SEND Local Partnership accepts findings of today’s joint OFSTED and CQC report and commits to making improvements for children, young people and their families

25 March 2024

Child playing

Published today, following the first inspection undertaken jointly by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and Ofsted in January 2024, a report has found provision and outcomes for children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) in North Northamptonshire needs to rapidly improve.  

The planning and commissioning of SEND services across the area is the responsibility of the Local Area Partnership. This is made up of two statutory bodies, North Northamptonshire Council and NHS Northamptonshire Integrated Care Board. It is delivered across the area in conjunction with Northamptonshire Children’s Trust together with schools, nurseries and North Northamptonshire Parent Carer Voice.

Leaders of the two organisations holding statutory responsibility have fully accepted the findings of the report and are today issuing the apology below to the children and young people with SEND, and their families.  

They have also committed to producing a Priority Improvement Action Plan which will be closely informed by children, young people and families who use the service. 

The Ofsted/CQC report highlighted that there are “widespread and/or systemic failings leading to significant concerns about the experiences and outcomes of children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND), which the local area partnership must address urgently.”  View the full report.

We fully accept and acknowledge the findings of the Ofsted report and are sorry to all those children, young people and their families who have been let down. It is our absolute priority to ensure immediate action to drive the urgent improvements which have been highlighted.Joint statement from Jason Smithers, North Northamptonshire Council's Leader, and Toby Sanders, Chief Executive of NHS Northamptonshire Integrated Care Board, said: 

The report did however highlight areas which the partnership was delivering effectively and noted the following: 

  • Children with visual and or hearing impairment are well supported.
  • New SEND focused activities are due to start this year.
  • The views of children and young people and their families are being used to shape the partnership send strategy.
  • The partnership is starting to support children and families with SEND through earlier interventions.
  • Nurseries and specialist schools are said to appreciate and value the advice of the SEND support service.
  • The school nurses at specialist schools across area are well thought of by the children and professionals.
  • Older neurodiverse young people have group support in the community.
  • The partnership commissioned an analysis of speech, language and communication needs and has recommendations for future changes.
Sadly, the findings of the inspection accurately reflect the reality of lived experiences that local families often share with us and the concerns that we frequently raise with services. Urgent and comprehensive action must now be taken by the Local Area Partnership to address the systemic failures highlighted by the outcome.

We were reassured by the scope and depth of the inspection in which we played a key role of delivering the voices and the experiences of local families directly to inspectors. We are hopeful the report will give a clearer focus to the drive to improve and serve as a catalyst for positive change.

Whilst there are areas where findings may not reflect the experience of every family, we are pleased to see highlighted the areas of effective practice, potential for improvement from planned and new initiatives as well as emerging ‘green shoots’ for more effective early help.

There is a lot of hard work ahead and we remain committed to working constructively in partnership with North Northamptonshire Council, Northamptonshire Integrated Care Board and Northamptonshire’s Children’s Trust to develop a strong improvement plan.

We feel that by listening to the voices and perspectives of families and young people with SEND and putting them at the heart of cohesive plans, real changes can be made, and positive outcomes can be achieved.
Sam Baker, Director of Northamptonshire Parent Carers Voice

If you would like to contact the partnership’s Improvement Team with comments and or feedback please email: [email protected]