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April 2018 - Local Area Inspection

Ofsted local area inspection of SEND

Local area effectiveness in identifying and meeting the needs of children and young people who have special educational needs and/or disabilities.

30th April – 4th May 2018

From May 2016 Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) began the process of inspecting how effectively local areas fulfil their responsibilities towards children and young people aged 0-25 who have special educational needs and disabilities.

From Monday 30th April until the 4th May, five inspectors will undertake the local area SEND inspection across Newcastle. The team will be made up of:

  • Lead HMI Ofsted
  • Ofsted
  • Lead CQC Inspector
  • CQC Inspector
  • Local Authority Inspector

The Inspection will take place across 5 days and will involve visits to early years, school and post 16 settings together with multi agency focus group discussions around specific themes. Inspectors will meet/talk to a wide range of parents/carers and children and young people throughout the process and they will also analyse key performance data.

The inspection team will assess how SEND services are being delivered through the wide range of partners in the local area, including nurseries, schools, further education colleges, and through health and care services.

The focus of the inspection will be all children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities in our area, including those with an Education Health & Care Plans and those at the SEN support level.

We want to continually build upon the excellent progress that has been made since the SEND reforms were first introduced in 2014. This briefing note provides key information in relation to what we expect to see through the inspection and looks at how you can be prepared for it.

The focus of inspection

The inspection will focus on how effectively the local area;


The involvement of children, young people, their families and support groups will be an integral part of the SEND system and this will be explored in the inspection. This will include feedback mechanisms to include child and young person voice not only in decisions about their support, but also in strategic decision making that help to improve services and delivery.

In addition, there will be examination of;

  • The performance of the local area since the implementation of the reforms in September 2014.
  • How well the local area knows itself, including scrutiny of data, monitoring systems, accountability and governance.
  • Current case file audits for children with education, health and care plans and other plans, e.g. personal education plan (PEP) and child protection (CP) plan.
  • The local offer website, showing the full range of services and provision, 0-25, as outlined in the Code of Practice.
  • How local areas commissioning arrangements have developed and how effective they are.
  • The continuum of provision and identified gaps in support.

Key lines of enquiry

Ofsted and CQC inspectors will identify areas for inspection using a range of information available to them about Newcastle. In considering this, they will develop key lines of enquiry to identify the particular aspects to focus upon within the local area. Our current identified key lines of enquiry are;


The process

Local areas receive five days notification of the inspection and the actual inspection will last for five days. The inspection will usually be carried out by a team of three inspectors from CQC/Ofsted and another local authority.

Inspectors will visit;

  • A range of providers including health and social care, early years, primary, secondary and post 16 education providers.
  • A sample of providers, although they will not be inspecting these settings and there will be no observations of teaching and learning.

Any fieldwork will also include discussions with elected members, key local area officers from health, education and social care, and meetings with leaders of early years settings, schools and colleges, and specialist services.

The inspection of health and social care services will focus on their contribution and ability to work collaboratively to meet children and young people’s needs; it will not be an inspection of services.

Again, Inspectors will be keen to look at the full breadth of support available to children and young people with SEND including children and young people who are at SEN support level.

Inspectors will;

  • Speak with a wide range of parents/carers, children and young people using a range of techniques including meetings, webinars, telephone contacts, etc.
  • Focus on provider’s understanding and implementation of strategies to meeting the areas responsibilities for children and young people with SEND.
  • In education settings, speak to senior leaders and governors to check their understanding of the SEND reforms and SEN Code of Practice. They will also discuss, with senior leaders and governors, identification systems and interventions for children and young people with SEND at SEN support and EHCP levels of support.
  • Look at how the local area engages with parents/carers and children and young people to listen to their views and act accordingly.
  • Look very closely at the outcomes for children and young people with SEND and the quality of SEND information reports, SEND support plans and EHCPs.
  • Look at wider outcomes than education, including preparation for adulthood.
  • Look at children and young peoples’ files compare them across health, education and care to ensure a holistic view of need and interventions.
  • Look for evidence of high quality, collaborative working across partner organisations, challenge and management oversight of decisions.
  • Take account of any safeguarding concerns that arise and will take appropriate action if necessary.

Promoting good practice through evidence

The inspectors will expect to see evidence that all partners, parents, carers and young people have a good understanding of the principles underpinning the SEND reforms including the key components of a successful SEND system, including:

  • Accurate and timely identification of special educational needs and disability across partner organisations.
  • Engagement and participation of children, young people and families so that they have greater choice, feel that they are in control and are being listened to and their concerns are resolved swiftly.
  • Effective support, services and provision available to meet the needs of children, young people and their families and that improve outcomes.
  • High quality information and guidance to parents, carers, children and young people promoting choice and control.
  • A person-centred and joined-up approach to identifying and meeting the needs of children and young people.
  • Clearly-defined and understood roles, responsibilities and accountability.
  • Compliance of the local area against the Code of Practice and Key Performance Indicators.
  • Local areas working in partnership with children and young people, and their parents/carers to identify and understand their needs so that outcomes can improve.
  • Early years’ providers, schools and colleges working in partnership with the local authority and social care and health services to identify and meet these needs effectively.
  • Workforce development supported by strong partnership approaches.
  • Education, health and social care services working closely together to jointly commission the support and services their children and young people require, including where these are not located in the same area.
  • Early intervention and timely support which may prevent some children and young people from needing an education, health and care plan at a later stage.
  • Clear and accessible information on the local offer which emphasises the services and support available to children, young people and families.
  • High quality SEN Information reports in education settings
  • Choice and control though Personal Budgets and Direct Payments
  • High aspirations for children and young people with SEND (0-25 years)
  • Strong transition planning into adulthood
  • Use of effective practice, data and wider intelligence and independent assessment to drive improvement.
  • Effective conflict resolution between partners and families.

You can find out more information about the local area SEND inspection at the following webpage:

local area inspection framework and other inspection information 

Last updated: 03/05/2018
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