Mastodon C’s SEND model has been developed for department heads and intelligence professionals who need to accurately plan future special educational needs and disability services (SEND). Together, the SEND model and our support services can provide them with higher confidence levels and greater projection accuracy, allowing them to make the right decisions for the future, by exploring multiple possible strategies and scenarios.
The model creates projections by academic year, need and placement type, and we can predict the total future SEND population of an authority to over 99% accuracy. This is achieved probabilistically, by learning about what has happened in the past and running thousands of simulations of possible futures, based on your local offer and need profile, and your own costs. This type of modelling is time consuming, complex, and requires extensive mathematical expertise to develop, making it economically and practically infeasible for most authorities to do in-house. As public sector data science specialists, we have been able to develop a robust and repeatable mathematical model, that helps to tackle these significant challenges and provide the confidence that local authorities require to support strategic planning and organisational decision making, where important questions need to be answered based on limited historical data.
Read here about the London Borough of Tower Hamlets’ experience of working with us.
We recognise that even deciding which scenarios you want us to model can be a complex challenge, especially if you are dealing with competing operational priorities alongside longer term strategy development. You may want further support or advice in order to reset your strategic development in the light of the scenario analysis. In this case, we can bring in our SEND interim leadership partners, who have extensive strategic and operational experience of developing and improving SEND services and outcomes. They can work with you to help you both develop your broader strategy and plans, and decide what futures you would like us to test and project.
For example, explore a scenario where mainstream schools start including more children with moderate learning difficulties. Using the model you would rapidly be able to understand the effects of this on the whole SEND population and your cost profile in future years
Projected SEND demand can be converted into costs, and, in combination with scenarios, allow the cost-benefit analysis of a variety of interventions. Cost are calculated by multiplying average costs in a ‘cost profile’, by projected SEND demand.
The model uses a method that is designed to work well for small numbers, limited historical data, and uncertain outcomes, which is a particular challenge in the SEND service area where a complex range of high-cost need and setting types interact over time.
Mastodon C’s team provides full project support to help you quickly start assessing demand and exploring scenarios, using data we help to extract from your back office systems. Full technical documentation is available on request.
We help your analysts get started with extracting your data, and your leaders with defining the strategic scenarios that you will want to explore. This makes it easy to get going on your SEND strategy, drawing on our experience of working with a number of other authorities who are tackling similar challenges.
We provide "baseline" demand and cost projections, as a set of detailed spreadsheets and visualisations, showing your expected 10 year picture if things stay on their current course - giving a realistic picture of where you are right now.
As you come up with different strategies and scenarios of interest, we provide up to 25 further sets of spreadsheets and visualisations exploring the expected impact of your ideas. These can be a wide variety, from changes to mainstreaming, to new rates of joiner or leaver for a particular need, to age range changes.
We will present and explain findings to your senior stakeholders up to three times during the year, to ensure they can understand the numbers and ask any questions they have about how they were produced and what they mean.