Education and health bosses have voiced their approval for plans for future SEND (special educational needs and disabilities) provision in Kent.
Kent County Council and the NHS submitted a joint Written Statement of Action (WSoA) to Ofsted (Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills) and the CQC (Care Quality Commission), which has now been cleared by them for publication.
A major priority moving forward will be to engage fully with families, and both KCC and the NHS are looking forward to working with parents, carers and the children and young people themselves to achieve the best possible outcomes for those pupils with SEND in Kent.
In a joint statement, Roger Gough, KCC’s Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Education, and Glenn Douglas, accountable officer for the eight Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in Kent and Medway, said: “We are very pleased our WSoA has been agreed and we’re looking forward to being able to give children and young people with SEND, and their families, the positive experience they deserve.
“A lot of work has already been done but we now have more to do, working together with parents and carers in a meaningful and successful way, engaging them in the workstreams identified in the WSoA, and ensuring the best possible provision and outcomes for all children and young people with SEND in Kent.”
All parents and carers of children and young people with SEND in Kent have been invited to take part in a questionnaire to share their thoughts and feelings about the experience they have received. The results will help shape that provision moving forward.
Parent and carer forums are being organised and drop-in sessions are being held at a variety of locations to encourage maximum engagement with parents and carers. Details of the forums will be published on kentpact.org.uk as they become available.
KCC and the health service were required to produce the WSoA following a joint inspection of the Local Area in January and February. The WSoA acknowledges that while inspectors identified a number of strengths during the inspection of KCC, schools, academy trusts and all parts of the NHS, they also identified significant weaknesses and areas of concern.
The document sets out actions that will be taken to bring about the required improvements and ensure children and young people with SEND can achieve the best outcomes in life.
Read the full Written Statement of Action here.
Notes to journalists:
Ofsted and the CQC conducted a joint inspection of the Local Area of Kent between 28 January and 1 February 2019, to judge the effectiveness of the area in implementing the disability and special educational needs reforms as set out in the Children and Families Act 2014. In particular, they looked at how well Kent County Council and the NHS identify and meet the needs of children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND), as well as the outcomes they achieve.
A letter to KCC and the NHS, published on 29 March 2019, required the organisations to produce a Written Statement of Action (WSoA) addressing the areas of weakness identified during the joint inspection.
KCC and the NHS have categorised the areas of identified significant weakness into five workstreams, which form the basis of the WSoA. The desired outcome for each workstream has been identified along with key actions needed to bring about that change. The WSoA also sets out intended timescales, and names the lead officer responsible for ensuring the delivery of each workstream. Milestones met and progress made before the WSoA was submitted have also been highlighted.
The five workstreams are:
- Parental confidence, engagement and co-production
- Inclusive practice and the outcomes, progress and attainment of children and young people
- Quality of Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs)
- Joint commissioning and governance
- Service provision
The Local Area – KCC and the NHS – will now be subject to quarterly monitoring by the Department for Education and NHS England and a full re-inspection between 12 and 18 months after the date the WSoA was approved.