Greenwich wins praise for progress on SEND reforms

By Tristan Donovan

| 14 September 2017

Co-production of services with children and young people has helped Greenwich secure a generally positive inspection report of the area's work on special educational needs and disability reforms.

Agencies in Greenwich were praised for involving children in service design. Picture: Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust

Inspectors from Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission found that services operating within the London borough effectively involved children, young people and families in the commissioning, design and operation of services.

Examples included young people being involved in the recruitment of youth workers and having young commissioners design the questionnaire for interviews held with young people when they return home after going missing.

Collaboration between education, health and social care professionals was praised, as was the way local educational psychologists liaise with Ministry of Defence counterparts to identify needs that may previously have been missed.

The inspection report also noted how the local music therapy service was helping children do better at school and how a new early escalation process contributed to 97 per cent of children having on-time review health assessments in the three months leading up to the inspectors' visit in July.

However, inspectors also found several areas where improvement was required. Not enough parents and carers were aware of the services available in the area and children were waiting too long for autistic spectrum disorder assessments to be completed.

Progress in converting statements of special educational needs statements to education, health and care plans was found to be too slow, hampered by leadership changes and an inefficient software system. However, the inspectors said local leaders were "rightly confident" that a new strategy should enable them to meet the April 2018 deadline to complete the conversions.

The absence of a designated medical officer or designated clinical officer was criticised as limiting health's involvement in the reforms and inspectors said improvement was needed in efforts to prepare young people for adulthood.

"Some children and young people are poorly prepared by health services for adult life," the report said.

"Practice is not underpinned by a locally shared vision and policy, and, as a result, preparation does not consistently start early enough."

Stephen Whitmore, director of children and young people's services at Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust, said: "The strong collaboration between health, education and social care providers has resulted in this extremely positive inspection report focusing on achieving the best outcomes for children and young people in Greenwich.

"We will continue to strengthen our partnership working and maintain our focus on improving outcomes for children and young people and their families."

blog comments powered by Disqus