Ofsted continues to review SEND services nationwide. Results are not surprising!
Between 17 June 2019 and 21 June 2019, Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission (CQC), conducted a joint inspection of the local area of Derby to judge the effectiveness of the area in implementing the disability and special educational needs reforms.
The report identified significant weaknesses in the SEND services provided. We’ve summarised the main findings:
Too little progress in implementing SEND reforms
Frequent changes in leadership in the LA have led to delays in implementing the reforms. Disjointed and poorly executed initiatives has led to confusion among professionals across education, health and social care services, as well as parents.
There is an inequality of provision for children and young people with SEND across services in Derby
The majority of parents interviewed felt that isolated and alone in the process. The report also detailed that those who spoke English as an additional language or who have sensory impairments described how it is difficult to find the information they need without support.
The timeliness and completion of EHC assessments are too variable and the quality of EHC plans is generally weak.
Ofsted identified serious weaknesses in the system and processes for the assessment of children and young people with SEND for an education, health and care (EHC) plan. The weaknesses led to impersonal plans with poorly defined outcomes. A high number of the applications resorted in mediation or tribunals, causing unnecessary anxiety for the parents.
Post early years, education, health and social care services do not work together to identify the needs of children and young people with SEND effectively
Some of the process and systems designed to identify the children and young peoples needs are not well established ‘For example, a disproportionally large proportion of children and young people with SEND are identified as having a primary need of moderate learning difficulty (MLD).’.
The children and young people are incorrectly placed and the parents have lost faith in the system.
The transition from early years settings to primary schools is poor.
Parents and schools wait too long to be informed by the local authority about places allocated to their children. Schools are sometimes ‘forced’ into the position of refusing admissions at the last minute due to poor communication from the local authority and a lack of the necessary specialist services and resources required to meet children’s needs.
Children and young people with SEND who are educated in schools outside Derby are not effectively monitored by the local authority.
A very low proportion of parents or young people access personal budgets in the local area
Probably because Derby does not exercise this right!
Too many children and young people with SEND are permanently excluded from schools.
The proportion of children and young people persistently absent from special schools remains higher than the national average and little progress has been made to improve this.
Some children and young people with SEND are not able to access specialist equipment to meet their needs in a timely manner.
Long waiting times to access funding to purchase equipment are sometimes traumatic for children and their parents. Parents typically expressed their concerns over the negative impact that delays can have on their children’s outcomes, with comments such as ‘Our children cannot live the lives they deserve to live.’
Whats next for the LA?
The local area is required to produce and submit a Written Statement of Action to Ofsted that explains how the local area will tackle the following areas of significant weakness:
the failure of the local area to take the joint commissioning actions required to implement the reforms across education, health and social care
the lack of an overarching coproduced strategy for improving provision for and outcomes of children and young people with SEND
the number of significant weaknesses in the EHC processes, timeliness, quality and outcomes of plans
the long-standing systemic issues with waiting times to access a large number of key services
poor parental engagement with plans for local area SEND provision and high levels of parental dissatisfaction.
Will this report actually prompt change? We will wait and see ……
Let us know your experience now!