Joint inspection finds Hampshire’s ‘SEND’ services are in good shape

Both leaders and practitioners from Hampshire’s education, health and care agencies “are passionate about improving the lived experience for children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) and their families”. This was one of the findings of a joint review of SEND services provided within Hampshire by the County Council, schools and the NHS in March 2020

May 6 2020

Inspectors from Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) looked at how well services for children and young people in Hampshire are implementing the government’s SEND reforms, as set out in the Children and Families Act 2014. Their report, detailing the findings, reflects a positive assessment of the services and support that is leading to good outcomes for children and young people with SEND across Hampshire.

Councillor Roz Chadd, Hampshire County Council’s Executive Member for Education and Skills, said: “I know how hard our SEND Service works to ensure that the support needs of children and young people with SEND are met, working closely with our partners in the NHS and Hampshire’s family of schools. I am pleased that this has been recognised by Ofsted. However, we are not complacent and, as the report acknowledges, the areas for improvement that have been identified by the inspectors were already known; and that a clear strategy and plan of action is in place to drive those improvements. I am pleased to say that this activity has remained on track throughout the national response to the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Inspectors praised the ambitions of leaders in ensuring that children and young people with SEND can succeed.  Cited as a strength of the area, was how professionals work together in the early years to identify young children’s needs. Transitions between early years and school, and between children’s services and adults’ services was also seen as a strength. Alongside this, inspectors found that there is effective support for schools and settings to help them successfully provide an inclusive educational experience for children and young people with SEND. Also highlighted as a positive aspect of the services, is the way in which professionals are improving how they involve parents, children and young people in the development of Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs).

In addition, work to prepare young people with SEND for adulthood and promote employability was found to be good and continuously improving.
While delays to the Education, Health and Care assessment process were noted, Ofsted acknowledged that there are robust plans in place to address this and had confidence that this would improve in the coming months as new ways of working become embedded in the County Council’s Special Educational Needs Service.

Among their conclusions, inspectors record that  “Hampshire is an area that knows itself well”  and that the workforce supporting children and young people with SEND is fully committed to improving the experience and outcomes; and, further, that the support that is offered is highly valued by families, children and young people.