Ofsted revisit finds Essex has made sufficient progress in improving SEND services.
Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission have published their final report confirming the significant progress that Essex has made to address the areas of weakness previously identified in its SEND service offer.
Key highlights from the report include:
- Better partnership working between health and education organisations, as well as increased oversight of joint SEND commissioning arrangements.
- Improvements in the accurate identification of SEND for children and young people.
- Progress made in the co-production of Education Health and Care plans across health, social care and education.
The revisit, which took place between 17 May 2022 and 19 May 2022, follows a previous inspection between 30 September and 4 October 2019.
During the revisit, inspectors from both CQC and Ofsted spoke to education, health and social care colleagues, representatives of the Essex Family Forum, children and young people, parents and carers, as well as school, college and early years representatives. They held a series of specific focus groups, ran surveys, and listened to feedback from families. All parties were able to share their experiences of the improvements made to the SEND system in Essex since 2019.
The report confirms that Essex is making sufficient progress to address the areas of weakness previously identified and that ongoing external monitoring is no longer required.
It is important for us to reassure all children and young people with SEND in Essex and their families, that achieving 'sufficient progress' does not mean we stop or scale back our efforts to improve our SEND services. We acknowledge that improvements take time to be realised and this may mean some families and young people do not yet feel the impact of the changes we have made. However, we hugely appreciate the feedback from those families who have experienced our new ways of working in Essex, which helps us to confirm that the changes we are making are the right ones and soon these positive experiences will be the norm for all families.
The local area is made up of education, social care and health partners, who have all worked together to achieve this level of progress. Joint working arrangements will continue to be strengthened in the future as we begin working together more closely within Integrated Care Systems.
You can read the full report from Ofsted and CQC here.