Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Estyn - Education other than at school. June 2016

Summary of Estyn EOTAS Report - Arthur Tanner. 

Link to full Report HERE

Estyn is the Education Inspection Body for Wales. 

Main findings

1. Overall, EOTAS provision does not give pupils the same access to their education entitlements as their peers. A minority of pupils have to wait for more than 15 days to access provision, receive a restricted curriculum, or follow courses that are not challenging
2. Pupils receiving EOTAS do not usually have access to a broad and balanced curriculum that enables them to gain qualifications that meet their needs and potential. Only a very few pupils are taught by subject specialists. A lack of resources and facilities for subjects such as science limits the curriculum for too many of these pupils.
This shortfall means that pupils miss out on important aspects
of education, which can impact on their future chances of employment and training.

3. Pupils receiving EOTAS do not always receive the full-time education (usually 25  hours a week) to which they are entitled. Most pupils for whom local authorities provide home tuition are educated for a maximum of 10 hours a week. They then follow a restricted curriculum because there is not enough time to teach
all the subjects of the National Curriculum. Many of these pupils have had extended periods of school-based intervention and support through a Pastoral Support Programme (PSP) to help them manage their behaviour.

4. Pupils who have previously been attending Welsh-medium schools have extremely limited opportunities to continue their learning in Welsh when they start EOTAS.
When providers recruit staff to work with these pupils, they do not always recruit qualified teachers.

5. Pupils with additional learning needs do not often receive the  specialist support they need, even when this is set out in a statement of special educational needs. They do not consistently
receive the specialist multi-agency support they need.

6. Nearly all pupils who receive EOTAS in Years 10 and 11 remain in EOTAS for the rest of their school career. They rarely re-integrate into school.

7. For many pupils, EOTAS provides them with a second chance to succeed. Many pupils’ attendance improves and they are more
motivated to learn because they have interesting learning experiences.

8. Many pupils who receive EOTAS study  vocational  courses. These experiences often motivate pupils to do well. They learn the skills
needed to access further training or work. They gain qualifications
that are relevant to the area of work they wish to pursue.

9. Many pupils develop good relationships with staff. They appreciate
Staff understanding the difficulties they experience. Over time, th
ese relationships help to support pupils to improve their behaviour.

Education other than at school
10. Very few pupils continue to be friends with pupils from their mainstream schools. They develop new friends in EOTAS,
but these pupils often do not live nearby and it is difficult to meet up with them outside of school time.

11. Nearly all local authorities experience difficulties ensuring that
pupils receiving EOTAS access the expertise of the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS). Staff do not get the specialist advice and guidance they need to support pupils’ needs.

12. Overall, local authorities’ referral processes for learners to gain access to EOTAS are unclear and not well understood. In most local authorities, these processes do not make sure that assessment and other information is transferred promptly from school to the EOTAS provider.

13. Across Wales, there is a lack of understanding about the registration requirements for pupils receiving EOTAS.
A very few headteachers, who have dual registered pupils receiving EOTAS in Year 11, remove them from the register of the school in January. This means that the attainment of these pupils, which is often not in line with their peers, does not count in the school’s performance data. Their local authorities endorse this practice.

14. Most local authorities do not monitor or oversee EOTAS or alternative provision robustly enough. In most cases, they know how many pupils are receiving the EOTAS they provide or commission from independent providers. Very few know how
many other pupils are also accessing full-time offsite alternative provision, often in the same providers, but directly commissioned by schools.

15. Most local authorities collect data on the qualifications gained by pupils receiving EOTAS. Only a minority of local authorities monitor and evaluate the progress of pupils receiving EOTAS. Overall, local authorities do not track the ongoing progress of pupils well enough
to ensure that all pupils meet their potential. They monitor
attendance and behaviour, but they do not all keep records of pupils’ learning needs or their progress against learning targets.
In a few cases, procedures to track pupils’ daily punctuality and attendance and to ensure pupils’ safety are not followed.

16. Very few teachers of EOTAS, especially those employed by independent providers, have access to training and support that would keep them up-to-date with the latest practice and curriculum requirements. They do not usually know where to go to get the best advice or to see good practice
Local authorities do not encourage their specialist teachers and educational psychologists to share their expertise with independent providers of EOTAS
17. Welsh Government regulations require independent providers of full
-time provision for five pupils or more, and one pupil with statements of special educational needs, to be registered as independent schools. A minority of local authorities commission
full-time EOTAS for large groups of pupils from providers that are not registered as independent schools.  The majority of local authorities visited maintain unregistered PRUs. They operate tuition centres and other non-registered centres to provide education for up to 25 hours a week. Education other than at school

18. Elected members are unaware of all the aspects of EOTAS for which they are responsible
They are unsure about how well pupils receiving EOTAS progress
Or how much the local authority spends on EOTAS.
They do not know if the pupils who received EOTAS go on to further education, employment or training. This means they cannot judge whether the EOTAS they provide is effective or gives value for money.

Home Education Acronyms and  Glossary.

EOTAS - LA funded home programmes are commonly referred to as EOTAS (Education other than at school) in official documentation. The Local authority is responsible for the Education be provided. Monitoring of the LA funded provision is right and proper to ensure taxpayers money is spent correctly. Welsh Government guidance here. 

EHE - Self-funded programmes are called EHE (elective home education). No monitoring. Parents who are funding their child's education themselves already know how well their children are progressing. The parents assume full legal and fiscal responsibility for the education a child receives. Many parents who feel their children have been failed by the system, resent attempts to monitor them by that same system. Elective Home Education Government guidance here. 

It is incredibly important for ALL parents of children to be aware of the very clear difference in status both in terms of funding expectations and their own duties under the law. For a link to all the relevant references that may impact upon children with Additional Learning needs who educated otherwise than at school please refer to our earlier blog post here & save it to your favourites! 

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