Agenda and minutes

Venue: Council Chamber

Contact: Christine Rothwell  Senior Governance Officer

No. Item


Apologies for absence


Apologies for absence were received from Antoinette Drinkhill and Bernadette Nesbit.



To consider the extent, if any, to which the public and press are to be excluded from the meeting.


There were no items on the agenda.



Declarations of Interest, if any.


There were no declarations of interest made.


Minutes of the Children and Young People Overview and Scrutiny Panel meeting held on 8th December 2022 pdf icon PDF 132 KB


RESOLVED that:-  the minutes of the meeting held on the 8th December, 2022 were agreed as a correct record and signed by the Chair.



Public Statements

(A period not exceeding 20 minutes for statements from up to 5 members of the public on matters within the Panel’s remit, proposing action(s) which may be considered or contribute towards the future development of the Panel’s work programme).


A statement was provided by Mrs Olivia North as follows.

“I understand SEND from a number of different angles, first and most important is the title I am normally recognised for, I am Kai North’s mum. Next, I am a neurodiverse adult who was home-schooled due to archaic attitudes and failures in the education system. I am also a professional who studies and works in early years development.

Discussing my neurodiversity is not something I do often because it can be met with sympathy, pity, and a lack of understanding, something I neither need nor want, occasionally it is even met with patronising undertones. I am a highly educated 40-year-old woman who sees and experiences the world differently.

At twelve years old I was diagnosed with an adjustment disorder to everyday life events, a behavioural disorder and school phobia linked with underdeveloped social skills, twenty-eight years ago no one connected the dots. My parents were advised home-schooling was the best option as education wasn’t really for me. I left school and could barely read or write.

Eleven years ago, Kai was born, within the first eighteen months, we became aware Kai was not developing typically. Kai was referred for GDA at two with joint support from our GP and community nursery nurse. We were extremely lucky that the waiting list was short at that time and Kai was diagnosed at three years old with ASD, Kai’s ASD report discusses Kai’s prevalence of demand avoidance. Whilst demand avoidance is a contentious term and is often debated, I live with Kai, the anxiety and need are very real. Kai currently attends a SEMH school in Wakefield and will move to a PDA hub in April as his current school has said they cannot meet his needs from September moving into Secondary.

It has not been an easy path and we have met various obstacles along the way including all Doncaster schools stating they cannot meet Kai’s needs, and Educational Psychologist asking if I had considered home-schooling and CAMHS stating that Kai’s needs were too complex to be met by CAMHs, and he was diagnosed and we were just left to do our best for Kai on our own. I want to tell you something about Kai, Kai is a wonderfully funny and intelligent child who cannot stand injustice, Kai will always stand for those facing injustice and those who are not as fortunate as he is. Kai wrote a report on why collective punishments don’t work in schools and subsequently changed his school’s behaviour policy and one of my lecturers marked the report as 63! Not bad for a child apparently 3 years behind at school. The schools that turned Kai away are missing out not Kai.

When Kai was discharged from CAMHS, after 18 months of school avoidance and a mainstream school who, despite their best efforts were not equipped to meet Kai’s needs and with no SEND school willing to give us a chance, I decided that Kai would not  ...  view the full minutes text for item 26.


Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Strategy Update pdf icon PDF 671 KB


The purpose of this item was to update the Panel on the progress of the refreshed Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) Strategy, which was approved by Cabinet in November 2022.  It was reported that consultation with the wider system took place during September to November 2022, with delivery beginning in January 2023.


The Chair made reference to a recent meeting that the Panel held with representatives from the SENCos network, and discussed areas such as challenges around training, recruitment and EHCPs.  The Chair remarked how informative and interesting the meeting had been.


The Chair relayed a comment made by a member of the Panel who had been unable to attend the meeting, that “it had been good news regarding the inclusion of Doncaster on the DfE’s ‘Delivering Better Value in SEND’ financially and the access to wider support/expertise and cooperation”. 


A question was raised on their behalf, around neighbouring local authorities who had had their high needs block funding increased by 10%, and it was asked whether that was the same for Doncaster and how it would affect the SEND plan?  The Director of Children, Young People and Families commented that there had been a 10% uplift in Doncaster and this would be used as well as possible.


SEND Strategy - It was commented that the issues raised within the public statement were areas that had also been seen nationally and that there was an awareness of them in Doncaster.  The Panel was informed that the Government had acknowledged the challenges in ensuring that local areas were able meet the needs of young people and had produced their own action plan around making necessary changes.  Reference was made to the work undertaken with children, young people and their families and through the Department of Education.  It was explained that this work involved looking at the intelligence of the local system that included data and the experiences of young people in their placements.  It was explained that the work indicated how we needed to look at prioritising having the right provision at right time and planning the appropriate response to needs and as needs change.


It was showed through work undertaken that certain costs could be avoided if the system was optimised to meet those needs earlier (as part of the strategy’s “graduated approach”).  Reference was made to academic outcomes where nationally there was not enough young people with SEND accessing good quality education, training and employment, and had resulted in another priority within the strategy. It was added that the strategy also focused on making sure that the day-to-day experiences of children and young people was the right one based upon what their experiences have been living within the current system.


Voice Of Children and Families/Examples - An outline was provided of the amount of interaction undertaken with children, young people and families.  This interaction had included 8 workshops, surveys of children and young people, working with young advisors, school youth councils and two groups of young  ...  view the full minutes text for item 27.


Overview and Scrutiny Workplan and the Council's Forward Plan of Key Decisions pdf icon PDF 636 KB

Additional documents:


The Senior Governance Officer presented the Scrutiny Work Plan that had recently been agreed by the Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee and the Council’s Forward Plan of Key Decisions.


RESOLVED: That the update be noted.