Advertisement

Children's SEND services inconsistent, report says

Stoke-on-Trent Civic Centre
Stoke-on-Trent City Council says its vision is for children and young people with SEND to ‘be the best they can be’

Children in Stoke-on-Trent with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) have had an inconsistent experience of services designed to support them, inspectors have found.

An inspection at the end of January found "there is a tenacious commitment to improving outcomes" but that "parents often reach a crisis point before services assess their children’s needs".

"The local area partnership must work jointly to make improvements," the report said.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council said it would take the report’s findings on board.

The report highlighted that there had been changes to the senior leadership of the city’s SEND services since the previous inspection in 2016.

These included the appointment of a new chief executive officer for the council, a new cabinet member for children’s services, a new cabinet member for education, skills and anti-poverty, and a chief executive officer of the ICB.

It added that there was also an interim director of children and families, while a permanent replacement is being appointed.

The report stated: "Children and young people with SEND are valued in Stoke-on-Trent, and there is a city-wide determination that they will get the support they need to thrive.

"However, inconsistencies across the education, health, and social care partnerships negatively impact the experiences and progress of children and young people with SEND.

"Consequently, the partnership’s vision for children and young people with SEND to ‘be the best they can be’ is not yet achieved."

Councillor Sarah Hill, cabinet member for children’s services, said: "The local area partnership of the city council and the Integrated Care Board will keep working to further improve services until our vision for children and young people with SEND to ‘be the best they can be’ is fully realised."

Peter Axon, chief executive for the Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Integrated Care Board said the report highlighted areas for improvement and that the partnership would continue to build on areas where it was doing well.

“The Integrated Care Board’s vision for our children and young people is to start well, grow well and live well,” he said.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council and the Integrated Care Board (ICB) are jointly responsible for the planning and commissioning services for children and young people with SEND in Stoke-on-Trent.

The next full area SEND inspection will take place within approximately three years.

Follow BBC West Midlands on Facebook, X, and Instagram. Send your story ideas to: newsonline.westmidlands@bbc.co.uk

Related stories

Related internet links