A New Direction in SEND Support
Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) have unveiled guidance for upcoming thematic visits aimed at evaluating the support systems in place for children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) as they transition into adulthood. This initiative reflects a commitment to ensuring that SEND youth are adequately prepared for the challenges and opportunities of adult life.
Comprehensive Reviews on the Horizon
Scheduled between spring and summer 2024, these in-depth reviews will scrutinize every stage of a SEND child’s journey towards adulthood—from early years through post-16 education. The focus is on understanding how well “Preparation for Adulthood” (PFA) arrangements are functioning across various local area partners in education, health, and social care sectors.
Key Areas of Focus
The thematic visits will delve into four crucial pathways outlined in the ‘SEND code of practice’: employment, independent living, community inclusion, and health. Inspectors will gather evidence directly from the children and young people with SEND, their families, and local area partners, aiming to understand how these groups collaborate to prioritize the aspirations and interests of SEND youth.
Empowering SEND Youth
Central to the reviews will be an examination of how SEND youth are supported to achieve their potential, make autonomous decisions, participate in society, and maintain good health as they transition to adulthood. The inspections will identify both the enablers and barriers that affect the effective preparation of young people with SEND for the challenges of adult life.
Voices from Ofsted and CQC
Lee Owston, Ofsted’s National Director for Education, stressed the current shortcomings of the SEND system in meeting the needs of children and their families. He expressed hope that the findings from these visits would inform improvements in the experiences of children with SEND. Nigel Thompson of the CQC highlighted the importance of involving children, young people, and their families in transitions, emphasizing the need for collaborative work among agencies and healthcare providers.
A Collaborative Effort for Change
The findings from these visits, slated for release in a national report in autumn 2024, will not only share examples of good practice but also address systemic concerns. This report aims to influence the development of policies under the SEND and alternative provision improvement plans by the Department for Education and the Department for Health and Social Care.
Shaping a Supportive Future
The upcoming thematic visits by Ofsted and the CQC mark a significant step towards enhancing the support system for children and young people with SEND in the UK. By focusing on a collaborative and evidence-informed approach, these efforts aim to ensure that every SEND youth has the opportunity to thrive and lead a fulfilling life in adulthood.