A new report published today (Wednesday, 5 August) confirms that significant improvements have been made to Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) services across Lancashire.
Lancashire County Council and health services within Lancashire have been recognised by Ofsted and Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspectors for the progress their partnership has made in improving and delivering outcomes for children and young people with SEND.
An inspection of Lancashire SEND services, which took place in 2017, found that there were 12 areas of significant concern in the services provided for children and young people.
At the revisit in March this year, inspectors identified seven of these areas as having sufficiently improved, and although there have been improvements in the remaining five areas, further ongoing work is required.
Lancashire County Council’s cabinet member for children, young people and schools, County Councillor Phillippa Williamson, said: “I am so pleased that the formal feedback we have received acknowledges the transformation that has been made overall to our services for children and young people with SEND.
“Whilst the report shows the huge progress that has been made, there is still work to be done. We will not rest on our laurels, and we are committed to getting this right.
“The needs of children and young people are at the heart of what we do, and with this firmly in mind we will continue our work on the remaining five areas to ensure we achieve the progress we need.”
In the 2017 report, it was stated that “parents had lost trust” but the latest report shows that work has gone into ensuring parents have been able to contribute towards an improvement plan and now feel “valued, trusted and equal partners in driving improvements.”
Sam Jones, Chair of the Lancashire Parent Carer Forum, said: “I am delighted that the inspectors recognised the improvement in participation with parent carers and the valuable contributions and improvements that are now being made as a result of our engagement as a strategic partner in service development.
“The Forum remains committed to providing a valued parent carer perspective and working in partnership to support further improvements.”
Another area that has been recognised for making “significant improvement” is strategic leadership. The report said there are now “strong working relationships across the partnership” and the provision for children and young people with SEND is a “priority for elected members and leaders across health, social care and education.”
Vice Chair of the SEND Partnership, Dr Julie Higgins, Chief Officer of Pennine Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Groups, said: “Our ambition is that all services for children and young people in Lancashire are excellent and with our determination to achieve this we know it means we still have a great deal of work to do.
“Over the next few weeks we will respond to the findings in the report with a targeted action plan that addresses the five areas which continue to require improvement. This will be monitored by the Department for Education SEND Intervention Unit and NHS England.”
To read the full report, please visit reports.ofsted.gov.uk/provider/44/80480