Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) give glowing report on city’s SEND services

Strong leadership and co-production praised in the inspection of support for children and young people with special education needs and disabilities (SEND) in city.

Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) recently reviewed Special Education and Disability (SEND) services across the city to look at how well the needs of children & young people with SEND are met. They reported that: “strong leadership in the local area is leading to the successful implementation of SEND reforms; with leaders’ well-constructed plans for further improvement successfully encouraging a collaborative approach.” Inspectors said that “leaders ensure that young children have access to the support they need to get a good start in life, with one leader commenting that – ‘in Portsmouth, we work together to make things happen’.”

Co-production was also highlighted in the inspection report as being “developed well in the local area: The ‘shaping better futures together’ co-production group [of parents and carers] is well organised and has a secure understanding of what it wants to achieve.” Ofsted commented that “co-production with young people is successfully promoted through the young person’s ‘Dynamite’ group which is helping to develop valuable skills in its young members, who are improving outcomes for themselves and others.”

The inspection looked at partnership working and said that “collaboration with health services and joint commissioning in Portsmouth is effective and close working between hospital and community physiotherapists is leading to a co-ordinated and consistent approach to care”.

Inspectors commented that: “Children and young people with SEND have speedy access to the help and support they need without having to wait for a formal diagnosis. There is a well understood strategy to become a ‘needs led city’. Professionals across education, health and care work well in a joined-up way and education health and care (EHC) plans are competed in a timely manner” – with 99.5% completed on time.

Mental health provision for children and young people was also praised: “Children and young people receive helpful support in school for their emotional well-being. CAMHS work flexibily to offer training supervision and consultation to professionals across health and social care and the CAHMS drop-in clinic is popular and well-used. Those who need additional support have access to mental health services and most children and young people receive effective SEND support in school.”

The inspection team commented on SEND provision in schools and said that “children and young people with SEND are starting to attend school more regularly. Absence and persistent absence rates for children receiving SEND support are reducing over time. Overall educational outcomes for children and young people receiving SEND support and those with EHC plans are improving and school leaders value the work of the Portsmouth Education Partnership.

Parents told inspectors that ‘the annual review is the highlight of the year’ and that parents value the positive celebration of children’s achievements and the involvement of children and young people in the SEND review process.

When it comes to leaving school inspectors found that young people with EHC plans have a “positive transition from school to college”. Young people attending mainstream and specialist education settings told inspectors that they are confident that the right help will continue to be available to them as they move on to college; and day care opportunities in adult services are person centred and focus on building personal skills.”

Cllr Suzy Horton, Cabinet Member for Education at Portsmouth City Council said:

“I’m glad that inspectors have praised so highly our SEND offer; especially the strength of our partnership working with health services, parents and the young people themselves – which puts their needs at the forefront of the services we are shaping.

“We welcome the areas that have been identified for further development. We’re working on the things we’d like to be doing better at, and have incorporated these into our SEND strategy.

“We’re delighted with the strong, positive feedback from Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission of the city’s SEND services.”

Natalie Abraham, Portsmouth Parent Voice manager said:

“We represent parents in the city; we are also parents of children and young people with SEN and Disabilities and therefore know what it’s like to be on the receiving end of SEND services and PPV tell it like it is! The views of parent carers are listened to, valued and responded to in Portsmouth. It’s an ever-evolving partnership with health, education and social care to create and deliver better services for the children and young people who need it.”

Carly Blake (young person representative) Dynamite said:

“It’s good that young people in Portsmouth get their voices heard, and that local authorities listen to our thoughts and opinions about different services used by people with special needs and disabilities.”

Linda Collie, the GP clinical lead for NHS Portsmouth Clinical Commissioning Group said:

“I very much welcome what is, in general, an extremely positive report which highlights the closely-co-ordinated efforts all those involved have made to provide the very best services we can for children and young people in the city, including those young people who themselves are helping to shape the services.

“A number of health schemes have been highlighted as ‘strengths’ in the report, such as the mental health nurse initiative as part of the NHS 111 service and the health-related absence project in schools. But there are one or two areas we need to work on to improve the NHS performance – such as achieving more consistency among our GP practices with regard to annual health checks for young people with learning disabilities and the transition arrangements between paediatric and adult health services.”

Neil Smith of Solent NHS Trust and Designated Clinical Officer for Portsmouth SEND said:

“It’s really pleasing that the feedback from the inspection was so positive. I feel it deservedly reflects the hard work and dedication that takes place across Portsmouth city on a daily basis.

“Strong leadership and coproduction genuinely includes children and their families by putting them at the heart of everything we do. I’m extremely proud to be part of it all.”

For more information about SEND provision in the city and the read the full report, please visit: www.portsmouthlocaloffer.org