This report provided details of the outcome of the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) Local Area revisit, which was carried out jointly by the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted) and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) between the 9 and 11 December 2019.
This inspection followed an initial inspection carried out by Ofsted and the CQC from 4 to 8 December 2017 in which eight areas of serious weakness were identified and resulted in a requirement to produce and submit to the Department for Education (DfE) a Written Statement of Action.
The report explained that following the most recent inspection the inspectors concluded that the Local Area had made significant progress in five out of the eight areas initially identified as areas of concern. These were:
· the extent to which providers in the area take suitable responsibility for ensuring the effective implementation of the reforms;
· the lack of clearly understood and effective lines of accountability;
· the quality and rigour of self-evaluation and monitoring and its effectiveness in driving improvement;
· the sufficiency of information to inform accurate evaluation; and
· the lack of effective co-production at all levels.
Whilst the inspectors saw that progress had been made in the remaining three areas, they reported that this progress had been slow to be realised and had not been embedded for long enough. These areas were:
· the lack of joint strategic leadership across the area between the Council, the CCG and education providers;
· the lack of a clearly communicated strategy that is understood and shared by leaders across the area; and
· The quality of education, health and care plans.
The report outlined that it was expected that, following the outcome of the revisit, the CCG and Medway Council would be asked to submit an ‘Accelerated Progress Plan’ to the DfE. This plan would describe how the Local Area would continue to make progress to improve the remaining three areas of concern.
The report also noted that there was an expectation that the DfE and NHS England would continue to offer monitoring and scrutiny meetings with the CCG and Medway Council to ensure that progress was being made and there would be two monitoring visits over the period of a year.
The Portfolio Holder for Children’s Services (Lead Member) confirmed that an ‘Accelerated Progress Plan’ had been submitted.
The Children and Young People Overview and Scrutiny Committee considered this report on 5 March 2020, details of which were set out in section 6 of the report.
The Cabinet noted the comments of the Children and Young People Overview and Scrutiny Comments as set out in section 6 of the report and noted the progress towards meeting the improvements detailed in the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) Written Statement of Action.
To formally notify the Cabinet of the outcome of the SEND Local Area Revisit and outline the next steps.