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Ofsted Inspection of Surrey’s SEND Services Starts

Published on: 14 Sep, 2023
Updated on: 16 Sep, 2023

Parents protesting outside Surrey County Council headquarters in Woodhatch Place, Reigate. Parents are calling for better provision for children with special education needs and disabilities

By Emily Coady-Stemp

local democracy reporter

An inspection into Surrey’s services for children and young people with additional needs and disabilities has started.

Inspectors from Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) began looking at the county council’s education, health and social care services for those aged up to 25 after notifying the authority on Monday (September 11).

They are asking for those with experience of the service, including parents and carers, young people and practitioners to get in contact with their views as part of the inspection.

The inspection will last three weeks, and according to the Surrey education services website will involve visits to settings across the county, tracking children and young people’s cases and focus group activity.

A previous inspection into SEND services in 2016, and a revisit in 2019, identified “significant areas of weakness” in which sufficient progress had not been made at the follow-up visit.

A 2022 inspection into children’s services at the county council rated its overall effectiveness as “requires improvement to be good”.

At the time of the 2022 report being released, the council’s cabinet member for children’s services, said the authority “would not stand still” as it continued to improve services after inadequate ratings in 2015 and 2018.

A letter to families from the inspector called for them to share their views as part of the inspection.

It read: “Your views are important to us and will help inspectors understand your child’s experience of the SEND arrangements within your area.”

The survey is open to families until 9am on Tuesday, September 19.

Inspectors will look at how effective commissioning and delivery of services is across the county, and will include children and young people with an education, health and care plan and those on SEN support.

Government guidelines show these inspections, known as “local area SEND inspections”, are done by inspectors who specialise in education, health and social care, with the CQC and Ofsted working together as one inspection team.

According to Family Voice Surrey, which offers advice to parents of children with additional needs in the county, the first week of the inspection will focus on sharing information and the survey of those affected, as well as inspectors choosing individual children and young people to be part of the inspection process.

The second week will include virtual meetings with leaders, staff and some families and in week three inspector will visit sites in planned meetings, and at the end will give their initial findings to the local area partnership.

The inspection is due to finish on September 29.

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