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Ofsted / CQC Local Area SEND Inspection

Page last updated: 09/06/2020

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

*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. 

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 check their effectiveness and promote improvement. The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is the independent regulator of health and adult social care in England. 

Before the Inspection

All Local Areas are inspected at least once during a five-year period (2016-2021). Local Authorities will receive notice of the review on a Monday morning and the review will begin on the following Monday, giving five days' notice. Inspections can take place at any point during usual school term time.

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 BHow effectively does the Local Area assess and meet the needs of children and young people who have SEND?
  • Question CHow effectively does the Local Area improve outcomes* for children and young people with SEND?

Outcomes are not limited to academic achievement. The inspection will check 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.

During the Inspection

The joint SEND inspection team will check what is working well in our Local Area and will identify what can be improved to ensure better outcomes for our children and young people with SEND.

Inspectors will speak to a range of colleagues from across education, health and social care over the 5 days. They will also visit a range of early years, schools, further education and health providers. The views of our families, parents and young people are an important part of our Local Area SEND inspection. Inspectors will meet groups of parents and through a webinar.

After the Inspection

A report will be prepared and then published on the Ofsted website within 33 working days from the inspection. This will provide a summary of key findings including strengths and areas requiring further development. 

Reports may include areas of significant that may require a written statement of action to be submitted by the local authority to identify how concerns will be improved.

From 30 September 2019 to 4 October 2019, Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) visited Essex to inspect how effectively the local area fulfil their responsibilities for children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND). The general election meant that Ofsted could not publish our SEND local area inspection (LA) report within the normal 38 days of visiting due to purdah.

On 23 December 2019, Ofsted published the inspection report letter on their website. You can find a link to the report in this letter​.

For more information email​