Review says SEND services in Warwickshire are 'improving', following damning 2021 report - The Leamington Observer

Review says SEND services in Warwickshire are 'improving', following damning 2021 report

Leamington Editorial 30th Mar, 2023   0

SUPPORT for children and young people in Warwickshire with special educational needs and disabilities is improving, according to a new review.

A recent review was carried out by the Department for Education and NHS England of Warwickshire’s SEND services, following a more damning report in 2021.

In the feedback, inspectors acknowledged the continued determination and pace of Warwickshire County Council and Coventry and Warwickshire Integrated Care Board who have been working together with a range of partners, including Warwickshire Parent Carer Voice, to improve the delivery of services provided.

The report noted that the local area continues to make good progress and most actions are on track on the Written Statement of Action – the improvement plan following the local area SEND inspection in 2021.

Particularly good progress has been made with the SEND Local Offer and the foundations of strong coproduction practice are in place with parent carers. Waiting times for autism assessments are reducing steadily.

The Department for Education and NHS England concluded that Warwickshire had worked hard since the last monitoring meeting to demonstrate the impact of their improvement work where this is known.

At the last review in 2021, WCC received a highly critical report into their SEND services – which the group Send National Crisis Warwickshire, representing families of disabled children in the county, said at the time didn’t ‘skim the surface’ of the ‘trauma’ they had experienced.

The 2021 report raised ‘significant concerns about the effectiveness of the local area’, which led to WCC and the Coventry and Warwickshire Clinical Commissioning Group having to produce a Written Statement of Action to Ofsted that explained how ‘significant areas of weakness’ would be tackled.

Inspectors identified long waiting times for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) assessments and weaknesses in support for children with ASD; fractured relationships with parents and carers; incorrect placement of some children and young people with Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans in specialist settings; a lack of uptake of school staff training to help them meet the needs of children and young people with SEND; and poor quality of the online local offer.

At the time a WCC spokesperson said they “recognised more work has to be done.”

Following this latest review, WCC’s Strategic Director for People, Nigel Minns, said: “I am pleased that the Department of Education and NHS England have confirmed that good progress is being made, including the Local Offer and coproduction practice. It shows that Warwickshire is progressing and moving in the right direction.

“As a local area we know that there are still challenges ahead, but we remain committed to working in partnership, increasing co-production, and building on the expertise within the system to improve outcomes for all children, young people and their families in Warwickshire.”

Tracy Pilcher, Chief Nursing Officer, NHS Coventry and Warwickshire Integrated Care Board, added: “We continue to make progress on our Local Offer for children and young people with special educational needs in Warwickshire, working closely with children, young people and families to develop services which meet their needs.

“I am particularly pleased to see that the waiting times for a diagnostic autism assessment have reduced significantly. Although there is still more to be done in further reducing these waiting times, this represents a step in the right direction which should be celebrated.”

Send National Crisis Warwickshire has been contacted for comment.

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