The Cabinet Member with responsibility for Education and Skills introduced the report. A Medical Education Provision had become a statutory duty under the 1996 Education Act and three sites around the County provided access to teaching. The three sites were now felt to be not suitable and provided only a limited education offer, so a review of the service and facilities which would be provided in future had been necessary. The review, co-produced with Herefordshire and Worcestershire CCG, had been undertaken and a stakeholder engagement exercise had considered the proposals. There would be an investment by health, especially to support students with their mental health and the new service would be registered and inspected by Ofsted.
With expressions of interest sought in September and October of 2021, followed by the necessary planning involvement and TUPE arrangements for existing staff next spring, the new provider would begin operating from September 2022. The start date was a year later than planned due to Covid. Consultation on the proposal would now take place and then procurement for the provider, which would be signed off by the CMR in consultation with the Director of Children’s Services, would be progressed.
Members commented that they were pleased with the review and proposals. The County should not have a reactive service, which was not registered and delivered in poorly suited buildings. It was important to work on prevention and intervention at an early stage and then achieve re-integration at the right time. The caring approach of officers was recognised.
A Member from outside the Cabinet commented that the proposals were welcomed as the current sites of Medical Education Provision, which were co-located with Pupil Referral Units, were not particularly suitable. Scrutiny was also happy that the new service would be Ofsted registered which would be better for the teachers as well as the children.
RESOLVED that Cabinet:
(b) noted the development of and rationale for a preventative approach including the:
i. role of NHS partners and deployment of NHS resource to assist prevention and early intervention, and
ii. proposal for a different delivery approach;
(c) authorised the statutory Interim Director of Children’s Services to consult on the policy approach to delivering statutory Medical Education provision in Worcestershire, including the revised funding agreement with Schools; noting the risk of further pressure on the Dedicated Schools Grant; and
(d) delegated authority to the Cabinet Member with Responsibility for Education and Skills, in consultation with the statutory Interim Director of Children’s Services, to consider the outcome of the consultation and make the final decision.