Right services at right time for Warrington children

SEND, child Published: Monday, 18th February 2019

Warrington is making good progress in supporting children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

Ofsted have released a new report, following an inspection, last December, of Warrington’s arrangements for young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

The joint Ofsted and Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspection team were on site for a week and evaluated progress made in Warrington since the launch of reforms made, in 2014, to extend support from birth to the age of 25 years.

Inspectors highlighted the praise that children and young people had for schools for “adapting to their needs”, and also found that “parents and carers were glowing about the support offered by special, mainstream, maintained and independent schools.”

The inspection report was followed up by a letter from Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Children and Families, Nadhim Zahawi, who said he was “pleased to read about the many positive findings for Warrington, including the strong leadership in the area, effective joint working and commissioning arrangements, and the very high levels of satisfaction expressed by children, young people and families with the services available to them.”

Further areas of good progress highlighted included:

  • Warrington’s new SEND strategy, which seeks to ensure that ‘the right services get to the right children at the right time’.
  • Effective, close working between education, health and care services.
  • The increasing influence of families in the design and implementation of plans and services, with the work of the Warrington Parents and Carers Group particularly valued.
  • The early identification of children’s needs well before they start school, leading to the provision of appropriate and effective support through a coordinated multi-agency approach.
  • The establishment effective systems to build the skills and expertise of school staff.

Warrington Borough Council’s executive board member for children’s services, Cllr Jean Carter, said: “This is great news, and shows that the huge amount of hard work we are doing to meet the needs of children and young people with SEND is having a really positive impact.

“I’m proud of the findings of the inspection, which are testament to the commitment of our team to support young people and their families, and ensure they get the right services, at the right time.

“Equally, the praise we’ve received from Ofsted and the CQC, as well as the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, shows that we have adapted well to change and that our plans embrace the spirit of the SEND reforms. I’m confident that we are in a strong position to continue improving the quality and effectiveness of our services further in the future.”

As part of their inspection, Ofsted and CQC officials looked at the experiences of children and young people in schools and spoke to them, along with parents and carers, about what they thought of the help they receive.

They also met with professionals, including council officers, school staff and health professionals from speech and language, school nursing and mental health services.

Jean Fitzpatrick, Chair of Warrington Parents & Carers Group, said: “We had a very high level of involvement in the inspection.  We felt it was important that parents, carers, children and young people were represented, listened to and all their feedback taken into consideration.

“We will continue to bring the ‘Voice” of Warrington’s families to the strategic table, working alongside the professionals to address the areas for development highlighted in the report.”

Warrington partners will be discussing the findings of the report and the next steps at the 2019 Working Together Conference on Friday 29 March 2019. To get involved, please contact Warrington Parents and Carers Forum at warringtonparentsandcarers.org