A PLAN to tackle what campaigners describe as a ‘crisis’ in special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) services in Warwickshire has been published.
Warwickshire County Council (WCC) has published a detailed Written Statement of Action (WSoA) to address concerns raised in an Ofsted and Care Quality Commission (CQC) report published last September.
The report raised ‘significant concerns about the effectiveness of the local area’, requiring the council and Coventry and Warwickshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to explain how ‘significant areas of weakness’ will be tackled.
The WSoA focuses on five concerns raised by inspectors: long waiting times for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) assessments and weaknesses in support for children with ASD; fractured relationships with parents and carers; incorrect placement of some children and young people with Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans in specialist settings; a lack of uptake of school staff training to help them meet the needs of children and young people with SEND; and poor quality of the online local offer.
The WSoA, which was produced in conjunction with Warwickshire Parent Carer Voice, has been approved by Ofsted and the CQC.
WCC’s SEND spokeswoman Coun Penny-Anne O’Donnell said: “Since the inspection, senior leaders in Warwickshire County Council and the Clinical Commissioning Group have been working with services and stakeholders to understand the actions we need to take to make improvements. These include working with parents and carers, staff, the SEND and Inclusion Partnership, and schools and settings.
“Progress on all actions within the plan will be regularly reviewed through our WSoA Steering Group, the Department for Education and NHS England.”
Elaine Lambe from Warwickshire Parent Carer Voice, which was involved in the WSoA, said: “We are pleased to have been involved to make sure the voice of parent carers was heard.
“The WSoA is a positive start. Now the hard work needs to continue with all partners working together to make the vision a reality. We look forward to the increased co-production with parent carers across health, education and social care.”
When the Ofsted report was published in September, ‘gravely concerned’ families said it didn’t ‘skim the surface’ of the ‘trauma’ they had experienced.
A spokesperson for the lobby group SEND Crisis Warwickshire said: “The report’s findings are not reflective of the lived experiences of many Warwickshire families.
“We have supported families with suicidal children that still have no support, families whose children have been given inappropriate school placements that don’t meet their needs, and families whose children have been left without appropriate education for years.
“We hope this report will herald an end to WCC’s behind-closed-doors mentality and place the welfare, wellbeing and education of Warwickshire’s vulnerable children, young people and their families at the centre of all they do, by placing those with lived experience at all levels of co-production, including at board level.”
SEND Crisis Warwickshire has been contacted for comment on the WSoA.
Visit https://tinyurl.com/2z85twr9 to read the Written Statement of Action.