Progress made in the SEND Improvement Plan in order to improve outcomes for children and young people will be discussed by Worcestershire County Council's Cabinet this Thursday (14).
Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) conducted a joint inspection of provision for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) in March 2018 to judge the effectiveness of the area in implementing SEND reforms in Worcestershire.
As a result of the inspection it was determined that a Written Statement of Action (WSoA) was required because of significant areas of weakness in the local area’s practice. The Action Plan was prepared jointly by the County Council, the three Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in Worcestershire, as well as parents and carers, head teachers and other key partners.
Since the WSoA was signed off by Ofsted and the CQC, a number of actions have been implemented and improvements made.
These include the development and promotion of a new and improved Local Offer website where parents, carers and providers can find information about SEND provision and services. The website has proved to be a success as more parents and young people are accessing it now. There were 500 returning visitors and 361 new visitors to the site during January 2019, compared with 234 returning visitors and 163 new visitors during August 2018.
The percentage of looked after children with up to date health assessments continues to improve and has increased from 59% in May 2018 to 71% in October 2018 and then 80% in January 2019, latest figures show.
Councillor Marcus Hart, Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, said: "I am pleased to see a lot of good work is going on in Worcestershire to improve outcomes for children and young people with SEND.
"We've updated the Local Offer website and had a lot of positive feedback from parents and providers who use the site. It's a real positive that the number of children with up to date health assessments continues to increase.
"We know there are many challenges that lie ahead but we will continue to work closely with young people, parents, carers, partners and schools to improve outcomes for children and young people with SEND."
Mari Gay, Chief Operating Officer, Worcestershire CCGs said: “The CCG will continue to work in partnership with the council and other stakeholders to improve outcomes for children and young people with SEND, focussing on empowering clinicians to use the information now available.”
As part of the action plan, Worcestershire is also in the process of updating its Graduated Response guidance to support children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities. The Graduated Response document is the guidance that sets out the provision and arrangements that schools and settings should put in place for their children and young people. It also describes how other agencies work with schools to support their work for SEND. Importantly the Graduated Response guidance provides a reference point for parents so that they can read and understand what they can expect from mainstream schools and academies.
Increasing numbers of professionals in health, social care and education services are deciding to become 'SEND Champions'. SEND Champions are tasked with spreading the word about 'getting it right' for children and young people who have SEND, to advocate for the best outcomes and service quality, to work in partnership across and with all agencies/services/teams and with the young person and their family and to promote the 'voice of the child/young person' in all aspects of their work at all times.
The Department for Education (DfE) and NHS England monitor Worcestershire's Action Plan every three months. So far the visits have taken place in June, September and December of last year. In September the advisors concluded that 'some key pieces of work have been begun which should impact positively on outcomes for children and young people in Worcestershire with the work around engagement and co-production being very encouraging.' Positive verbal feedback was also provided from the DfE and NHS advisors at the December SEND Improvement Board.
Families in Partnership, the parent carer forum, represents the voice and experiences of parents and carers. Working closely with Families in Partnership has been a very important aspect of making improvements within SEND services and with more still to do, Families in Partnership will continue to play a key role going forward.
To find out more go to the SEND Improvement Plan pages on the Council's website.