Plans to improve Wolverhampton's special education services after 'systematic failings' found

Education chiefs in Wolverhampton have developed a detailed action plan after a review of its special educational needs (SEND) services highlighted “systematic failings” in standards.

Wolverhampton Council
Wolverhampton Council

Between September 20 and 24 last year, Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) carried out an inspection of SEND services for young people in the city to judge their effectiveness.

The review involved speaking with children and young people with SEND, parents and carers, and local authority and NHS officers.

Inspectors also visited a range of providers and spoke to leaders, staff and governors about how they were implementing the SEND reforms.

They concluded a Written Statement of Action (WSOA) was required because of “long-standing and embedded weaknesses” in the area’s practice, leading to “a great deal of upset”.

Cabinet bosses are now set to review the completed statement before giving final approval. The WSOA is required to be submitted to Ofsted by February 16.

In a report to cabinet, the council’s Deputy Director of Education Brenda Wile said: “The WSOA outlines how it will tackle the following areas of significant weakness:

  • identifying when difficulties emerge for those at primary and secondary school ages,

  • the lack of accuracy in Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans and the delays in assessment, writing and review of those plans

  • the under-developed arrangements for jointly commissioning and providing the services that children and young people with SEND and their families need

  • weaknesses in implementing strategically planned co-production at every level when evaluating provision

  • weaknesses in the planning and support of transitions both within statutory school age and from statutory school age to post-19 and post-25, in how the area shares information, including regard to support systems

“It should also be noted that the inspection reported a significant number of strengths in the local area’s provision of SEND services, including how well the local area leaders were able to accurately self-evaluate these services and know what needs to be done to ensure timely improvements,” added the report.

Both the local authority and the area’s clinical commissioning group (CCG) are jointly responsible for submitting the WSOA to Ofsted.

Councillor Dr Michael Hardacre, cabinet member for education and skills, said: “Inspectors agreed with us as to the areas where performance is strong, with very positive feedback about the support and provision which is available in Early Years and the effectiveness of collaborative working between the council and partners such as health and outreach services.

“Giving children and young people the best possible start in life is a top priority for the council and our partners, and that is especially true for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities.

“We believe the robust WSOA will put partners in a good place from which to drive forward the necessary improvements.”

Sally Roberts, chief nurse for the Black Country and West Birmingham Clinical Commissioning Group, added: “Improvements are happening as our services restore and we will be working with partners to take steps to ensure we are able to offer better support for children and families with their health and educational needs moving forwards.”

The council’s cabinet will review the action plan next Wednesday before granting approval.

Sorry, we are not accepting comments on this article.

Top Stories

More from the Express & Star

UK & International News