Children and young people with Special Educational Needs (SEN) and/or disabilities often receive a variety of services. These could be provided by nurseries, schools or colleges, specialist therapists, and professionals in education, health and social care.
Under the Children and Families Act 2014, the government placed new duties on the local areas’ Education, Health and Care services that provide for those with SEN and/or disabilities. The Special Educational Needs Code of Practice was updated to reflect these new responsibilities.
In particular, the local area has to:
- publish an accessible ‘local offer’ detailing the support and services available in the area;
- work with children/young people and parents/carers, to ensure SEN and/or disabilities are identified in a timely manner;
- assess the needs of children and young people who may need an education, health and care (EHC) plan in discussion with them and their parents/carers;
- work with all relevant agencies, children/young people and their parents/carers to produce an EHC plan; and
- provide children and young people with the support agreed in their EHC plan, and keep the plans under review.
In May 2016 the Department for Education asked Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to inspect local areas’ Education, Health and Care services on their effectiveness in fulfilling their new responsibilities for disabled children and young people and those with special education needs. Inspections commenced early in 2016 and all local areas will be inspected at least once every five years. Key elements of accountability are set out in the Children and Families Act 2014 and the SEND Code of Practice: 0-25 years. The three areas of inspection focus are:
- The effectiveness of the local area in identifying children and young people who have special educational needs and/or disabilities
- The effectiveness of the local area in assessing and meeting the needs of children and young people who have special educational needs and/or disabilities
- The effectiveness of the local area in improving outcomes for children and young people who have special educational needs and/or disabilities
It is the intention of these inspections to reassure parents and carers, families, children and young people on the successful implementation of the reforms to SEND, in addition local areas through this process will self-assess and receive an opportunity from the process of inspection to receive a clear plan for improvement.
What do local areas need to do?
Effective preparations around implementing the new SEN and disabilities responsibilities involve having a clear process of self-evaluation of progress towards implementing the reforms. Key outputs from a local area self-evaluation should include:
- SEND SEF summary – a clear and concise one-page summary of the relative state of implementation, evidence key areas for improvement
- SEND SEF deep dive – a thorough and robust self-examination aligned to the criteria set out in the inspection handbook. Each inspection aspect contains an evaluative judgement, evidence and action plan. Each of the three main inspection areas is prefixed by a statement from families, parents and young people within that local area of ‘what it feels like to live there and their experience.’
- Action plan – based on the findings of the self-evaluation, with owners, timelines and indicating where working practice will change.
Key outcomes from the self-evaluation process should include:
- Local areas reassure families, parents and carers of the progress they are making towards implementing the reforms by publishing the outputs on the website, including the one-page SEND SEF summary and the SEND SEF deep dive.
- Local areas through this process will have completed a self-evaluation exercise as part of the inspection and will receive an opportunity from the process of inspection to receive a clear consensus in conversations with inspectors of the areas for improvement.
How we can help
Coram-i has five different ways that it can assist your local area in meeting its obligations:
- Deliver the full end-to-end process
- A self-evaluation of the local area’s implementation of the SEND reforms
- Produce initial versions of the SEND summary and deep dive
- Establish governance arrangement and working groups
- Inspection planning and preparations for focus groups
Duration: Three months (onsite)
Approach: Workshops, one-to-one meetings, reports to local area SEND governance board
Charge: approx. £25k
- Health check of arrangements – evaluation of the implementation of the reforms
- Review of both the locally produced SEND summary and deep dive
- Triangulate the key outputs with SEND JSNA and the views of families and young people
- Assessment of how your area is doing against published inspection themes
Duration: One month
Approach: Desktop assessment of existing outputs, reports to local area SEND governance board
- Peer review of services provided
- Local area peer review with local neighbour or statistical neighbour
- Manage a short ‘inspection’ style review of the implementation of the SEND reforms
- Support logistical planning
- Review the arrangements and assess the implementation and associated action plan
Duration: Two months
Approach: identification of peer review area; planning and implementation of peer review; and follow up and feedback
- Preparations for further visits
- Developmental support following inspection ahead of future monitoring visits
- Supporting the process to update work practices as outline in the self-evaluation
- Establishing a SEND implementation group to ensure that feedback from those that access services is taken forward
Duration: One month
Approach: Aligning the proposed work to the areas of development as stated in the CQC/ Ofsted letter
- Preparing written statements of action
- Supporting the area as it responds to Ofsted with an action statement
- Provide planning and best practice to implement targeted support as required
- Broker support with key stakeholders to reassure that improvements are being made
Duration: One month
Approach: Aligning the proposed work to the areas of development and areas for action as stated in the CQC/ Ofsted letter
All prices are exclusive of VAT and travel expenses.