Release date: 11 May 2018
Following a five-day Local Area Inspection in West Sussex by Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission to review the 2014 reforms for children and young people with Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities (SEND), a wide range of effective support services have been highlighted.
A list of ‘strong services’ was mentioned in the report alongside an accurate recognition by West Sussex County Council and its partners of the improvements which are still needed.
The outcome of the report shows that West Sussex is in a minority of Local Areas inspected nationally in the last six months that are not required to prepare a Written Statement of Action which is endorsed and monitored by Ofsted on how improvement will be made.
The report recognised that in West Sussex there is ‘a clear and well-focused SEND strategy’ and highlighted that ‘some practice in the local area is strong and should be celebrated, for example the impact of the parent and carers’ forum (WSPCF)’ and ‘a strong short break offer’.
The report, published today, is the first ever Ofsted and Care Quality Commission inspection of the West Sussex Local Area, which judges the effectiveness of an area in implementing the disability and special educational needs reforms as set out in the Children and Families Act 2014.
During the inspection children and young people with SEND as well as their parents / carers were able to share their experiences along with school leaders, teachers, governors and leaders in partner health services and county council officers.
Inspectors also noted that leaders recognised and agreed there is still ‘a long way to go, particularly in offering children and young people who have SEND and their families a consistently strong experience of education, health and care services’.
Richard Burrett, Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, said: “This inspection was a new experience for us and we are extremely pleased that the inspectors recognised the hard work and dedication of our officers, health staff and our schools.
“One of the areas we are particularly proud of is that our children and young people with SEND have improved results at school. The inspectors noted that they ‘attain better results in key stages 4 and 5 than is typical nationally’.
“However, we are aware of the improvements that are still needed. I will be working with the officers in the coming months to see how we can address the developments required to make sure every child and young person gets the support they deserve and really does get the Best Start in Life.”
Areas of improvements noted in the report include a need for more children to benefit from the integrated two-and-a-half year old check; the recruitment of a designated medical officer or clinical equivalent; more consistency in the identification of pupils who have SEND in mainstream schools; improvement in the timescale for Education, Health and Care Plans; greater consistency in the transition from children’s into adult services; and an improvement in the assessment and diagnosis of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Key successes highlighted in the report were that children and young people who have SEND have their care needs identified effectively; a strong overall SEND strategy which looks at improving inclusion; effective provision for children and young people who have SEND in their early years; effective support from the new Integrated Prevention and Earliest Help Service; an excellent short-break offer; good support from the social care team for children with disabilities; and Education, Health and Care Plans are person-centred and co-produced effectively.
In the report, the Lead Inspector states: “The majority of children and young people with an Education Health and Care Plan spoken to said that they were listened to during the assessment and review processes. One young person used the process to thank her school and all those involved in her support. ‘I wouldn’t be able to do as well in classes without all of you’.”
To view the report, visit https://reports.ofsted.gov.uk/local-authorities/west-sussex.