Eoin Rush, director of children, families and schools at East Riding of Yorkshire Council, has issued a statement in response to the joint SEND inspection in the East Riding area.

The statement reads as follows:

In October 2021, Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) carried out a joint inspection of the East Riding local area.

They considered how well the SEND reforms from 2014 had been implemented and how effectively agencies:

  • identify the needs of children and young people with SEND
  • meet the needs of these children and young people so that their outcomes and chances of participating fully in society improve.

The inspection team met with parents and carers, children and young people as well as professionals from across health, the local authority and education as well as representatives from the voluntary sector. Parents and carers of children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities, also had an opportunity to complete an online survey.

The inspection team found that the area knows itself well and has in place a comprehensive improvement plan which is evidencing 'green shoots of recovery', and that current leaders are well placed to implement the plan and move forward.

However, there is still much more to do to fully implement the reforms and this is reflected in the Written Statement of Action (WSOA) set out by the inspectors.

The four key areas highlighted are:

  • the shortage of appropriate school places, especially for children and young people with autistic spectrum disorder and social, emotional and mental health needs
  • children's and Young People's and parents experience of the EHC plan process
  • weaknesses in communication
  • outcomes for children and young people at SEND support attending mainstream provision.

Eoin Rush, director of children, families and schools at East Riding of Yorkshire Council, acknowledged there had been significant challenges across the SEND system for a number of years but was heartened that Ofsted had endorsed the 10-point SEND Development and Improvement Plan, as well as placing faith in the current leadership team.

He said: "This was a thorough inspection of the SEND services and I want to acknowledge that some of our children and young people, families and carers have not had a good experience with us historically, and for that I am sincerely sorry.

"As local area leaders we recognise there is much to do to rebuild trust, to ensure we have effective and transparent co-production processes, so all partners feel listened to and our children and young people, parents and carers feel well supported.

"It was encouraging to know the inspectors agreed with the areas of weakness we had already identified and supported the current leadership team as well as giving their backing to the SEND Development and Improvement Plan as the way for us to make progress.

"The plan, which was unanimously approved and endorsed by members across the political landscape at a Full Council meeting in October, includes more specialist training for frontline staff and continued local investment in the development of new provision to help ensure children and young people can have their needs met locally.

"While significant improvements have been made over the last two years, there is still a lot of work to be done and that will not happen overnight.

"The level of funding in the high needs system nationally remains a significant challenge but the council will continue to lobby the Government to address the funding gap for SEND services.

"We are committed to delivering this plan effectively so all children and young people are valued and know their outcomes are important to us.

Paula South, interim chief operating officer for East Riding of Yorkshire Clinical Commissioning Group said: "We welcome the findings from the recent inspection and recognise that, whilst there are some encouraging signs, much more work is needed to improve local SEND services.

"We want children and young people, and their families, across East Riding of Yorkshire to receive the best possible experience when accessing these services, and we remain committed to working alongside our colleagues within the local authority, schools and voluntary sector on the local SEND Development and Improvement Plan to fully address the issues as set out in the Written Statement of Action."

More information on the 10-point SEND Development and Improvement Plan can be found at https://www.eastridinglocaloffer.org.uk/

To see the full copy of the inspection report go to https://eryc.link/area-inspection-report