Update on Progress since the May 2021 Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) Revisit undertaken by Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) – October 21
In these updates we will commit to giving:
- A transparent update on progress that has been made as well as on areas where we have not made as much progress as we might have liked
- A ‘You Said, We Did’ update that gives an update on feedback we have received and what we have done about it
- Information on priorities for the next term
- Information on opportunities for co-production or feedback so that we can hear from children and young people, families, schools and other stakeholders
Birmingham City Council and the CCG take the findings of the Local Area (Council and NHS) revisit extremely seriously and are working to make immediate and long term improvements. In order to keep you up to date with those we are producing regular termly updates on progress made to improve our services for children and young people with SEND.
*There is more detailed information on the progress that the Local Area has made following earlier family feedback further in the document.
Inspection Revisit and Immediate Next Steps
Department of Education Commissioner appointed to support Birmingham
The Inspection Revisit took place in May 2021 and identified that insufficient progress had been made by the local area in all but one of the thirteen areas of weakness identified.
As a result of the findings of the May 2021 revisit, the Department for Education (DfE) have appointed a Commissioner to hold the local area to account in the required SEND improvements.
As a result of the revisit, the Department for Education (DfE) has appointed a Commissioner, John Coughlan CBE, to hold the Local Area to account to deliver the required improvements. John is a well-respected and experienced Director of Children’s Services, former Council Chief Executive and a respected Commissioner. He knows Birmingham well, having spent some of his childhood and part of his early career here and plans to be in the City as much as possible. We met with John on September 14th; first task is to write a report for the Education Minister which will consider the Council’s ability to ensure that SEND services will improve – this must be completed by 31st December.
Accelerated Programme Plan – how we are going to improve the service
The DfE, in conjunction with NHS England, have also requested that the Local Area, in conjunction with parents and carers, prepare an Accelerated Progress Plan (APP), which will have to demonstrate how the local area will resolve the 12 outstanding areas of significant weakness identified in the original inspection in 2018.
The APP will have clear targets and milestones and will be regularly monitored and approved by the SEND Improvement Board (make up and chair yet to be announced) in order to ensure that it is improving the experience of children, young people and their families and improving outcomes.
Together We CAN – new programme title
Following feedback from the SEND Youth forum/RISE Youth Forum – who do not feel the term SEND represents them, they have asked that we join their campaign to replace it with Children with Additional Needs (CAN).
The partnership has agreed to this and we will begin to use CAN in all appropriate situations. We will continue to use SEND where it is currently required under the Code of Practice.
We have heard the strong message from parents and carers ‘Nothing About Us Without Us’ and will commit to ensuring parent and child voice is heard, valued and informs our work. It is a priority that we work together to deliver our commitment to co-production and to ensure that the voices of children and young people and their families is at the heart of all we do – Together We CAN.
Some issues which require more urgent attention are already being addressed. In particular the restructure of the Special Educational Needs Assessments and Review Service (SENAR) operations team where we are appointing more case workers currently. This will enable parents to have direct named contacts in the service and better communication between the service and schools.
Further detailed reading can be found below.
*The following summarises the progress that the Local Area has made following previous family feedback:
Since May 2021, the Local Authority has been working on improving the Special Educational Needs Assessments and Review Service (SENAR). In September 2021, we asked families what the most important improvements they would like to see were. From what families fed back, we did:
|We Did/ Are Doing
|Improve communication: answer calls and emails
|We need a named, accessible plan co-ordinator for Education Health and Care Plans (EHCPs)
|Professionals need better data, so that errors happen less frequent
|Ensure that there is timely and appropriate provision and support
|We need coproduced fit for purpose EHCP plans
Health (CCG) Progress Update
In Birmingham Healthcare services work together, alongside their partners to best support Children, Young People/Adults and their families and improve Health services across the City. From what families fed back, we did:
|We Did/ Are Doing
|Waiting lists are too long for Community Therapy services and Autism Assessments.
|What support is available for families that are waiting?
|We need better access to Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) support services. We need more support post diagnosis
|Out of hours support for Mental Health crisis does not always meet the needs of Children and Young People with Learning Disabilities and Autism.
|Invest more in MH support for parents and children
|What is the update on health appointments and social distancing guidance?
How much is virtual now and what can parents expect?
Birmingham Children’s Trust Progress Update
Birmingham Children’s Trust (BCT) have invited the Local Authority and Health partners into the SEND Early Help hub, that is being established and want to deliver early November – this is where professionals can sign post families, offer EHCP advice and the help with navigating the local offer.
Also, please follow the link https://vimeo.com/600112846/645c6b4225 to hear a podcast from Alison Montgomery, Assistant Director – Disabilities, on the redesign of the Disabled Children’s Service.
How Can You Feed in Your Views?
If you would like to comment on any of the above, please complete this survey monkey below. We very much want to hear from you.