Ofsted inspection praises Wiltshire's joint working to support children and young people with SEND
Inspectors have praised effective partnerships and the ambition to deliver the very best outcomes for Wiltshire's children and young people with Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities (SEND) in a report published today.
The Ofsted and Care Quality Commission letter notes the effective partnerships across education, health and care which are a strength of Wiltshire.
It adds the SEND strategy and self-evaluation are "honest and accurate and are driving improvements in Wiltshire."
The letter follows an inspection in January which involved visits to special schools and settings and gained feedback from children and young people, parents and carers through webinars and meetings.
The report notes:
- SEND children achieve well in their early years as education, health and care quickly identify needs and put in place correct support
- Outcomes for SEND children have significantly improved in reading, writing and mathematics at the end of Key Stage 1 and 2 with results now in the top quartile nationally
- Young people are well supported as they move into adult life with integrated teams working closely together to ensure post-19 learners can stay in education if required. Consequently the proportion of young people staying in education, employment or training is high and above the national average
- Access to a personalised high quality short breaks scheme more than 1,300 children and young people access this scheme yearly with young people talking about positive outcomes as a result of the scheme
- Close partnership working is a strength with parent carers and young people at the centre of the decision-making process. Wiltshire Parent Carer Council is recognised as an effective organisation both in supporting parent carers to access information and navigate the local offer, and enabling the parent carer voice to influence and inform
- Special schools in Wiltshire carefully identify children and young people's needs when they join the school so they can settle in quickly
- Health practitioners support a "tell it once" approach with greater integration of services to meet needs in a responsive and timely manner
- Health professionals offer children with cerebral palsy intervention with their parents. The outcomes are set by children, young people and their parents
- Children with complex needs and learning disabilities benefit from a specific children's continence service. Changes to this provision have been led by parents' participation and consultation
The report records parents' concerns about Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) provision which is already being addressed with additional provision in the south to ensure there are spaces throughout the county for all.
Commenting on the inspection, Catherine Leahy, Her Majesty's Inspector says: "Today, we have published a largely positive letter about SEND provision in Wiltshire. The letter says that while there is always more to do, Wiltshire is moving in the right direction."
Laura Mayes Wiltshire Council cabinet member for children services said: "Ensuring our children and young people have everything they need so they can thrive and achieve is a driving factor for all we do.
"I'm delighted this independent report has so much good to say however we are never complacent and we will continue to work with our partners to ensure Wiltshire's children are given the right support to achieve their potential."
Ted Wilson Community and Joint Commissioning Director for Wiltshire CCG added: "I'm pleased the report recognises the strengths of the joint partnership and the importance we place on the children and young people and parents having a voice and helping to shape the support they receive."
Stuart Hall, strategic director of Wiltshire Parent Carer Council said: "The views of many parent carers and young people were heard by the inspectors during the process. Many parents took the opportunity to engage in the process by participating in the webinar, sending emails to the inspection team and talking to inspectors during visits to settings.
"This meant the inspection process was informed by the views of parent carers and young people and played an important part in informing the focus of the inspection. We are delighted that this was an independent process that has highlighted the strengths, ambition and joint working across services in the local area. It also realistically identifies challenges that the local area aspires to address in close partnership with parent carers through parent participation and coproduction."
The inspections give Ofsted and the CQC a bird's eye view of education, health and social care services for children and young people who have SEND. As well as collecting the views of local children, young people and parents, they gather evidence from a wide range of sources. These include visiting schools, GPs and other health partners. They meet with local area officers responsible for education, health and social care, as well as some school leaders.
The report is available at this link: https://reports.ofsted.gov.uk/local-authorities/wiltshire