Ofsted to join CQC in evaluating how well schools care for children with special educational needs

The scheme will begin May 2016, with both watchdogs inspecting all local areas at least once in the next five years. The evaluations will include the analysis of schools and the further education sector, alongside local authorities, clinical commissioning groups and nurseries.

The initiative will involve inspectors reviewing pupils’ academic files in order to comprehend information about their progress. The progress of pupils with educational needs is dependant upon services such as speech, language therapy and mental health facilities. As such, these will also be evaluated.

After review, the local areas will receive a report with recommendations and priority areas for improvement.

Sean Harford, Ofsted’s national director for education, said: “We will want to see evidence that the children and young people are progressing well, to their next stage of education or employment. Effective local area support is crucial for these children and young people who really need them.”

Harford assured that Ofsted will use the reviews to ‘highlight good practice’ and ‘celebrate success’.

He said: “I hope that other areas will be inspired by this good practice, which will lead to improvements elsewhere. I also hope the result will be better support for some of the most vulnerable young people in society, helping to give them the best possible start in life.”

CQC chief inspector of general practice Professor Steve Field said: “Young people and children with special educational needs or disabilities can face a complex system comprising many different health and educational agencies. It can be a bewildering experience for families having to coordinate different types of support.

“That’s why it’s important that we examine how well these different partners work together to meet the care needs of this often vulnerable group.”

Significant changes concerning the provision of special educational needs were implemented by the government last September. The changes included statements of needs for children up to age 18 being replaced by education, health and care plans (ECHPs).

The consultation will close on 4 January and the outcome will be published in ‘early 2016’.

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