What is the local offer?
The Government plans, through the Children and Families Bill, to require all local authorities to publish, in one place, information about provision they expect to be available in their area for children and young people from 0 to 25 who have special educational needs – a local offer.
The local offer must include both local provision and provision outside the local area that the local authority expects is likely to be used by children and young people with SEN for whom they are responsible, including relevant regional or national specialist provision. As well as providing clear, comprehensive and accessible information about the support and opportunities that are available, the local offer should make provision more responsive to local needs and aspirations by directly involving children and young people with SEN, parents and carers, and service providers in its development and review.
Clause 30 of the Children and Families Bill gives details of the duty on local authorities to develop, publish and review their local offer. Further detail about what is required is given in indicative draft regulations, whilst guidance on carrying out the statutory duty is given in the indicative draft Special Educational Needs Code of Practice.
With the implementation of the Schools Funding Reform (April 2013) work has been on-going to develop the wider Schools Local Offer, which covers the universal banded funding approach (SEN Matrix) the authority has agreed. This sets out what schools and settings are expected to deliver for their high needs pupils and students through funding elements 1 and 2, and following robust evidence that these elements are insufficient to meet the pupil or student’s needs and explanation of element 3 (top up funding) provided by the authority.
As well as setting out the provision the local authority expects to be available in early years settings, schools and post 16 institutions the local offer should make clear where information provided by schools (under Clause 64 of the Children and Families Bill) about their arrangements for identifying, assessing and making provision for children and young people can be found.
To view the Wolverhampton Local Offer for SEND in detail click here.