Let down by the system.... they must improve service
Children and young people with special educational needs have been failed by the authorities, the damning report reveals Reporter A LOST generation of children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities are being let down by the system, an investigation has found.
National reforms which came into force in 2014 placed a duty on town halls to lead on integration arrangements between health services, socialcare provision and education for children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities.
A joint inspection of Northumberland’s provision by Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission, which took place in October, “raised significant concerns about the effectiveness of the local area”.
The report concludes that a written statement of action must be produced and submitted to Ofsted which explains how the local area will tackle the following “areas of significant weakness”:
•weaknesses in the local area’s arrangements for jointly planning, commissioning and providing the services children and young people with SEND and their families need
•the graduated response to identifying, assessing and meeting the needs of children and young people with SEND is not embedded in mainstream primary and secondary schools, and
•the poor outcomes achieved by children and young people with SEND and weaknesses in successfully preparing them for their adult lives.
Inspectors said Northumberland County Council and NHS Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group are “jointly responsible” for providing the written statement.
The main findings of the report include that “families in Northumber- land have widely different experiences of the local area’s arrangements for identifying, assessing and meeting their children’s needs”, while the children and young people do not do well enough in mainstream schools with too many also being excluded.
It adds that leaders “are not jointly planning, commissioning and providing education, health and care services in a way which is improving children and young people’s outcomes”.
However, the report does say that “there has been a determined drive to improve arrangements” in the past year, with “confidence in leaders strengthening and the pace of improvement increasing”.
Plus, “new leadership structures and recently-developed action plans provide a more secure starting point for tackling the significant weaknesses in these arrangements”.
It adds that “front-line staff in education, health and care services, and in schools, work hard and are making a valued difference to children and young people with SEND and their families”.
A joint statement on behalf of the county council, the CCG and Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We welcome the findings of the Ofsted and CQC report which outlines areas of strength and good practice within some services, as well as other areas where there is still work to do, which we acknowledge.
“The inspector has highlighted our determined drive in recent months to improve arrangements for meeting the needs of children and young people with SEND.
“The report highlights growing confidence in our services, and the pace of change and improvement.