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Ofsted / CQC Local Area SEND Inspection

Page last updated: 10/07/2019

​​In May 2016, the two inspectorates, Ofsted and the Care Quality commission (CQC) started a new type of joint inspection. The framework reviews how well the Local Area meets its responsibilities to children and young people (from birth to age 25) who have Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities (SEND).

​Ofsted is the Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills. It reports directly to Parliament and is both independent and impartial. Ofsted inspects and regulates Local Areas to evaluate their effectiveness and promote improvement. The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is the independent regulator of health and adult social care in England. 

What is the Local Area

​​​The Local Area includes the local education authority, clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), public health, NHS England for specialist services, Early Year's settings, schools and further education providers. 

When will our Local Area SEND Inspection take place?

All Local Areas are inspected at least once during a five-year period (2016-2021). Essex has not yet been notified of our SEND inspection. We will receive notice of the review on a Monday morning and the review will commence on the following Monday, giving five days’ notice. Inspections can take place at any point during usual school term time.

What is the focus of the Local Area SEND Inspection?

The inspection will look to answer three questions:

  • Question A: How effectively does the Local Area identify children and young people who have SEND?
  • Question B: How effectively does the Local Area assess and meet the needs of children and young people who have SEND?
  • Question C: How effectively does the Local Area improve outcomes* for children and young people with SEND?

*Outcomes are not limited to academic achievement. The inspection will evaluate how effectively our Local Area supports children and young people with SEND to “achieve the best possible educational and other outcomes", looking at Health and Social Care as well as academic achievement.

See the inspection framework and handbook for more detailed information. 


What will happen during our Local Area SEND Inspection?

The joint SEND inspection team will evaluate what is working well in our Local Area and will identify ways we can improve and develop to ensure better outcomes for our children and young people with SEND.

There are usually three inspectors on the team. Over the course of the 5-day inspection, inspectors will speak to our SEND services (Education, Health and Social care) about how we are implementing the SEND reforms. Inspectors will review the support provided by our Local Area for some individual children and young people to better understand how well we meet our responsibilities.

​The inspectors will visit a range of early years, school, further education and health providers and specialist services within the local area. The Local Area can propose schools and settings based on positive recommendations, however the inspection teams are at liberty to make their own selection based on key lines of enquiry.

The views of families, parents and young people

The views of our families, parents and young people are an important part of our Local Area SEND inspection. Inspectors cannot meet parents individually, but they can and do meet with groups of parents through a webinar, which they host during each inspection. The webinar will run from midday on the day of notification until 4pm on day 2 of the inspection week.

We will also ensure that the inspectors are given the opportunity to meet with our Multi-Schools Council and the Essex Family Forum. Discussions are often held with local support groups and with local impartial information, advice and support services.

Please note that the inspection does not make any judgements on the decision-making or the quality of support provided to individual children or young adults. The inspectors are unable to investigate complaints about the support received by individual children or young people or their families.


How will families know the inspection is taking place?

​​We will act promptly to make sure that everyone is aware that our inspection is about to take place. Families will receive written communication to make sure they know how they can express their views and opinions. We will publish the date and ways to get involved on our Local Offer and on our Local Offer Facebook page.

Ofsted and CQC will tweet out the webinar link from @ofstednews and @CareQualityComm and give the full details of where the inspection is happening. The Ofsted press team will contact local and regional radio and newspapers to keep them informed too.

You can also sign up to receive an email from GOV.UK that will tell you when Ofsted add information on inspections to the page. Ofsted have also agreed with the popular website SEN Jungle that they will promote the webinar by adding the details to their website and emailing it to subscribers. You can subscribe to the site to keep up to date. 


What happens after the inspection?

​A report will be prepared and then published on the Government and Ofsted and CQC websites within 33 working days from the inspection.  This will outline the evidence that inspectors reviewed and provide a summary of key findings including strengths and areas requiring further development.

Reports may include areas of significant concern that may require a written statement of action to be submitted by the local authority to identify how concerns will be remedied. A written statement of action by the local authority might be required in circumstances where the Inspectors judge that there is an illegal practice or a failure to meet the duties under the Children and Families Act 2014.


​​Further information can be found below: