Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) have today launched a consultation on proposals for a new joint framework for inspecting provision for children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) within a local area. The new inspections will be introduced in early 2023.

The new framework will focus on the experiences and outcomes of children and young people with SEND.

The proposals broaden the focus of inspection to look not only at whether local area partnerships are identifying and meeting the needs of children and young people with SEND, but also to assess the impact on their lives and outcomes.

The new framework will build on and strengthen accountability for local areas by:

  • introducing an ongoing cycle of inspections and 3 distinct inspection outcomes.
  • carrying out engagement meetings in all areas.
  • strengthening Ofsted’s response where there are concerns through monitoring inspections and/or early re-inspections.
  • promoting continuous improvement for all by requesting visible action plans following full inspections

To further support these aims, inspection teams will include inspectors from education, health and care so that there can be a deeper understanding of how effective joint working is in a specific area.

Inspections will also focus on children in alternative provision, the majority of whom have SEND, by evaluating how local authorities commission, use and oversee it.

And there will be a greater push to gather evidence from children and young people with SEND and their families directly, as well as from area leaders, practitioners, and settings, so that inspectors understand what it is like to be a child or young person with SEND in any local area in England.

The consultation, which runs from today to September 11, is part of a range of engagement activities Ofsted and CQC will be doing with the sector, children and young people, parents, and carers.

Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector, Amanda Spielman, said:

The past two years have been challenging for all of us, but the pandemic was particularly hard for the most vulnerable in society.

In that time Ofsted has continued to engage closely with the SEND sector, including bodies representing children and young people with SEND and their parents and carers. That has allowed us to develop and refine the proposals for a new framework.

I welcome responses from the sector whether that be parents, carers or children and young people themselves to help us shape our plans further. Working together, we can ensure that every child gets the best start in life, whatever their background or needs.

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    Ofsted and CQC launch consultation on new inspection framework for SEND provision

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