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New guidance on inspections of local area SEND provision

Local areas (the local authority and health commissioners and providers, together with all of the area’s early years settings, schools and post-16 further education sector) have a new duty to identify and meet the needs of children and young people (aged 0-25) who are disabled and/or have special educational needs (SEND).

From May 2016, Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) are jointly inspecting local areas on their effectiveness in fulfilling these new duties. They have recently published a Local area SEND inspection framework and handbook for inspectors, as well as more practical guidance on how this will work in practice.

Local areas will not receive an overall graded judgement, but each inspection report will include recommendations, including any priority areas for action. 

As part of the inspection process, inspectors will visit a number of early years settings in the local area. They will look at a sample of children’s files and information about their progress to contribute to their evaluation of the area’s effectiveness. These settings will not be under inspection and, therefore, inspectors will not judge their effectiveness. The purpose of the visits is for inspectors to gain a thorough understanding of how early years providers work collaboratively, including with the local authority and health services, to meet the needs of children and young people with SEND. 

PACEY has published a comprehensive guide to caring for children with SEND, which is available for purchase in our online shop.

If you are a PACEY member, you can access free practice guides on SEND on our website.