in 2009/10. Leicestershire operates five
Local Authority Area Placement and Support Panels (previously
Hard to Place Panels) in the County. These panels arrange managed
moves between schools and also act as commissioning bodies to
arrange alternative provision for pupils at risk of exclusion.
Leicestershire has noticed that the performance of the Area Placement
and Support Panels varies across the County and work is therefore
underway to improve consistency across all areas.
The Key Stage 3-4 Pupil Referral Unit came out of
special measures on the day prior to the Committee's visit. The
group of local headteachers who ran the PRU jointly as 'Executive
Headteachers' believe that the PRU's failings were due to it being
used as a "dumping ground" for all permanently excluded
pupils. The Executive believe that putting all permanently excluded
pupils in the same provision without good quality leadership and
planning is "disastrous".
One headteacher told the Committee that, whilst there
was a strong commitment to schools working in partnership to prevent
exclusion, partners faced particular difficulties in securing
alternative provision, especially for pupils aged 15-16. All partners
agreed that significant improvements in the availability and quality
of alternative provision were needed. Partners also pointed out
that it was very expensive to provide a mix of academic and vocational
provision to meet the needs of all pupils. They also considered
non-school providers to be relatively more expensive.
Children in care
One of the great benefits of partnership working
between schools and the local authority is the ability of partners
to operate as a 'virtual school' for all children in care. Two
youth workers were employed to help children in care improve their
self-esteem. Links between schools, pupil referral units and the
local authority allow information about children in care to be
shared amongst partners and appropriate support provided to young
people. Exclusions had fallen from 32.2% in 2007/08 to 12.5% in
2009/10. None were permanently excluded.
Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS)
Liz Mair, CAMHS commissioner , pointed out that mental
health problems are common; however, not all children and young
people with mental health problems need specialist services.
Also there is a commonly held misconception that all CAMH services
are specialist. She suggested that up to 35% of all referrals
of children and young people to specialist CAMHS need something
other than specialist services. The waiting time for specialist
CAMHS has recently reduced from an average of 30 weeks to 10
weeks for non-urgent CAMHS assessment and treatment, although
the CAMHS partnership accepts that this needs to be reduced further.
Urgent cases can be escalated and are seen as a priority, and
within 2 days as a maximum. Greater awareness of the differences
between mental health problems and conduct disorders is required
amongst front-line workers to enable children, young people and
families to get the help they need at the earliest opportunity.
Partners agreed that the Targeted Mental Health in Schools (TaMHS)
programme had been helpful in up-skilling front-line workers,
but that the full impact of the 3 year programme would need to
be reviewed before deciding on whether to take TaMHS further.
Considerations for the future
The Senior School Development Adviser believed that
National Strategies had had a "massive impact". The
focus now was on self-reliance, and the ending of National Strategies
was only felt to be a concern for those schools who are currently
graded 'satisfactory' in terms of behaviour and discipline. Partners
agreed that the local authority would need to take on a much greater
role in challenging and supporting schools to ensure improvement
in this respect.
Funding for 'Lead Behaviour Schools' was considered
to be invaluable in providing guidance and support for schools
with behaviour issues. Partners therefore would be concerned
if this funding was to be withdrawn in future.
Cuts in local authority youth service budgets were
considered to be a major threat, with serious repercussions for
behaviour both in and outside of school. One headteacher said
that the threat to initiatives such as school sports partnerships
were a "disaster waiting to happen". Leicestershire
partners were also sceptical of the ability of the third sector
and volunteers to fill the void left behind as services are withdrawn.
The Youth Offending Service added its concerns to the discussion,
stating that referrals to Youth Offending Teams have dropped considerably
as a result of a wide range of preventative interventions. The
YOS also mentioned the street-based work with young people in
anti-social behaviour hotspots that has been successful in reducing
anti-social behaviour in neighbourhoods.
258 See attached NI 45 performance returns Back
The 'one campus' model is broadly based on the concept of a 'virtual
school' in which all secondary schools in Leicester City work
together collaboratively, to achieve the best possible outcomes
for all young people, for whom the Partnership is jointly responsible
and accountable. Back
Targeted Mental Health in Schools (TaMHS) is a three-year pathfinder
programme, which started in 2008, aimed at supporting the development
of innovative models of therapeutic and holistic mental health
support in schools for children and young people aged five
to 13 at risk of, and/or experiencing, mental health problems;
and their families. The programme began in April 2008 when 25 local
authorities and their corresponding Primary Care Trusts (PCTs)
commenced pathfinder work. It was funded by the then DCSF. Back
The Leicester City Child Behaviour Intervention Initiative (CBII)
is an early intervention and prevention service for children aged
0-11 years and their families who are vulnerable because of children's
behavioural, psychological or mental health needs and where children
are prone to underachievement and social exclusion. The team is
made up of Family Support Workers, Educational Psychologists,
Assistant Educational Psychologists from Children and Young People's
Service (CYPS), and Primary Mental Health Workers from Child and
Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS). CBII is run as a partnership
between the Leicester Children and Young People's Service and
Leicestershire NHS Trust (CAMHS). Back