Southend services for children with special needs and disabilities inspected

Published Wednesday, 12th December 2018

Southend Pier

A report into the quality of the services supplied to children in Southend with special educational needs and disabilities has been published.

OFSTED and the Care Quality Commission today (12 December) publish their findings following a joint inspection in the services supplied by the area, consisting of Southend-on-Sea Borough Council, Southend Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), Public Health and schools and settings in October.

The aim of the inspection was to check the implementation of the 2014 special education needs and disability (SEND) reforms. The week-long inspection revealed that whilst many improvements had been made since 2017, the changes had not been implemented as quickly as required.

Several individual services received recognition for the high quality support they offer, but there needs to be more done to listen and to act upon, the views of families and children with SEND and promote what services are available. Organisations also need to build up their collaboration to jointly commission services to meet the needs of children and young people with SEND.

Inspectors recognised that services were already aware of the issues addressed in the report. A joint written statement of action is now being prepared to explain how the Council, Southend CCG and Public Health, will work together with schools to address the concerns outlined in the report.

Cllr Helen Boyd, cabinet member for children and learning, said: “Inspections like this one provide a vital role in assessing what is working well and where improvements need to be made. We’re confident we are addressing the concerns highlighted in the report, especially with regard to improving communication with parents, who have every right to expect the highest quality services for their children. The Council, schools, and its CCG partners welcome this report and are fully committed to putting the right plans in place to support learners with SEND.

“The inspection involved visits to several settings and conversations with officers, clinicians, practitioners and stakeholders, parents and learners. The inspection took in all aspects of physical health, mental health and educational services for SEND children, across a variety of providers in the borough.”

Chief Nurse at Southend CCG, Tricia D’Orsi, commented; “Whilst we were disappointed at some of the findings, we acknowledge that implementation in some areas has been more time consuming than we would have liked. However it is reassuring to know that we are very much on the right path and improvements have already been seen in a number of areas.

“The key to this lies with parents, as they are the experts living with children with special needs 24/7. We must continue to work closely with them to ensure there is co-production in finding and implementing the solutions required.

“We hope the culture of parents and professionals working together, as equal partners, will be routine practice in future to achieve better outcomes for children.

“The report findings will galvanise the increasing close work being undertaken between parents, children, health, schools, public health and local authority services, to support the parents and children in our local community.”

The full report can be found on our website.