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Good outcomes for children with special needs and disabilities in Gateshead

Posted on Friday 16 June 2017

Children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) in Gateshead are safe and achieve good outcomes, according to Ofsted and the Quality Care Commission (CQC).

A joint inspection of the borough’s effectiveness in implementing disability and special educational needs reforms put into place in 2014 was carried out in February and has returned positive feedback to Gateshead Council and partners, including the NHS.

Inspectors from both Ofsted and the CQC spoke to children and young people and parents and carers as well as professionals in education, health and social care.

Their findings, published next week, found that there is a strong commitment in Gateshead to making sure children and young people with disabilities and special educational needs are safe; that all agencies worked well together to meet the needs of children with SEND; that Gateshead’s multi agency early years work meant that babies and children with complex needs and disabilities were identified early and received support quickly and that parents and carers were positive about the support their children received.

Inspectors also identified a number of other strengths in the borough’s work with children and young people including; good support for children with visual and hearing impairments; services offering support being clear, easy to follow and successfully signposting families to other sources of help and information and that concerns about children’s delays in development and progress were quickly identified.

It was also noted that children’s special educational needs and disabilities were not seen as a barrier to achievement in Gateshead and that leaders took prompt action when they were concerned about children’s lack of progress.

Some areas for further development were suggested by the CQC and Ofsted, but Gateshead is not required to submit a written ‘statement of action’ because the inspection did not raise any significant concerns.

However, key areas for future development that Gateshead Council is already working on include; a stronger focus on early help so that children and young people receive the support they need  to prevent the need for more specialist help, such as support with mental health and emotional and behavioural issues; working with health services to improve processes, so that children receive the kind of support they need as quickly as possible and more travel training for young people with SEND, to help develop their independence and life chances.

Councillor Angela Douglas, Gateshead Council Cabinet Member for Children and Young People said: “These are a set of very positive findings and it is gratifying to know that we are getting it right for children and young people in Gateshead with special educational needs and disabilities.

“While there are areas for development, it is also a reflection on the dedication and hard work of all the staff involved that Ofsted and the CQC did not raise any significant concerns and we do not have to submit a written future action plan, which some other local authority areas have had to do.”

Chris Piercy, Executive Director of Nursing, Patient Safety and Quality for NHS Newcastle Gateshead Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said:

“It is good to receive such positive feedback on special educational needs and disability (SEND) services in Gateshead. We know how much work goes on every day across the area, and this recognition is great for both staff and children.

“It is important that children, young people and their families get help and support quickly, from organisations that they can trust, so it is reassuring to see that the collaboration across health, social care and education services has been highlighted by the inspectors, particularly around identifying a child’s needs at an early stage in their life.”

For full details of the report can be viewed at www.gateshead.gov.uk/SEND