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Special educational needs & disabilities Ofsted report highlights strengths of West Berks partnership

Staff from West Berkshire Council and Berkshire West CCG celebrate the report and the great partnership working with service users and their families

In May, Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) carried out an inspection of services for children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) in West Berkshire. Published last week, the report is an encouraging reflection of the local services. In particular, it highlights excellent partnership-working between the CCG, West Berkshire Council, voluntary partners, schools and families.

Inspectors spoke with children and young people with SEND, parents and carers, local authority, voluntary sector and NHS staff. They also visited a range of providers and spoke to the leaders, staff and governors about how they are implementing the special educational needs reforms.

Inspectors found that parents were positive about the support that their children receive and much of this was attributed to the strong leadership of SEND in the area. Many parents felt that professionals went out of their way to offer help.

The report highlights the CCG’s role:

  • ‘The needs of children and young people who have SEN and/or disabilities is high on the agenda for leaders. Their shared high aspirations result in close collaboration. A good example of this is the way that the four clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), who recently merged into one service, work closely with each other and the local authority to deliver their services. This can be seen in the very effective work to create the Emotional Health Academy.’

  • ‘Leaders across health, care and education have an accurate understanding of the strengths and weakness in the local area. They successfully use this information to plan for the future and tackle weaker aspects of provision. The four CCGs have worked well with partners to undertake an annual diagnostic self-evaluation. The resulting comprehensive action plan guides improvement and benchmarks activity against the Code of Practice.’

  • 'Leaders’ active commitment to continuous improvement is further strengthening services.'

Sally Murray, Head of Children’s Commissioning, Berkshire West CCG said:

‘I am delighted with Ofsted’s findings which recognise the hard work, ambition and commitment of the CCG and our partners in health, the local authority, voluntary sector and schools in West Berkshire. Our strong partnership approach aims to provide the best possible support for families, children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities.

Working together with a partnership approach means we can also do things like create and deliver training packages for a wide range of professionals and work together to support children or young people with more complex needs.

We know that emotional wellbeing in children and young people can quickly take a downward spiral without the right help at the right time. To address this we jointly commissioned the Emotional Health Academy which provides support as early as possible, and to help stop their problems from escalating.

Our ethos is to continually develop so we’re currently reviewing the care pathway for children with autism to reduce waiting times for support, continuing to deliver training, improving health data and making referral processes more straightforward.’

The report is available in full here.

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