We have found out today that Hertfordshire is having its local area SEND inspection and this will take place over 3 weeks from today (Monday 26 June). This is a really important visit that will examine the Hertfordshire services that support our children and young people, and set the direction for improvement in future years.
A local area SEND inspection is when Ofsted (the Office for Standards in Education) and CQC (the Care Quality Commission which inspects health and social care) jointly inspect a local area to see how well they fulfil their responsibilities for children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities.
How can you feed in your opinions on Herts services?
It is really important that inspectors fully understand how families experience SEND services in Hertfordshire. Please give your views via this Ofsted survey. And please do this quickly – it is only open until 9am on 4 July. Young people with SEND (aged 11-25) can also give their views via the same link.
What will HPCI be doing?
As your parent carer forum, we will meet remotely with the inspectors in the second week of inspection to help shape the scope and focus of their time spent in Hertfordshire during the final week of inspection. HCC and its health partners will be asked to provide a self-evaluation and details about their strategic planning. HPCI will also be asked for views on this and will be using what you told us in last year’s annual survey, as well as all the other ways we get feedback from families, to inform our response. HPCI may also be asked to be part of discussions about specific topics when the inspectors are on site. We don’t yet know what these might cover.
Are there other ways families can be part of the process?
Ofsted and CQC have published information for parents and carers on area SEND inspections and this is available here. You will see that there is a section about meeting with families that says “Inspectors will meet the local area’s parent carer forum (PCF). You can contact your local PCF if you would like to attend this meeting. Inspectors may also meet other groups that represent families.” From talking to other PCFs that have been inspected, we know that different inspectors have had different approaches to this meeting, so we will need to wait to see how the inspectors want to handle this. Please do let us know if you would like to be contacted when we have further details.
Inspectors will also hold individual “tracking meetings” with approximately six children and young people, their families (if appropriate) and the practitioners who work with them. Tracking meetings are an opportunity for inspectors to hear directly about children and young people’s experiences and outcomes. If your child or young person is selected by the inspectors, you will be contacted directly.
What else can you do?
Please do let other families with SEND know about the inspection and encourage as many parents and carers as possible to complete the survey. And please support your young person to share their views if they are of the right age.
If you have any queries, please do let us know (but please also be aware that the next few weeks will be very busy for us, as we do everything we can to make sure that inspectors fully understand how families in Hertfordshire experience SEND services).