The support given to children with special needs and disabilities in Wigan Borough has been credited by leading Government ministers.
The praise comes in a letter responding to concerns raised in the Bercow: 10 years on report, which looked at special educational needs and disability (SEND) provision across the country.
In their response to the report, Nadhim Zahawi, Parliamentary under-Secretary of State for Children, and Families and Caroline Dinenage, Minister of State for Care, highlight Wigan’s recent SEND Ofsted inspection.
It reads: “In Wigan, the identification, assessment and meeting of needs for the youngest children with SEND is a real strength across the local area. As a result, an increasing number of children are ‘school ready’ or have appropriate support in place as they begin school”.
Earlier this year Ofsted and CQC gave a positive report into how the council and its partners deliver SEND health, education and social care services for children and their transition between children’s and adults services.
The inspectors praised the ambitious plan in place to transform services for children with SEND and reflected that this plan has been and will continue to be co-designed with families and young people.
In the report multi-agency partnership working in the borough was highlighted as a strength and giving staff permission to make decisions was shown to be ‘improving lives’.
The Parent Carer Forum was also highlighted as being a strong mechanism for sharing, support and engagement which demonstrated the council’s approach to co-producing services with families and based around their needs.
Councillor Jenny Bullen, cabinet member for children and young people’s services, said: “We are very proud of our staff from across the partnership who work tirelessly to support our children and families and this is great recognition for them.
“There is still more we can do together through The Deal to improve our approach to SEND and we have an ambitious plan in place to transform our services.
“We know it is absolutely crucial to involve children and families every step of the way and we genuinely want to continue working with them to design our services around their needs. We are determined to keep listening and working closely with them to make our approach to SEND the best it can be.”