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Ofsted and CQC Local Area SEND Inspections

Who is this information for? 

If you work in education, health or social care and or work with families, children and young people aged 0 - 25 with special educational needs and or disabilities (SEND) then these inspection will involve you. 

For those working in relevant SEND services in Hackney specific workshops and information sessions on the joint local area SEND inspections and implementing the SEND reforms are held. 


Hackney's Joint Local Area SEND Inspection took place from the 27th November - 1st December 2017.

You can read the full inspection report here: Hackney's joint local area SEND inspection report - 2017


If you have any questions or queries about the inspection please send them to: SENDi@learningtrust.co.uk


What is being inspected?

The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Children and Families has asked Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to carry out inspections to look at how effective each local area has been in fulfilling it’s new duties relating to the Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) reforms.

Inspections should be thought of as further development opportunities and reassure families that their local area, and it's SEND partners, are putting into action the measures required by the reforms.

Inspections will:

  • show how local systems are performing,
  • hold partners to account
  • support self-improvement

Inspections will consider how well provision meets the needs of those who are disabled and have special educational needs.

Having good outcomes for children and young people with SEND is central to the Department for Education’s (DfE) ambition of a highly educated society with equal opportunity for all children and young people, no matter what their background or family circumstances.

These inspection are joint SEND specific inspections. They will include health partners, relevant community and voluntary services and relevant parent carer forums.

Ofsted and CQC ven diagram


If required, inspections will also provide evidence and a finding that a local area may need relevant external attention, support and intervention.


When will the inspections take place?

Inspections could take place at any time. Local authorities will be given a five day notice period during which time they are advised to arrange groups of relevant people who can meet with inspectors and be a part of the inspection. These should include families of and young people with SEND.

Evidence should also be collated during this time for inspectors but services should be aware that they could be asked for additional information and that inspectors have appropriate permissions to view anything they ask for.

All local areas will be inspected within five years and the focus will be on:

  • effective identification of need
  • effectiveness in meeting those needs
  • local arrangements to achieve better identification leading to improved outcomes

One of Her Majesties Ofsted Inspector explains more about the inspection process.


Who are the inspectors and who will they want to meet with?

The team will be made up of three inspectors: 

  • Ofsted HMI
  • CQC inspector  
  • a trained local authority inspector

They will review the areas Local Offer, available national data including within-area inspection outcomes from CQC and Ofsted, and the local areas own self-assessment and evaluation of it’s SEND provision.

The views of parents, carers, children and young people will be important to the inspectors’ judgements and final report.

Inspectors will visit and discuss the areas SEND processes and experiences with a wide range of people including:

  • elected members
  • key local area officers from health, education and social care; and
  • education and health providers, including
  • leaders of early years settings, schools and colleges and further education/skills provision

Reports are published following all inspections and the findings of the local area inspection will contribute to other CQC and Ofsted inspection activity.


Local area SEND Inspection outcome letters

You see the outcome letters from inspections of local area services for children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities.

Until the  22nd  March 2017 inspection outcome letters were published on GOV.UK.

See here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/local-area-send-inspection-outcome-letters

From the 23rd march outcome letter will be published on the Ofsted Report website.

See here: https://reports.ofsted.gov.uk/resources/local-authority-school-improvement-arrangements-inspections-and-focused-school-inspections


How will local areas show inspectors they are making progress?

The intention of the SEND Local Area Inspections is to ensure that the combination of each local authorities:

  • accountability measures
  • data and analysis
  • independent inspection

…accurately reflects how SEND systems are working and that they are helping to improve services support and outcomes for children and young people with SEND. 

Preparation for the inspections should form a part of helping local areas identify which parts of their SEND systems are working well and which need more attention.


What can you do now to ensure you play your part in preparing for the inspections?

Before they arrive inspectors will spend time going through each authorities Local Offer website to help them understand the provision offered to families and ensure that these processes are clearly described and understood by everyone.

Services are advised to check that what they offer is accurately described and linked to in appropriate articles on Hackney’s Local Offer website.

If they are not or you require amendments please contact us using the button at the top of this page and we will help make these for you.   

Inspections will look at how successful each SEND service is at carrying out the following activities:

  • Effectively using data and intelligence to measure progress and success.
  • Working with other local areas to identify issues or trends and learning from each other.
  • Using joined-up, person-centred approaches to identify and meet the needs of children, young people and their families.
  • Having a process of meaningful engagement and participation with young people and families so that they have greater choice, feel they have control, are being listened to and any concerns are resolved quickly.
  • Share a clear understanding of what support, services and provision are available and how to raise concerns and resolve issues effectively.
  • Making use of effective practice.
  • Sharing a clear understanding of roles, responsibilities and accountability.
  • Collecting feedback from children, young people and their families and using this to improve services and delivery.
  • Working together to provide the structure for improving outcomes and experiences for children, young people and their families. 

Useful documents:

Parents SEND reforms guide

Special Needs Jungle – Parent’s Guide to the Ofsted and CQC SEND Inspections

SEND Supporting Local and National Accountability

Ofsted and the CQC Local Area SEND Inspection - Framework

Ofsted and the CQC Local Area SEND – Guidance for Inspectors - Handbook

Children and Families Act - part 3

SEND Code of Practice 2015

Social Care Guide / Code of practice SEND 0-25 guide

Health Professionals Guide / SEND Code of Practice 0-25

SEND - Early Years Guide

Schools (and Alternative Provision) guide to SEND Code of Practice 0-25

SEND - Guide for further education providers

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