In partnership with local areas, this pilot seeks to build the collective responsibility of schools, academy trusts, and other agencies for the progress of vulnerable young people.

To achieve this, its aim is to explore how local areas can create stronger oversight and transparency, develop an effective action plan to strengthen the response to major additional challenges created by COVID, and improve support and outcomes for affected pupils.

How will this pilot work?

In each pilot area involved, we aim to work with the local authority, local education partnership (if there is one), schools, academy trusts and other agencies to:

  1. Define what is meant by ‘vulnerability’
  2. Determine the cohort at risk of being marginalised, and missing out on access to education
  3. Explore how best to measure the progress and outcomes of that cohort.
  4. Identify specific priorities and preventative approaches which might be taken forward across the whole local area or within identified localities. This could include tackling priorities arising from SEND Area Reviews.

We will be taking locality approaches that will:

  • Develop an agreed locality wide definition of vulnerability which moves beyond pre-existing labels
  • Test the right set of metrics for tracking the progress and outcomes of this cohort
  • Explore what are the most effective preventative strategies available to localities in working with schools and academy trusts to support these young groups
  • Strengthen partnerships between all agencies and explore opportunities through collaboration to enrich the offer, including reasonable adjustments to the curriculum
  • Share successful practice in supporting these young people and identify the benefits and challenges of working as a locality in implementing the agreed action plan

Key questions explored by this pilot

  • What outcomes do local areas identify as most important for different cohorts of young people?
  • How can local areas best track progress against these outcomes?
  • What are the preventative strategies that are most successful in working with schools, academy trusts, local authorities, and other partners across a locality to support vulnerable young people?
  • How has locality-working strengthened partnership working and collective responsibility for vulnerable young people?
  • Has locality-working enabled services for these young people to be re-configured in ways that better reflect local needs?
  • What are the main benefits of locality-working in supporting vulnerable young people?
  • What are the main challenges encountered by the locality?
  • Are there any structural, legislative, or regulatory frameworks that create obstacles to achieving the pilot objectives? If so, what can central government do to remove those obstacles?

Six-month reports

After the first six-months of this project each of the organisations involved in Pilot 1 has completed a short summary explaining progress made so far. You can read these summaries here.

Year 1 reports

One year into the Project, each of the organisations involved in Pilot 1 presented their lessons learned from the first year and their objectives for Year 2. The presentations can all be found here:





Pilot 1 participants

  1. Wakefield Lead contact: Andy Lancashire, Service Director Education & Inclusion
  2. Wiltshire Lead contact: Kathryn Davis
  3. Rochdale Lead contact: Steve Kay, Assistant Director Early Help and Schools
  4. Coventry Lead contact: Rachael Sugars

“We are delighted to be involved in the LocalED Locality Pilot. Addressing vulnerability and supporting vulnerable children and young people is a key priority for us in Wakefield. We see this as a collective system wide responsibility; our work around Wakefield Families Together has sought to establish a locality based multi-agency integrated response that has significant impact on vulnerable families and delivers better outcomes for young people.”

Andy Lancashire, Service Director, Education & Inclusion, Wakefield Council

“We are excited to be part of this important LocalED locality pilot. It provides the right structure for us to be able to demonstrate our shared commitment to meeting the needs of children at risk of missing out on education – improving attendance, reducing risk of exclusion, and supporting improved educational engagement for Wiltshire’s most vulnerable learners.”

Helean Hughes, Director for Education and Skills, Wiltshire Council

“The local system in Rochdale demonstrates an ambition and energy to secure the best possible life chances for vulnerable children and young people. With recent innovation to enable better impact on outcomes, the pilot offers Rochdale the opportunity to determine a locality-wide definition of vulnerability, develop a greater understanding of those at risk of marginalisation and reframe and sharpen our priorities in this area. The borough welcomes the opportunity to learn and benefit from external support, challenge, research, and practice to enable critical reflection on recent progress and future strategic planning.”

Steve Kay, Assistant Director of Early Help and Schools, Rochdale Local Authority

“We are extremely passionate about making Coventry a place where every child can thrive, has opportunity to fulfil their potential, and where barriers to learning are removed. The LocalED locality pilot objectives strongly align to our priorities for the children and young people of the city and match our ambition to deliver differently together with partners in a ‘One Coventry’ way. We are therefore excited to have this opportunity to explore how we can better understand and support vulnerability and marginalisation and to implement strategies to prevent or address earlier.’

Kirston Nelson, Chief Partnerships Officer / Director of Education & Skills, Coventry City Council

Further information

Read our blog post by Ben Bryant, Director of the Isos Partnership, on why the focus on vulnerable pupils and going into further detail on what this pilot will be covering, including next steps.