Skip to content

A message from Christine McInnes:

26 April 2024 weekly update

26 April 2024

This week, Christine focuses on SEND developments and shares details of the upcoming headteacher briefings and area inclusion workshops.

Dear Colleagues,

This week’s bulletin is very much focused on SEND.

SEND developments

As I have mentioned before, our second assessment by DfE and NHSE is on Friday and these are a few of the headline improvements we have submitted evidence of:

  • The Assessment backlog has been reduced from 1,080 in September 2023 to 242 by the end of February 2024, and is on target to be cleared completely by the end April 2024.
  • In January 2023, 50% of all Assessments took over 20 weeks. In March 2024 this has reduced to 36% over 20 weeks. We are on target to have no cases over 30 weeks by the end of August 2024.
  • In September 2023 there were 12,180 Annual Reviews in the backlog. This was reduced by 36% to 7,802 by the end of January 2024.
  • Following changes to management structure and workflow processes, our Assessment Team productivity has increased by two-thirds, leading to the highest level of assessments completed in January 2024 since March 2021.
  • There has been a reduction in Children and Young People waiting for a SLCN assessment from 49.3% in May 2023 to 21% in January 2024.

I appreciate that in schools you won’t be seeing many benefits to this work yet and we are confident you will do in the autumn. You have told us through the recent survey which suggest some positive impact is being seen on the ground, so for example:

On a scale of 1 to 5 (where 5 is best practice) how would you rate KCC’s SEND services 12 months ago versus present.

Statutory SEND Services


April 2023

April 2024


1 Lowest



- 8.8%




+ 0.5 %




+ 4.4%




+ 2.2%

5 Highest



+ 0.9%

Phase Transfer


April 2023

April 2024


1 Lowest



- 8%




- 2.7%




+ 5.3%




+ 4.5%

5 Highest



+ 0.9%

Many thanks to those of you that contributed, we had 224 responses which is a good start and we will be circulating again next term so we can track changes over time.

The parent and carer survey had 430 responses, with 76% of parents and carers reporting their children’s schools have made adjustments for their child - so thank you to all of you whose work has contributed to this feedback.

Hopefully you have received your invitation to the next set of area workshops about the Localities consultation, SRP review and Special School review, the outline agenda is as follows:

  1. KCC SEN updates - Christine McInnes and Siobhán Price
  2. Continuum of need - Dr Alison Ekins and Nasima Patel
  3. SRP secondary expansion - Siobhán Price
  4. SEN Information Report - Siobhán Price

Workshops will take place for the areas on the below dates, with timings being 9am for 9:30am start. Finishing by 2:30pm. We are aware location is key and we will confirm the locations as soon as possible.

  1. North - Tuesday 21 May
  2. South - Friday 24 May
  3. East - Tuesday 4 June
  4. West - Friday 7 June.

Please register by completing this online form

Key meetings attended

These are all SEND related. On Wednesday 17 April I reported to the SEND Improvement and Assurance Board (SIAB) which includes representation from Early Years, KALE, KSENT and FE. The role of the SIAB is to consider the evidence of progress and impact against the nine priority areas and the 116 projects included in the Accelerated Progress Plan.

On Thursday 18 April I reported on the impact of Safety Valve activity to the KCC Strategic Reset Programme Board.

Scrutiny Committee took place on Wednesday 24 April and included two SEND related papers which are now available

Headteacher Briefings

The dates and times have been confirmed for the Headteacher briefings in June 2024.

  • 11 June 2024 from 1pm to 4pm - East Kent - Howfield Manor Hotel
  • 14 June 2024 from 9:30am to 12:30pm - West Kent - The Orchard Events Venue
  • 27 June 2024 from 1pm to 4pm - South Kent - Ashford International
  • 28 June 2024 from 9:30am to 12:30pm - North Kent - The Inn on the Lake

A link to book your place should have been circulated, however, for ease, please find the the booking form

We look forward to seeing as many of you there as possible.

And finally…

You may be aware that we have been doing a lot of work on developing and strategically embedding young people’s voice and I will be sharing some of the feedback from young people in the bulletin from time to time. We were really delighted to obtain funding from  the National Institute of Health and Care Research to set up the Kent Youth Research Network - more information below.

Kent Youth Research Network logo

The Kent Youth Research Network (KYRN) has been established with funding from the National Institute of Health and Care Research.

The ambition of KYRN is to have a linked network that focuses on supporting young people to develop and lead their own research and opportunities for engaging children and young people in research that impacts them, making sure their thoughts and perspectives are used to shape future policy and service changes.

The Network includes four components:

  • Young Researchers
  • Research Participants
  • Practitioner Network
  • Researchers.

The network provides opportunities for the young people you work with and your staff to have a voice in research projects impacting them.

  • Get involved.
  • Undertake research with young people.
  • Share research undertaken by staff and/or young people.

See some of our Young Researchers' training residential and their thoughts and feelings about how it went

If you or your team would like to register go to the Kent Youth Research Network website

If your team can provide opportunities to support Young People undertaking research please email us at

With best wishes

Christine McInnes
Director of Education and SEN