Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) have published a glowing report into Calderdale’s Special Educational Needs and Disabilities’ (SEND) services.
Inspectors visited Calderdale in March this year and spoke with children and young people with SEND, parents and carers, the Council, NHS officers and a number of partners. They also visited a range of providers across the borough and spoke to leaders, staff and governors.
The findings of the inspection have now been published, and the report picks out many positives and notes that overall strong progress is being made.
The report includes praise for local leaders, stating that they know the needs of children and young people very well. Education, health and care professionals work together to ensure that children and young people with the most complex needs are quickly identified. This leads to tailored packages of care and support and, for some families, an ongoing relationship with health, care and education services into adulthood.
It also states that parents and carers typically have a positive experience of co-production (a way of working where children and young people, families and those that provide services work together to make a decision or create a service which works for them all). Almost all have been involved in developing plans and provision for their children. Many parents told inspectors that professionals and services have ‘gone the extra mile’ to provide the help and support their children need.
The report does still outline areas for improvement, particularly the waiting times for autism spectrum disorder and wheelchair assessments, but recognises that waiting times for these areas have recently reduced. Across Calderdale, partners will continue to work together along with parents, children and young people to further improve outcomes.
Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Young People’s Services, Cllr Adam Wilkinson, said:
“We want to make sure that children and young people are able to achieve their potential, regardless of their circumstances. I’m delighted with the findings of this report, which acknowledges the hard work that our teams and service providers have put in to ensure that our services for young people with special needs and/or disabilities are effective.
“We also know that there are still improvements to be made and we will continue to strive for excellence to ensure the very best for all our children and young people.”
Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Adults’ Services and Wellbeing, Cllr Bob Metcalfe, said:
“I’m really pleased with the findings of this report, particularly the reference to our provision for those with special needs and disabilities as they make the transition to adulthood.
“The report notes that more young people with SEND leave school and college in Calderdale with qualifications in English and Maths than in other local areas. An increasing number of young people also have opportunities to live as independently as possible, thanks to our supported living arrangements.
“We will continue to do everything we can to make good progress to help young people achieve their aspirations, contributing to our ambition to be the best borough in the North.”
NHS Calderdale Clinical Commissioning Group’s Chief Quality and Nursing Officer, Penny Woodhead, said:
“I’m pleased with the findings from our recent inspection, Ofsted and the CQC highlight that we understand the needs of the young people who use the service and that they are supported to fulfil their potential.
“Our job now is to make sure we address the areas for improvement so that the children and young people continue to feel supported by the health and care system into adulthood. We will carry on listening to what they want and engaging them in service design so that we can continue to help them thrive.”
The report also comments on how young people with SEND have a strong voice in shaping provision and services and that arrangements for impartial information and advice to parents is also strong. The report highlights the positive contribution of Unique Ways and Family Voice Calderdale, which are parent-carer led organisations, offering support, guidance and a range of services to families with disabled children.
Unique Ways and Family Voice Calderdale said of the report:
“Our organisations are extremely proud to be part of improving the lived experience of families with disabled children and young people in Calderdale. We acknowledge there is more to be done, but what we have achieved so far is testament to the trust developed between partners, literally having a seat at the table – being part of conversations and co-production in action.”
To read the full report, visit https://reports.ofsted.gov.uk/provider/44/80444(external link). For more information about the support offered for children and young people with special needs, visit www.calderdale.gov.uk and search for SEND.
Having strong services for children and young people supports the Vision2024 for Calderdale. In the year 2024, Calderdale will celebrate its 50th birthday. Where do we want to be by 2024? How will the Calderdale of 2024 be different from the place it is now? What ambitions do we share? Join the conversation by following #VisionCdale2024 on social media and visit www.calderdale.gov.uk/v2/council/vision-2024.