Policy Projects

Specialist College partnership pilot projects

The government is currently working on a comprehensive SEND review as part of the response to the issues and challenges in the sector, and it is expected to publish a Green Paper containing fundamental reforms later this year. In advance of the SEND review being published, Natspec and AoC wish to explore actions to address some of the issues immediately. In particular, we are looking to see where joint working across the specialist and general FE sector could help address issues and barriers and achieve the original intention of the SEND reforms.

The core purpose of the work is to:

  • test out what needs to be in place to make true partnerships really effective, particularly in terms of having a positive impact on learner outcomes
  • explore which elements of the system would need to change to facilitate more of these partnerships.

The timescale for the work is as follows:

  • May: Colleges apply to be part of the programme; submit your application using the form overleaf by 21 May.
  • June: Discussion with colleges leading to the selection of up to 10 projects of different types.
  • 7 July 2pm to 4.30pm: Briefing day, with independent facilitators allocated to each project.
  • July – September: Colleges prepare for partnership activity.
  • October 2021 to Summer 2022: partnership activity with regular reviews.
  • December 2021: early findings presented to the AoC SEND conference.

An evaluation programme will be put in place so that lessons from the projects can be learned throughout the process. This will be complete by June 2022, when we aim to publish a summary report with recommendations, hold an event with all participants to reflect on the partnerships, share practice and plan for next steps.

For more information and how to apply, please complete the expression of interest form below and return to info@natspec.org.uk by Friday 21 May 2021.