The special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) team at Westminster Council have received a great report from Ofsted following a recent inspection.
Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) carried out the thorough inspection between March 9 and March 13 - speaking to children and young people with SEND, parents and carers, local authority and NHS officers. They also visited a range of providers, staff and governors plus leaders from social care and education across the city.
The report outlines a number of strengths stating that leaders from education, health and care are ambitious for children and young people with SEND, resulting in great outcomes.
Our Westminster Family Hubs are described as being “exciting initiatives” where GPs and healthcare practitioners work together with the council to deliver a strong child health system.
The approach to identifying SEND was highlighted as being “effective”, with agencies working well together to ensure needs are met quickly.
Another strength noted was Westminster Council’s work with the parent and carer forum, ‘Make it Happen’, which allows families to have an influence in the design and implementation of services across the city.
Parents told Ofsted the special schools in Westminster, which are judged as good, had helped their children to be more confident, independent and happier. Special educational needs coordinators (SENCos) were particularly praised for making sure schools identify pupils’ needs quickly.
Cllr Timothy Barnes, Westminster City Council Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, said: “I’m proud to work alongside a team who are ambitious and committed to improving the lives of children and young people with SEND in Westminster and it’s great to see the dedicated work being recognised.
“The Ofsted report shows how we, as a local authority, have been on a journey with our local families and health partners to develop a great service for children with special educational needs and disabilities that ranks at the very top of what is on offer anywhere in the country.”
Cllr Lorraine Dean, Deputy Cabinet Member for Children’s Services with special responsibility for SEND, added: “This is the first time that our whole service has been reviewed, covering social care, family services and schools. It’s a mark of how far we have come that the Ofsted review has been so positive is great recognition for all the staff, parents and young people involved. We would like to thank them all!"
Hend Rahman, the chair of local parent forum ‘Make it Happen’, said: "The improvement that was achieved in Westminster over the last few years is the natural outcome of coproduction with the families, and of course leadership that believe in the importance of parent participation.
“I am extremely proud of how 'Make it Happen' supports and empowers parents to get their voice heard and to become this influential in all decision making. On behalf of our families, well done and thank you to all professionals who work hard to improve the quality of life of our children."
People can find information on services and support available for children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) aged 0 – 25 and their families via the Local Offer website for Westminster City Council.