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The Quality Assurance and Provider Development Team (QAPD) are a team within the Inclusion Service at Suffolk County Council. It is the team’s role to ensure that educational provisions accessed by Suffolk’s children and young people who have special educational needs, are of the highest quality in order to keep the pupils safe and to enable them to progress. These provisions include Independent Schools, Pupil Referral Units (PRU’s), local alternative education providers (AP), Suffolk Special Needs schools and specialist education units that are attached to mainstream schools. In addition to quality assuring these educational providers, the team plays a part in identifying, seeking and building up our educational local offer within Suffolk to meet the growing need for specialist provision.
We are currently involved in an exciting programme in creating 874 new specialist education places around Suffolk. These places will be established via the creation of new special needs schools and also a number of specialist units attached to our mainstream schools.
Please follow the links below in order find further information on this development:
You can search the Local Offer directory for services that have been quality assured by our team.
The quality assurance (QA) of providers is an ongoing process designed to ensure that all users have confidence in the services delivered by these schools. In the first instance, providers are asked to complete the QA process. This involves providing written documentation such as policies and procedures which is then followed up with a visit from the QAPD team.
During the QA process with each provider, the team will look at seven indicators which will form a detailed overview of the provider and what they are able to offer. These seven indicators are as follows:
- Health and Safety
- Data Protection
- Residential (if applicable)
- Progress and Achievement
- Pupil and parent/carer views
- School Governance
- Admissions and Attendance
The team will also make use of additional information in order to form areas of focus such as recent Statutory reports and information received from other LA teams.
If there are issues identified with any provider as a result of this process, the QAPD team will follow up with recommendations, actions to address, visits and rigorous monitoring of the provider, dependent on the issues that have been identified. The team will also engage with other teams within the LA should any issues that arise be best supported by others within the LA.
Once a provider has successfully been through the QA process, they will be invited to register on to InfoLink and the team will assign a QA badge to their page, which informs all that see their page that they have been successfully Quality Assured and when this took place.
This process will continue with each provider, with QA monitoring visits and reviews taking place as and when it is required dependent on the previous QA visit and any new information that is shared with the team.
In order to be recognised as an Independent School, it must register with the Department for Education (DfE) prior to opening.
A provider must register as an Independent School if it provides full time education to:
- 5 or more pupils of compulsory school age
- 1 or more pupils of compulsory school age with a education, health and care (EHC) plan or statement of special educational needs (SEN)
- 1 or more pupils of compulsory school age who are looked-after by the local council
Independent Schools also includes Independent Special Schools. Any Independent School where Suffolk have placed pupils will be eligible to go through the QA process – along with any that Suffolk wish to place pupils at and require to carry out a QA visit prior to the place being agreed.
Pupil Referral Units are also known as PRU’s. These are educational settings where pupils attend following a permanent exclusion, for support with negative behavioural difficulties seen within their mainstream schools to prevent a permanent exclusion; along with those who are medically unable to attend their mainstream school.
This is seen as a short-term placement, in order to carry out interventions with the pupils to try and rectify any negative behaviours and then re-integrate them back into a mainstream setting. There may be times where this is identified as a longer term placement, for example if it is more beneficial for the pupil to remain at the PRU in order to complete KS4, they are not deemed medically well enough to return to their mainstream school or if the PRU has been commissioned by the LA to offer specialist educational placements to a specific group of pupils.
PRU’s which have converted to academy status are also know as AP Academies – these are not to be confused with Suffolk’s local AP’s which are explained in more detail below. Both PRU’s and AP Academies are still registered schools and therefore are required to offer full time education to the pupils on their school roll.
Please find below the link to the current list of Pupil Referral Units within InfoLink.
Suffolk have a number of organisations accessible to education settings and the Local Authority which can offer alternative provision to those who are experiencing difficulties in accessing their learning within the school that they attend. These are know as APs and can range from online learning organisations to time spent on farms or taking part in activities offsite such as forest school.
Pupils who are referred to these providers are not to spend the entirety of their education with them. Instead it is viewed as an alternative to what they can access in their school which meets particular interests of individual pupils which can also evidence progress within areas that the referring parties have initially had concerns with or struggled to meet within their setting.
Throughout Suffolk we have a number of specialist schools that are within the local offer of provisions which we can offer to children and young people. These schools cater for a variety of needs, ranging from Cognition and Learning and Social, Emotional and Mental Health. Some of these specialist schools can offer places to pre-school children and others have Post 16 options within them. All pupils who are agreed a place at these schools are required to have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) Please follow this link for further information on EHCP’s.
Suffolk County Council are currently in the process of creating new special needs schools in order to meet the demand for specialist places. Please follow this link for further information on the programme.
Within Suffolk we have a number of mainstream schools who have specialist units attached to them in order to support pupils who have an identified special educational need. Those who access these units are pupils identified as struggling to access mainstream education consistently, however it is felt that they would not be suited to one of the identified special needs school as it would still be beneficial for the pupils to have some regular access to mainstream provision, as and when it is appropriate.
Suffolk County Council are currently in the process of commissioning additional specialist units in order to meet the demand for specialist places. Please follow this link for further information on the programme.
If you are a provider or organisation that offers educational provision to Suffolk’ Children and Young People and are not included on InfoLink then please register so that those who access can see what you offer.
If you are aware of any alternative providers, or are one yourself, and would find it beneficial to go through the Quality Assurance process then please contact our team mailbox