History of the SEND Improvement Programme

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.

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.

July 2022

The Local Area Partnership met with Department for Education SEND and NHS England officials on 8 June 2022 to review the progress made against your APP over the last six months.

“We are particularly grateful for the contributions from your Parent Carer Forum and school representatives. The evidence submitted supports strong intentions by officer leadership in Birmingham and commitment from front line staff. The evidence provided alongside the feedback from partners demonstrated the range of actions you have taken to accelerate improvement.” – Katie Moore, Regional Lead, West Midlands Regions Group, Department for

Full 6 month progress review here