Great SEND support services are available in Plymouth

A report highlighting Plymouth’s achievements in delivering services to children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) has been published today, Wednesday 7 December.

The recent joint Ofsted and Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspection focused on Plymouth City Council, local NHS services and other partners success, in making the changes required by the new SEND code of practice that was introduced in 2014.

Its aim is to offer simpler, improved and consistent help for children and young people with SEND, extending support from birth to 25 years of age, giving families greater choice in decisions and ensuring needs are properly met.

There are nearly 2000 children in Plymouth who will have an Education Health and Care Plan and more who benefit from additional support services across nurseries, schools and colleges. This inspection reviewed how services work together to improve their life chances.

Several strengths were praised in the independent inspection including:

  • Services working together with many young people and their families from an early stage to get the right support
  • Families and babies receiving good screening checks from health professionals which means advice and support is available when there are concerns about the baby’s development
  • The new SEND young people’s forum  actively working to influence planning and the development of services
  • The majority of parents feeling fully involved in their child’s education health and care plans
  • Plymouth Information Advice and Support for SEND is seen as valuable source of information and help for families

The inspectors also recognised there was a strong shared vision to develop more joined up working across all the different services that support children and young people with SEND.

Councillor Terri Beer, Cabinet Member for Children and Young people said: “This inspection highlights our commitment to providing the best possible service we can for children, young people and their families with SEND in Plymouth. We welcome the feedback including areas for development and there are plans in place. We really want to make sure that families have all the information they need about the support that is available. I’d like to say thank you to the young people, parents and carers who have worked with us to develop SEND support in Plymouth.”

The report also suggests a few areas for development, all of which the Council and its partners were aware of and already working on. This included:

  • The need for greater involvement with young people in their own Education, Health and Care Planning
  • The need for better promotion to families in Plymouth about the support currently available, especially post 16 provision
  • Encouraging more families to be involved in being part of shaping future services through the parent/carer forum.
  • The requirement for an improvement in waiting times for some health services for children and young people 

Judith Harwood, Assistant Director for Learning and Communities said: “We are extremely pleased that the inspection recognised the hard work that has gone into improving the way that all of our local services work together, and the good work of individual staff and teams. We recognise the areas where we need to continue to develop and I am confident that this work will take place.”

Dave McAuley, Interim Head of Commissioning for NEW Devon CCG said: “We are working very hard in Plymouth to offer a child and family centred integrated service for children and young people with SEND and we’re happy that this has been recognised by the inspection.”  

The full inspection report can be read here.