Quality of care for children & young people with SEND in Reading improving
28 July 2021
Brighter Futures For Children, Berkshire West CCG & RBC Press Release
The quality of care and support for children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) in Reading is improving, with leaders across the area working well together.
This is the inspectors’ view following a recent joint Ofsted and Care Quality Commission (CQC) local area SEND inspection in Reading.
The inspectors recognised that leaders have acted swiftly to address issues which affect children and young people with SEND in Reading and have a clear view of how they will continue to improve services.
The joint inspection took place between 21-25 June and involved health services and schools in the borough, Brighter Futures for Children and Reading Borough Council. Inspectors also spoke to children and young people with SEND and their parents and carers.
The report from Ofsted and CQC, published today, does not give an overall ‘judgment’ but details the positive findings of the inspection.
The main findings say the quality of care for children and young people with SEND in Reading is improving and recent actions taken show the determination of leaders to make Reading a good place to be for children and young people with SEND.
Leaders also recognise the concerns of parents and have plans under way to address the issues that worry parents most, such as the availability of specialist school places.
Inspectors recognised that many professionals work well together and there is better – and earlier – identification of children with SEND. They said co-production and joint working is well established in Reading and there are many examples of how this is helping to identify children’s needs in a timely way.
Schools and early years settings are well supported by both education and health services, says the report, and a number of schools have collaborated to make sure the curriculum supports all pupils to learn, including those with SEND.
Looking at the effectiveness of the local area in meeting the needs of children and young people with SEND, inspectors said: “Improvements to services are planned and delivered in genuine partnership, with parents and young people included as standard.”
The Family Information Service and Reading SEND Local Offer were recognised for providing good information for parents and carers of children and young people with SEND and there is widespread awareness among families of where to go to find information and advice.
The report says the local area is improving outcomes for children and young people with SEND. This includes a reduction in the number of pupils being excluded from schools, which has improved by the adoption of a therapeutic thinking approach now being delivered in most schools.
Outcomes for pupils with Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCP) are in line with, or above, the national average by the time they leave primary school. In secondary schools, pupils with SEND in Reading attain better results than their peers nationally.
Inspectors highlighted some areas for development but did not issue a written statement of actions, which is a strong indication of the level of improvement in the Reading area.
Deborah Glassbrook, Executive Director of Children’s Services in Reading, said: “I am delighted inspectors expressed confidence in the leadership in Reading and recognised the willingness to continue to improve services for children and young people with SEND.
“The report gives a clear demonstration of how our different services and organisations are working well together to deliver the best possible outcomes for children and young people in Reading. “
Niki Cartwright, Interim Director of Joint Commissioning for NHS Berkshire West Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “We know we still have much to do but we are aware of the issues and what needs to be addressed and plans to action these will be in our forthcoming and revised joint SEND Strategy.”
Cllr Jason Brock, Leader of Reading Borough Council, said: “I would like to thank everybody who was involved in the joint local area inspection and in particular our staff, everyone at Brighter Futures for Children and our partners in the NHS and Berkshire West Clinical Commissioning Group for their input and support.
“I’d like to extend all our thanks to the leaders and staff of all the organisations involved in the delivery of services, and the schools, local forums, parent carers and young people themselves who were interviewed or gave their views to the inspectors.”
The full Ofsted and CQC report can be viewed at: https://brighterfuturesforchildren.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/10147311-Reading-LASEND-Final.pdf.
It will be published on the Ofsted website on 4 August.