Ofsted and CQC to make local SEND visits

Ofsted and CQC to make local SEND visits

Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission will be visiting local areas to help improve provisions for Special Educational Needs and Disabilities following disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Class with child in wheelchair

Officials from Ofsted and CQC will work collaboratively with local areas to understand the experiences of children and young people with SEND, and their families, and to support local areas to prioritise and meet their needs.

Ofsted and QCQ have also been tasked by the Department for Education to develop a new SEND inspection framework.

Amanda Spielman, Ofsted's Chief Inspector, emphasized that the newly announced visits are not part of the old inspection regime.

She said:

“There is no doubt that children and young people with SEND and their families have been affected significantly by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Although many hard-working professionals and organisations have responded admirably by finding innovative ways to support children and families, we must not lose sight of the wide-ranging disruption to essential support and services still faced by many.”

She added that the SEND system was struggling even before the pandemic and that the visits would be a good opportunity to help understand not just the impact of COVID-19, but also identify the needs of local areas that need strengthening.

Karen Flanagan, who is on the SEND team on Prospect's ECSG Group Executive Council, said:

“The Department for Education have said visits will continue as part of the new framework. They will look at the ‘lived experience’ and there will be a greater focus on social care and the integration of services between social care, health and education.”

More information: HMCI Amanda Spielman on the future of special educational needs and disabilities inspections