Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission have published their findings from a revisit to Sheffield they carried out in February. The revisit was a follow-up to the 2018 inspection, which found significant weaknesses in the support provided for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).
In their report, the inspectors conclude that Sheffield has made sufficient progress in six out of the seven areas of weakness identified at the last inspection. The area where progress has been insufficient is the transition to post-16 and post-18 services.
You can read the inspectors’ report here.
We don’t think that “sufficient progress” is good enough for our children. Whilst we agree that some progress has been made, what we hear from families in Sheffield is that they are not feeling the impact of this yet.
The Ofsted inspection was over three years ago, and we would have expected to see real improvements by now. It may take another year or two before the changes start to have an impact. For many of our children, this will be too late.
We know that almost 300 parents filled in the inspectors’ questionnaire, which was only open during February half term. We have not seen a report about this survey, and have asked the inspectors to share a summary with us.
As part of our involvement in the revisit, we had submitted feedback to the inspectors. This included a summary of the feedback parents had given us over the past three years in relation to the seven areas of weakness. You can read it here.
Some of the information in the inspectors’ report differs from what we have been told, for example in relation to the availability of speech and language therapy for young people aged 16+ in special schools, or the age group that the new social care transitions team will work with. We have asked for clarification on these issues.
The job of improving SEND services in Sheffield is not complete – in many areas, it has barely even started to have an impact. We will continue to monitor progress, hold services to account and influence decision making.