|Image reproduced under license: Stefano Mortellaro, Flickr|
Starting in May this year the CQC and OFSTED will jointly inspect how effectively local areas fulfil their responsibilities to children and young people who have special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND). The inspections are designed to help raise service standards for some of the most vulnerable young people in England.
The two bodies carried out joint pilot inspections and have been consulting on their proposals over the last 3 months. They consulted individuals and organisations who have an interest in, or expertise relating to, special educational needs and/or disabilities, in particular service users, parents and carers, and they have now published their conclusions.
Their proposals received overwhelming support with almost 90% of respondents in support, and changes have been made to the proposed model as a result of feedback.
Inspectors will visit local areas to see how they are fulfilling their responsibilities, giving 5 days notice of an inspection to ensure all partners, especially young people, parents and carers, have ample opportunity to offer their views about local education, health and social care services, and fully engage in the inspection.
- assess how well the local area identifies children and young people who have special educational needs and/or disabilities.
- evaluate how effectively individual’s needs are met the outcomes of children and young people who have special educational needs and/or disabilities improved.
- use a wide range of information to evaluate how effectively the local area fulfils its responsibilities.
- talk to children and young people, and their parents and carers, and local partners, including nurseries, schools, colleges and specialist services.
Joanna Hall, Ofsted Deputy Director for Schools, said:
“I am pleased that there is overwhelming support for our proposals to inspect services for some of the most vulnerable children and young people in England. We have listened and will give parents and carers more notice of our inspections so that they can offer their views and insights.
I believe that the inspections will help local areas improve the services they deliver to children and young people with special educational needs or disability. These inspections will also provide reassurance to families, children and young people that local areas are being held to account.
I have no doubt that there will be some hard truths to deliver from the first inspections this summer. However, I want to stress that our inspection reports will also highlight effective practice. It is my hope that other local areas will learn from examples of how things can be done well so that there will be a long-term cultural change in the way these services are delivered.”
Steve Field, Care Quality Commission Chief Inspector of General Practice, said:
“Children and young people with special educational needs have the right to access the support they need from local health services. This critical work will for the first time highlight whether these needs are being met and while there could be some uncomfortable truths coming out of this work, we also aim to shine a spotlight on those local areas that are performing well to help services improve nationally.
Inspectors will be experienced SEND specialists. They know their local areas, will choose who they speak to when they carry out their inspection work”.
In the coming weeks, Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission will prepare an inspection handbook and framework, which will be published before the first inspections take place in May.