Support for children and young people with special educational needs or disabilities (SEND) has improved on the Isle of Wight, with senior leaders from the education, health and care services working well together.
This was the finding of a joint review of SEND services by education and care watchdogs following an inspection in November last year.
A positive assessment of improving services and support
Inspectors from Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) looked at how well services for children and young people on the Island were implementing the government’s SEND reforms, as set out in the Children and Families Act 2014.
Their letter, which reports on the inspectors’ findings, is a positive assessment of improving services and support in schools that is making a real difference for children and young people with SEND across the Island.
Brading: A hugely positive report
Cllr Paul Brading, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, said:
“This is a hugely positive report that recognises the hard work and commitment of everyone working in local services for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities.
“The inspectors praised the range and improving quality of Island services and the way the council and our partners work together.
“After an SEN inspection, most authorities have to write a written statement of action detailing how they will improve services and are then re-inspected. In our case, inspectors were so impressed we don’t need to write a plan and they won’t be re-inspecting.”
Findings of the report
In the report, inspectors recognised the strong partnership across education, health and care enabling the early identification and continuing support for children and young people with SEND and their families.
The report also said the Island had a clear plan for development and described leaders as committed to working together to drive further improvements.
The inspection team also found:
- Families who have a new baby with a lifelong disability are supported well.
- A good speech and language therapy service is offered on the Island.
- Children and young people have good access to a wide range of emotional and mental health services.
- Most children and young people with SEND feel happy and are making progress.
- Most parents are happy with the support their child receives in school.
- Outcomes for older young people are strong while the outcomes of vulnerable children and young people with SEND are improving.
- Children and young people with SEND have good attendance at school.
Brading: Not good enough in communicating to families
Councillor Brading added:
“Inspectors also identified some areas where they think we can improve, and I know we are already focusing on improvement in these areas.
“We try our hardest to involve parents, but recognise that there is still room for improvement and where we have not been good enough is in communicating developments to families.”
Inspectors said children and their parents were not always able to influence the support they receive while targets in Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans were often imprecise and older plans were not always kept up to date.
Smith: Working better at leadership and operational level
Alison Smith, managing director of NHS Isle of Wight Clinical Commissioning Group, added:
“We welcome the findings of this report and the positive news is a testament to the brilliant partnership working happening across different organisations on the Island.
“We’re working better together both at a leadership level and an operational level. We’re pleased with where we have got to, however this is not the end of the story for us, and we will continue to provide better services.
“We have made big improvements to our autism service and we’re all focused on early identification as this is key to unlocking support for families.”
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News shared by Isle of Wight council press office. Ed