Ofsted and CQC inspection

Between 28 January and 1 February 2019, Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) jointly carried out an inspection of our effectiveness in identifying and meeting the needs of, and improving outcomes for, children and young people who have special educational needs and/or disabilities.

Under the Children and Families Act 2014, the government placed new duties on the local health, social and education services that provide for children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities.

The inspection evaluated how effectively we:

  • identified the needs of children and young people who have special educational needs and/or disabilities;
  • met the needs of these children and young people so that their outcomes and chances of participating fully in society improve.

The views of children and young people who have special educational needs and/or disabilities, and the views of their parents and carers were gathered during visits to a number of early years settings, schools, colleges and specialist services. These views were critical to the inspection process. During the inspection, Ofsted and CQC inspectors spoke to as many children and young people and their parents and carers as possible. Only a small number of provisions were visited by the inspectors. For those provisions identified for a visit, parents were contacted directly with further information.

The inspection

During the inspection, the inspectors collected information about children and young people in the area. They looked at local area records, spoke to area officers and leaders at educational settings, and spoke to children, young people and parents or carers. No names were recorded, but some of the information collected may be capable of identifying a particular child, young person or adult. Ofsted and CQC used this information to prepare their report, and for the purposes set out in their privacy notices. No information will be published that identifies any individual in the inspection report.

More information is available in the Ofsted privacy notice and the CQC privacy notice.

Ofsted’s Data Protection Officer is the Director of Digital and Information who may be contacted at informationrequest@ofsted.gov.uk. CQC’s Data Protection Officer is the Head of Governance and Legal Services who may be contacted at information.access@cqc.org.uk.

While we understand that many parents and carers may have views on their experience that extend before the introduction of the reforms in September 2014, it is important that this date is used as the start for gathering evidence about the impact of the reforms. We would also like parents and carers to understand that we will not be able to follow up or comment upon individual cases. The inspection team will consider all communication from parents as part of the evidence when evaluating the effectiveness of the local area.

Information on our duties toward children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities can be found on the Department for Education’s website.

Read the letter from Ofsted and the CQC regarding the inspection.

Next steps

In a joint statement, Roger Gough, KCC’s Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Education, and Glenn Douglas, accountable officer for the eight Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in Kent and Medway, said: “We are sorry the relationship between our organisations and parents and carers has broken down, that some families have lost trust in SEND provision within Kent, and that their experience of our services has often not been as good as it should have been.

“The national picture is similar to that in Kent with the majority of local areas inspected since the 2014 reforms being required to produce, as we are, a written statement of action (WSoA). But even though there has been an enormous increase in demand for assessments and resources across the country, there are things we must do, and are doing, to improve the situation in Kent.

“Parent/carer forums, additional staff members, and the formation of the SEND Improvement Board are just a few examples of the actions that have already been taken.

“These are the first steps in a long process – there is a lot work to be done and a lot of trust to be rebuilt. But as local leaders, not only do we have a duty to put right those things which are in our control, but we want to put them right. We owe it to the children and young people with SEND in Kent, and their families, to provide the service they deserve, and we will continue to work tirelessly, with parents and our partners, until we achieve that.”

Find out more about the action we're taking in the full media release on our Media Hub.

The inspection

The results of the inspection were published on 29 March 2019 on the Ofsted website.