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Joint local area Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) inspection for Kingston upon Thames

Joint local area Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) inspection for Kingston upon Thames

The outcome of a recent inspection of services across the Royal Borough of Kingston for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) will be published on the Ofsted website tomorrow Tuesday 6 November.

In advance of that you can download the full inspection letter from Ofsted here (opens a PDF).

Update 6th November - you can now also read the inspection letter on the Ofsted website here.

The inspection letter, which followed a joint visit by Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in September, considers the whole local area and how well it has implemented the 2014 reforms, the quality of support, and provision for our children and young people with SEND.

During the week-long visit, inspectors spoke with children and young people, parents and carers, and local authority and National Health Service (NHS) staff, as well as visiting a range of providers.

Achieving for Children (AfC), Kingston Council and Kingston Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) are required to produce and submit a Written Statement of Action to Ofsted and the CQC within 70 days to explain how we will jointly address the following areas for improvement:

  • The quality of education, health and care plans (EHCPs)
  • The strategic leadership and monitoring of the CCG’s work in implementing the 2014 reforms
  • Timeliness and oversight of the annual review process
  • Making sure that there is a productive and positive relationship between parents and parent representatives, including a parent carer forum

The inspection found many areas of good performance and acknowledged some plans had already been put in place to improve areas not performing as well.

The report identified good practice in the early years which we will use as a best practice platform to build and develop across a wider age range.

  • Leaders regularly gather the views of children and young people who have SEND to influence improvement in the local area including the Local Offer.
  • Leaders have recently put in place some new strategies where they have identified a need for improvement, such as the Inclusion Service, and early intervention panels.

The following actions are already underway:

  • The new strategy for SEN, called SEND Futures, which embraces all local partners will be implemented in 2020 following consultation
  • A robust quality assurance process to review the quality of all EHCPs
  • In September 2018 newly-appointed annual review officers to lead the development across AfC and partners to ensure annual reviews are completed within statutory guidelines and the quality and impact for children and young people.

Achieving for Children’s interim Chief Executive, Ian Dodds, said:

“We recognise the areas for improvement that the inspection team have identified, and we’re committed to acting on all of their recommendations.

“We are pleased that the inspectors highlighted some positives of the service, but we know that there are some areas which we need to improve. Plans are already in place to make these improvements as quickly as we can.

“Our immediate priority is to work with colleagues in the health service to complete a joint action plan which will drive our collective efforts over the coming months. We’re all committed to working together to give our children and young people with SEN or disabilities the support they need.

“We recognise the importance of working closely with all of our parent and carers, and the need to work in the spirit of the 2014 reforms. With that in mind, we’re already working with representatives of the Department for Education to establish a new local parent carer forum.”

Dr Naz Jivani, Chair of Kingston Clinical Commissioning Group, said:

“We welcome the inspection report and we are committed to ensuring that the areas for improvement which have been identified will be prioritised and achieved in collaboration with our partners.

“We will continue to build on the areas of strength identified in the report, while we work on improving our strategic leadership and monitoring for children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities.

“We are absolutely committed to commissioning high quality services which meet the needs of children and young people in Kingston.”

Leader of Kingston Council, Councillor Liz Green, said:

“We welcome an inspection so early in our administration and fully take on board the findings of the visit which has highlighted areas for improvement. We know that our need to work to improve these services and all our children and young people deserve the best opportunities. To do this we need to work more closely with parents and carers, schools, health partners and Achieving for Children and we are setting out a clear plan on how we will achieve the improvements.

“We remain committed to providing the best possible services for these children and their families and would like to work with them to help raise standards and look at how we can work together to achieve this.

“We are confident that we can take the service forward in the future, but only if we change to seeing parents/carers and schools as partners. We can have a fresh start, with the Education Commission, a change in Director of Children's Services, a new political administration and new CEO to make this happen and this inspection has given us details of where our initial focus needs to be, but we welcome comments by everyone involved in the lives of children with SEND."