Sheffield City Council’s Children and Families ‘Front Door’ services have been praised by Ofsted for delivering ‘appropriate and timely services that meet the needs of families’ despite the increased demand on the service during the pandemic.
Special Educational Needs and Disability support in Sheffield is improving (1)
Ofsted have found that Sheffield’s special educational needs and disability support services are making positive strides forward following a recent area revisit.
In a letter published today, Ofsted note that progress has been made in six out of the seven areas of weaknesses previously identified in a 2018 inspection. It highlights how Sheffield City Council, Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Sheffield Parent Carer Forum have worked closely together since the last inspection to create a vision and strategy for SEND that puts children and young people “at the heart”. They also found that services have been redesigned to better meet the needs of children and young people and improve their outcomes.
The letter notes that communication between all stakeholders has improved and how leaders are “leading by example in changing the culture in Sheffield”.
Inspectors visited Sheffield in February and spoke to children with special educational needs and disabilities, parents, and carers about their experiences of services and found that they “appreciate the commitment and actions that leaders have shown more recently”.
Councillor Jayne Dunn, Executive Member for Education, Children and Families said, “Sheffield City Council is determined to meet the needs of children with SEND and their families - their priorities are our priorities. Today’s report shows how far we have come. It is testament to the hard work being carried out by all involved and shows the commitment to getting this right, despite the extraordinary challenges of the recent pandemic. It's good to see Ofsted recognising this, and I hope our hardworking staff and partners are proud.”
Inspectors also spent time with frontline staff and senior management from the council and the CCG and reviewed in-depth self-evaluation and improvement plans. They found that management have ‘strategic and accurate’ oversight of service operations and were aware of the need for more urgent progress around the post-16 transition experience. It was recognised that plans have been developed to address the issues, but they are not yet fully in place.
Cllr Dunn continued, “However, this isn’t mission accomplished. The council will carry on listening and acting on the feedback from children and young people and their families to improve provision and put the health, happiness and wellbeing of children and young people in Sheffield first.”
Dr Terry Hudsen, Chair of NHS Sheffield CCG added, “The CQC have seen the progress made by Sheffield’s workforce for the city’s SEND population and the good partnership working that has been established between the NHS and Local Authority. The journey does not end here; and our NHS workforce are committed to ensure better outcomes and improved patient experience for children and young people with SEND and their families through continued development of our services and partnership working with our colleagues at Sheffield City Council."
The full report can be found on the Sheffield City Council website at www.sheffield.gov.uk/home/schools-childcare/send-inspection.
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