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Medway local area inspection of special education needs and disabilities

08 February 2018

Between 4 and 8 December 2017, Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission carried out a joint inspection of the local area’s special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) provision. Inspectors looked at the support services provided by Medway Council, Medway Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), schools, academies, nurseries and within further education, and have now published a letter with their findings.


The inspectors looked at the support given to children and young people to help them reach their full potential and found that schools have ‘highly effective systems to identify and support pupils’ with special educational needs. However, some schools could do more to identify and meet children’s needs earlier on.


Children and young people have told Ofsted inspectors that they feel ‘safe’ and ‘well supported’ by the special educational needs services provided in Medway.


The letter also suggests areas of improvement for all agencies to consider, including improved joint working across education, health and care services. Prior to the inspection Medway Council and the CCG were already beginning to make improvements, but they acknowledge that there is a lot of work to do. The letter has helped both organisations, and they are working with education providers to take the suggested improvements forward.


View the ‘LA SEND inspection report'


Cllr Andrew Mackness, Portfolio Holder of Children’s Services at Medway Council, said: “I would like to thank the inspection team for their work in Medway. We were pleased the team found many strengths in the services being delivered, but we also appreciate their suggestions to help us improve the support provided to children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities, as well as their families. The welfare of our residents remains at the heart of everything we do and we will be working even closer together with Medway Clinical Commissioning Group, as well as educational establishments, to address the team’s recommendations and improve outcomes for children and young people. We will also be working with the Department for Education and NHS England to ensure there is a joined-up approach to deliver efficient services which meet the needs of those living in our communities.


“I am disappointed I did not have the opportunity of meeting the inspection team and I would welcome another visit to discuss the national guidance for managing special educational needs and disabilities. However, I do welcome the recommendations and will personally be monitoring the improvement plans going forward.”

Sarah Vaux, Chief Nurse at Medway Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “The letter has helped us to focus and continue to make the improvements that were in the pipeline before the inspection. As ever, we remain committed to supporting children and young people, together with their families.
“The inspectors acknowledged that effective provision in the early years is helping to ensure children with special educational needs or disabilities get off to an increasingly good start. Now we need to work closely with Medway Council and education providers to ensure that provision continues throughout young people’s lives.”


Tina Lovey, Headteacher of Rivermead School and Chief Executive Officer of the Rivermead Inclusive Trust, said: “Despite being an academy, we are already working with the local authority, as well as health care services, to ensure our pupils are provided with the best possible support they deserve. We’d like to thank Medway Council’s children’s services for their continued efforts in supporting all of our young people and help them progress and reach the best of their ability. We are all working towards the same goal of ensuring every child is given the opportunity to succeed and we will continue to listen to our learners and support them throughout their education.”