Safeguarding issues and need for LA support

Debate – Primary School

What was the issue addressed?
Difficulty arising from safeguarding pupils who have very high support needs which are potentially too much for school staff to cope with effectively. Issues arose with a very few pupils causing high risk situations (one with a blade), to staff and other pupils. Pupils with such high support needs have not been accepted previously to my knowledge.

What happened?
We are still waiting for a meeting with education and inclusion people at the LA to discuss this and discover what has changed, if anything, in their understanding of the different types of support needs amongst pupils with learning difficulties and what we can provide.

What lessons were learnt?
My feelings are that they don’t want to meet us. If we have legal responsibility then we ought to be heard, yet I have been told that they don’t normally discuss anything with governors. I absolutely disagree with that. We need to be able to support our SLT in whatever way we can, otherwise we are just there to comply with what we are told… the traditional view from our LA?

All schools and governing bodies have statutory duties regarding pupils with SEN/ALN. This includes the governing body’s responsibility to determine the school policy and approach to meeting the needs of pupils with SEN/ALN and those without. Most governing bodies appoint a link governor and/or committee to have overview and oversight of the school’s arrangements.

Special educational needs: code of practice
The Additional Learning Needs Code

Governors Cymru Services also has information on the role of the SEN/ALN link governor.

The Local Authority also has a specific responsibility to provide support to schools, regarding the making of provision for children with ALN, as well as planning, monitoring and reviewing the provision for these children. It would be reasonable, therefore, to expect dialogue with the Local Authority on the best way forward for individual pupils who are causing serious concern. This would usually involve the relevant staff member e.g. ALNCo and possibly the Headteacher, plus in some cases, any other relevant multi-agency organisations.

The actual involvement of governors in this case may well be further down the line, should there not have been adequate support provided.

Ultimately, there is a duty of care to staff members and if following risk assessments and discussion with the relevant agencies, there is insufficient support provided for individual pupils, for example, this could be one to one support, the safety of staff and other pupils is paramount.

No reference is mentioned in this situation of pupil exclusion, but where there are serious and high-risk situations, exclusion could be a consideration, albeit the last resort.

The links below provide additional information:

Safe and effective intervention: guidance for schools and local authorities

Keeping learners safe

Behaviour management in the classroom: guidance for secondary schools

Behaviour management in the classroom: guidance for primary schools

Additional learning needs

Please note that the roll out of the Additional Learning Needs and Education Tribunal (Wales) Act commenced in September 2021. For pupils being assessed for the first time from September 2021, schools must follow the process set out in the ALN Code of Practice. There is a three-year period of transition (until summer 2025) during which time existing statements of SEN, individual education plans, and learning and skills plans will be converted into individual development plans (IDPs). This will be done in a mandatory phased approach on the basis of particular age-based cohorts. During this time, the ALN system will operate in parallel to the SEN system. Further information can be found below:
Additional learning needs transformation programme

Are there particular safeguarding or pupil wellbeing issues in your school?
To what extent do you feel your school is supported when dealing with children who need support?

Have your say…
Have you had experiences similar to these?
What do you think about the situation described?

Contact Us

01443 844532 / 029 2075 3685 [email protected]
Sam MacNamara – 07943 887275 / Jane Morris – 07957 969708