Peterborough council needs to make more progress in helping young adults with special educational needs, Ofsted say

Peterborough City Council has made improvements helping those with special needs in the city - but more progress needs to be made helping young adults with additional needs, Ofted have said.

By Stephen Briggs
Thursday, 24th March 2022, 11:55 am
Updated Thursday, 24th March 2022, 12:48 pm
Ofsted carried out the inspection following a similar visit in 2019
Ofsted carried out the inspection following a similar visit in 2019

A report into the special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) provision has been published by Ofsted, after a previous inspection in 2019 had highlighted five areas of significant weakness, with Peterborough City Council and the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group required to produce a written statement to outline how they would address these issues.

The latest report says that in four of the five area highlighted, sufficient progress has been made - but in one area, more work needs to be done.

At the initial inspection, inspectors found the provision for young people aged 18 to 25 is not sufficiently developed to make sure that young adults have the full range of opportunities and support that they need as they move through into adulthood.

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Following their latest inspection in January, they said: “The parents of children and young people with SEND aged 18 to 25 who engaged with the revisit were almost unanimous in feeling that their young person is not supported to engage successfully in education, employment or training or prepare for adulthood. FVP’s parental surveys, which are shared with area leaders, also show that negative views about how well the area supports young people with SEND to prepare for adulthood persist.

“The area (council) has not made sufficient progress to improve this area of weakness.”

However, there was support for other areas of the SEND provision in the city.

The four areas of weaknesses, identified at the previous visit and which have now been addressed, were: Joint planning, including commissioning, and intervention were not sufficiently well established to make sure that all agencies and services play an active role in meeting the requirements of 2014 disability and special educational needs reforms.

There was no quality assurance framework for the local area’s work for children and young people with SEND. Intended outcomes for children and young adults were not targeted, measured or evaluated well enough to inform leaders about the impact of the work to implement the reforms effectively.

The current arrangements for the DCO (Designated Clinical Officer) in relation to the implementation of the reforms did not allow the postholder to fulfil the obligations of the role sufficiently.

Early support was well embedded for children in early years but did not follow through in all areas of the lives of children and young people as they get older. It took too long for children, young adults and families to get the support they needed.

Cllr Lynne Ayres, Peterborough City Council’s Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, Education, Skills and the University, said: “The findings of this revisit show considerable progress has been made in making sure we deliver the best services for children and young people with SEND, which is a testament to the efforts made by our staff and colleagues in education and health settings.

“We recognise, though, that more needs to be done and we will make sure we continue to carry on this progress alongside our partners.”

Carol Anderson, Chief Nurse at Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group, added: “We’re very pleased that Ofsted and the CQC have recognised the significant improvements we have made together to services for children and young people with SEND.

“I want to pay tribute to the wonderful teams who have worked day in day out to strengthen these services, with positive real-term changes for our local SEND communities as a result.

“We acknowledge that there is still more work to be done, and we look forward to continuing to collaborate closely with our colleagues at the Local Authorities to make the additional improvements needed.”

The report is available to read at https://reports.ofsted.gov.uk/provider/44/80537