Hull has seen improvements to services for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) since its previous inspections in 2019.
Whilst our services for children with SEND have seen improvement, the Kingston-Upon-Hull Local Area Partnership – which ensures these services are in place for the population of Hull, has been given the middle rating of three possible outcomes by inspectors from Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission (CQC).
The report, published today, said children and young people with SEND in Hull make their voices heard and they feel valued, visible and included in their communities. Children and young people speak highly about the opportunities they have. There are many positives about the partnership’s SEND arrangements and the experiences and outcomes for children for young people with SEND. However, inspectors found the partnership’s arrangements for some children and young people can lead to inconsistent experiences and outcomes.
Some of the areas of strength the report highlighted include:
- Children and young people access a range of early support for their emotional wellbeing.
- Children, young people and their families benefit from the local area partnership’s work with community partners.
- Early years children, their parents and carers experience a responsive SEND support system.
- The local area partnership engages at listening events and through an active Parent and Carer Forum (PCF) to understand the lived experiences of children, young people and their families.
- The partnership has an established school transition working group, which identifies children and young people with SEND who may struggle with school transition.
- Support for children and young people with complex SEND moving from children’s social care to adult social care begins early.
- Most children with SEND who are in care experience stable homes across foster care, children’s homes or residential special schools. Carers also work to understand the impact of trauma as well as children and young people’s individual needs.
However, the report also highlighted areas where the partnership must improve, including:
- Strengthening the transition into adulthood practices for those young people who do not meet the threshold for high needs and complex care.
- Further developing and embedding the quality assurance framework around Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans.
- Ensuring that social care and education partners understand how to record the individual vulnerabilities of children and young people.
- Developing a coordinated local area partnership approach to training and workforce development.
- Measuring the impact of strategic actions of the local area partnership more consistently.
The partnership already recognises and is responding to these challenges. The partnership is planning a refresh of its SEND Strategy, to be published this year, and will use this to align with and update the service’s overall Improvement Plan.
The latest report is another positive step in Hull City Council’s Children’s Services improvement journey.
Councillor Linda Tock, the portfolio holder for Children’s Services at Hull City Council said: “Our ambition for children and young people with SEND in Hull is for them to have the right provision, at the right time, in the right place, so they get the opportunity to achieve well, participate in and contribute to their local community.
“This latest report demonstrates how our local education, health and care services have continued to improve and this is thanks to the hardworking and committed staff working across the partnership and the local children and families who we listen to. The pandemic has seen a significant increase in children with additional needs and we are working with our partners to continue delivering better value and address this increase in demand. Children in our city, including those with SEND, remain the council’s top priority.”
Erica Daley, Hull Place Director for Humber and North Yorkshire ICB, said: “We are pleased that local area SEND inspection report has recognised our continued improvement, and our absolute commitment to making services better for children, young people, and their families across Hull.
“We know that there are challenges in relation to waiting times for some health services and we need to change this. As a Partnership, we want to reach a place where all young people with special educational needs and disabilities have positive experiences with local services, and improved health and education outcomes. We will continue to work alongside children, young people and their families to help achieve this.”
Tasha Smithson, Chair of Hull Parent Carer Forum, said: “HPCF celebrates the work by all to improve the relationships between parents and strategic partners. Collaborative working has allowed us to begin recognising barriers and identify improvements in an ever-challenging SEND system.
“As we look forward to strengthening partnerships and working to improve communication to the benefit of all SEND families in Hull, we remain committed to facilitating peer support to SEND families, signposting our members and helping them share their lived experiences to our service partners. Finally thank you to all our members for participating in our various engagement opportunities, it is your feedback that makes the difference.”
The Hull Local Offer website features a host of information about what support is available for families with children who have SEND in Hull. Visit https://hull.mylocaloffer.org.