Swindon Borough Council say an Ofsted report found sufficient progress in improvements for services for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).
Swindon Borough Council and the BANES, Swindon and Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group (BSW CCG) have welcomed an Ofsted report outlining improvements that have been made to the Local Area’s services for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).
As a result of a SEND Local Area Inspection carried out in November 2018, the Local Area was given eight areas of improvement to address, requiring a Written Statement of Action.
The Council and BSW CCG have overseen the implementation of these improvements since that inspection, working closely with children, young people, their families and other partner organisations. Inspectors from the Office for Standards in Education (OFSTED) and Care Quality Commission (CQC) visited Swindon in October this year to assess the Local Area’s progress in delivering the actions within the Written Statement of Action. A report which sets out the outcomes of this visit has been published.
The recent revisit assessed the progress against each of the eight areas outlined in the Written Statement of Action. Inspectors spoke with children and young people with SEND, parents and carers, teachers and leaders from schools, the parent carer forum (Swindon SEND Families Voice - SSFV), and Local Authority and National Health Service (NHS) officers. Inspectors also considered 211 responses to an online survey for parents.
Cllr Mary Martin, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, said: “Looking after our children and young people is a key priority for the Council and I am delighted to see the positive outcomes of this Ofsted report.
"The dedication shown from officers within the Council and colleagues at the CCG to improve the SEND service and ensure better support is provided for children, young people and their families is fantastic and I’m glad this has been recognised and reflected in the report. Well done and thank you to all those involved for the continued support you provide to our children and young people.”
The report outlines that inspectors found that sufficient progress has been made in all eight areas and that senior leaders across the Local Area have taken their responsibilities to address the areas of improvement identified very seriously.
The report then goes on to say that despite the challenges presented by the covid-19 pandemic, senior leaders continued to address the areas for improvement. Inspectors heard from senior leaders of their commitment to SEND across Swindon and that they recognise that there is still more to do.
The report summarises that the service no longer needs to have a Written Statement of Action, and will no longer receive regular monitoring visits from the DFE or National Health Service, England (NHSE). The report says that this is because senior leaders know their services well and have the ability to continue with their robust self-assessment and improvement plans to take SEND forward.
David Haley, Corporate Director of Children’s Services, said: “This report demonstrates the significant progress that has been made by our SEND services since the previous inspection in 2018. It is a testament to our colleagues and partners for their commitment to driving forward improvements and I couldn’t be more pleased with the progress we have collectively achieved. That being said, we know that there is still further progress to be made and we are determined to continue improving services for our families, working with them to get the best outcomes for children and young people in Swindon.”
Gill May, Director of Nursing and Quality, Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “The improvements that have been made to the SEND services offered in Swindon since 2018 will help the town’s young people to access the care and support needed to live a happy, healthy and independent life.
“We are committed to ensuring improvements continue, and we will work closely with partners and, most importantly, parents and carers and to make sure the voice of children and young people is at the heart of all our decision-making.”
Rebecca Harrison, and Michelle Lloyd, Co-Chairs, Swindon SEND Families Voice, added: “Over the last 3 years Swindon SEND Families Voice have been working towards the voices of parent carers being more widely recognised and heard within Swindon's SEND services, which has resulted in some great collaborative work alongside Swindon Borough Council and The BSW Clinical Commissioning Group. We feel this joint working has contributed to significant improvements of the services offered to SEND families in Swindon.
“We are keen for all SEND services in Swindon to be continuously improved on so that families’ experiences are positive and the services they receive are inclusive and provide high quality care and support.
“With this in mind we hope going forward that Swindon SEND Families Voice will continue to be at the heart of shaping SEND services and we would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved in the re-visit for listening and allowing us to advocate on behalf of SEND families in Swindon.”