Strong local partnership working supports children and young people with special needs
Thurrock Council has responded to criticisms detailed in a recent government report.
An inspection of the service offered to people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) in Thurrock says that they have their needs identified swiftly and get access to the help and support they, and their parents and carers, need quickly thanks to well-coordinated children’s social services.
The inspection was carried out by Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in March. Its key findings also included that strong local partnerships have led to improvements in the service, that elected members are well informed and matters related to SEND are frequently discussed at the highest level of the Council. There are remaining challenges to address. Inspectors said that there are issues around record keeping, the quality assurance of the services received by children and young people and the quality of Education, Health and Care Plans, including the links between heath care professionals and council staff commissioning services.
An action plan to address these areas for improvement has already been produced and shared with Ofsted and will now form the basis of a written statement outlining upcoming improvements planned by the service.
Cllr James Halden, Portfolio Holder for Education and Health, said: “The council is fully committed to ensuring the issues identified in the inspection are addressed and that our ongoing work with parents and young people with SEND will enable them to achieve and fulfil their potential. Prior to the inspection we have already started a series of meetings to hear directly from parents and address their concerns and we have been involved in a positive dialogue with Ofsted about our planned improvements.”
Jane Foster-Taylor, Chief Nurse for Thurrock CCG, said: “While there is room for improvement we welcomed the inspection team’s comments about areas of really strong and good practice in reacting quickly to children’s needs. As Commissioners in the health pathway for children with SEND we are keen to work with our local authority colleagues to pick up on the areas for improvement as quickly as possible.”