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SEND inspection report on West Sussex Local Area Partnership published

Health and social care leaders in West Sussex have welcomed the findings of an inspection into services for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

The report, published by Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission (CQC), gives West Sussex Local Area Partnership the middle rating for delivery, planning and commissioning of services.

The responsibility for planning and delivering services for children and young people with SEND is with West Sussex County Council and NHS Sussex.

Strengths identified in the report include:

  • There is effective support for children accessing support from children’s social care
  • There are positive examples of identifying need and provision early through the early help offer
  • Good practice was seen in Early Years settings, Special Schools and Further Education provision
  • Children and young people receiving support through a specialist service encounter skilled professionals and have their needs accurately identified, assessed and reviewed
  • The proactive work the West Sussex Parent Carer Forum undertake in representing families of children and young people with SEND

Areas for improvement in the report include:

  • Leaders should identify and address ‘waiting well’ arrangements for health services including speech and language provision, neurodevelopmental pathways and CAMHS
  • The drive to improve the timeliness and consistency of education, health and care plans needs to be accelerated
  • Leaders need to ensure sufficient suitable specialist school places and alternative provision
  • Leaders should strengthen their approach to preparing young people with SEND for adulthood
  • Some children and young people with SEND have experiences which are inconsistent

Councillor Jacquie Russell, West Sussex County Council Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, Learning and Skills, said: “I welcome Ofsted’s report as an opportunity for us to review and reflect on the services we provide to children and young people with SEND and their families. Helping them to achieve their potential is a priority for West Sussex County Council and I’d like to thank Ofsted and the CQC for the insight on how we can do better for them.

“It is clear that we have more work to do with our partners to provide the best services for children and young people with SEND in West Sussex. Our detailed SEND improvement plan is now being implemented at pace to make the necessary improvements.”

Dr Dinesh Sinha, Chief Medical Officer at NHS Sussex said: “We are committed to ensuring that all young people receive the right help and support they need to lead successful lives and welcome the report’s findings.

“We recognise that there are challenges in relation to waiting times for some health services, especially after increased demand over recent years. We are working with health and care partners across Sussex to improve our support offer to improve timeliness and support while families are waiting for a service.

“We will continue to work with all our partners, including children, young people and their families, to further develop arrangements to ensure that health services meet children and young people’s special educational needs now and in the future.”

Rowan Westwood, CEO for West Sussex Parent Carer Forum, added: “West Sussex Parent Carer Forum are so pleased that Ofsted recognised our tireless work to represent the views and needs of SEND families in West Sussex; our aim is to continue to build and strengthen our involvement in joint strategic and partnership planning to produce authentic co-production and better outcomes for our children and young people in West Sussex. We look forward to continuing our work with West Sussex County Council, NHS Sussex and other local partners.”

Click here to read the Ofsted report in full.

For more on SEND click here. 

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