A government watchdog has approved plans made by North Somerset Council and Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (BNSSG CCG) to improve services for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) in North Somerset.
Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) carried out a joint review of services for children and young people with SEND in North Somerset in May this year.
The review recognised much positive work and strengths identified by inspectors, and highlighted areas for development.
As part of the review process, North Somerset Council and BNSSG CCG produced a written statement of action which they submitted to Ofsted, outlining how they will address issues raised by the review:
- Improve ways of working together with parents, carers and young people
- Improvements to the process of obtaining an Education Health and Care Plan
- Appointment of key posts in local health teams to support children with SEND
- Improvements in how we work together to secure the right services at the right time for children with SEND
- Closer working with schools to improve outcomes for children with SEND and to reduce exclusions
Sheila Smith, Director for People and Communities, at North Somerset Council, said: “Our written statement has been developed in partnership with local health services, schools and most importantly the parents and carers of children and young people with SEND.
“It’s an ambitious plan for the next year and some of the work is already being carried out – we haven’t waited to start working on the priority areas.
“Inspectors recognised the challenge we face in providing the best possible services within very difficult financial constraints, and they found some significant positives in how we are approaching this.
“We have especially valued the efforts of local parents, carers and schools in contributing to the plan over the busy summer period, and we will continue to work closely with them throughout the process of putting our plans into action.
“Our shared challenge now is to provide simpler ways to access the right services at the right time, which support children with SEND to achieve their aspirations.”
Deborah El-Sayed, Director of Transformation for Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “We’re really pleased to confirm our commitment to improving outcomes following the Written Statement of Action for North Somerset and we would like to thank all the young people and families who have helped to develop this. Producing the statement has helped us to understand our strengths but, more significantly, areas for improvement and will provide us with an effective blueprint to develop and improve SEND services in our area.
“As part of these plans, we have already appointed a Designated Clinical Officer for North Somerset. This role will provide us with the strategic oversight and operational capability to develop services which meet the needs of local children and young people.
“We are also working in partnership with local authority colleagues and making a commitment to develop clear, transparent and robust arrangements for joint commissioning. This includes developing the Local Offer for North Somerset to provide young people, parents and professionals with a single source of accessible information.
“We look forward to working closely with the Council and community health providers to implement these plans and provide children and young people with the right education to achieve their future goals and aspirations.”
The written statement of action is available at www.n-somerset.gov.uk/writtenstatementofaction.