New plans to help strengthen the support for children and young people with Special Educational Needs (SEN) and Disabilities in Leicestershire have been given the thumbs up.
Leicestershire County Council, East Leicestershire and Rutland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and West Leicestershire CCG worked with schools, parents, carers and young people to draw up the plans, known as a Written Statement of Action (WSoA).
The requirement to submit an action plan followed the inspection of the county’s SEND offer by OFSTED and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) which took place in February.
Although a number of positives were highlighted, inspectors did say that urgent action was needed to improve Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plans and develop a joint commissioning strategy.
Now Ofsted has written to the council and CCGs approving the Written Statement of Action which it says is comprehensive, provides clear timescales and focuses on tackling the two concerns raised in their inspection report.
Improving the experience for children, young people, parents and carers who go through the process of needs assessment for EHC plans is a key focus of the changes.
We would like to thank all the children, young people and their families who have worked with us to share their views and co-produce these new plans, whilst at the same time helping us to put a number of changes and improvements in place over the summer.Deborah Taylor, cabinet member for children and families
“Their input has been invaluable, and we are delighted that Ofsted has recognised the work that has gone into formulating them.
“Improving SEND services here in Leicestershire is one of our very top priorities, which is reflected in the £30m we are making to build new schools and specialist SEND resourced bases in our schools.
“We are also working very hard to ensure SEND reforms that were introduced back in 2014 continue to be central to our practice by drawing on the lived experiences of families as they journey through a system that, for some, has been challenging.
“And while we have made good headway in some areas, and this was acknowledged by inspectors, changes clearly need to be made, particularly when it comes to EHC plans.
“We are pleased the WSoA has been accepted and is, in OFSTED’s view, comprehensive, and we look forward to implementing the changes and improving our SEND offer further.
The inspection findings in February have afforded us an opportunity to shine a light on areas that were underdeveloped, and it has focused our attention on improving services for children and young people with education and health needs.Caroline Trevithick, chief nurse to the CCGs
Joint working with local authority partners, schools and most importantly the co-production with those affected has been key and has resulted in a robust and deliverable plan”
• There are nearly 203,000 children and young people aged 0-24 in Leicestershire. More than 11,000 have SEND support and 3,801 have an EHC Plan.
You can view the plans here