Local area SEND inspections: one year on
October 2017, No. 170041 6
Some of the main findings are below
- Children and young people identified as needing SEND support had not benefited from the implementation of the Code of Practice well enough. These children and young people had a much poorer experience of the education system than their peers. Too often, local area leaders were not clear how their actions were improving outcomes for those children and young people identified as needing SEND support.
- Children and young people who have SEND were found to be excluded, absent or missing from school much more frequently than other pupils nationally. Even in some local areas that had implemented the Code of Practice well, leaders did not have appropriate plans to deal with the levels of exclusion for these pupils.
- School leaders had used unofficial exclusions too readily to cope with children and young people who have SEND. Across nearly all local areas inspected, an alarming number of parents said that some school leaders asked them to take their children home. This was in addition, or as an alternative, to fixed-term exclusions. It is illegal.
- Access to therapy services was a weakness in half of the local areas inspected. Typically, therapy services were of high quality. However, too many children and young people who have SEND experienced long waiting times as well as limited contact with the therapists that they needed.
- Access to child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) was poor in over a third of local areas. Many parents reported that the threshold to access CAMHS services was too high or waiting times too long. Consequently, too many children and young people identified as having social, emotional or mental health (SEMH) needs did not get the right support until they were in crisis.
- There had not been enough progress in implementing a coordinated 0–25 service for children and young people who have SEND. In particular, the commissioning of health services for up to 25 was inconsistent. For example, in some local areas, therapy and school nursing services had only been
commissioned for up to 19. In other local areas, there was a lack of coordinated planning as young people moved into adult services. Consequently, too many young people who have SEND did not get the support and resources they were entitled to once they reached the age of 19.
The full report and all findings can be read in the attached report