Haringey wins highest rating for SEND

Joint area inspection by Ofsted and Care Quality Commission (CQC) awards council highest rating for its delivery of high-quality SEND services 

‘The outcomes and experiences of the most vulnerable are central to planning and decision-making in Haringey,’ concludes a new report by the regulators of services for young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). The voices and opinions of families ‘are heard and acted on’ by leaders who ‘are ambitious and focused on improving the lives of children and young people’. 

boy and girl answering questions on white paper

Photo by Rachel (@noguidebook)

The new report follows an inspection conducted over three weeks earlier this year. In this period, inspectors spoke to 200 children, young people, parents and staff across all agencies. They conducted 50 focus groups and visits to settings, and received some 500 survey responses, about 300 of which were from parent carers. The result is very positive.  

Under the new inspection framework introduced last year, the highest rating possible is for those services that ‘typically lead to positive experiences and outcomes for children and young people with SEND.’ That’s the standard that had been recognised in Haringey. 

The inspectors noted the creative ways in which ‘knowledgeable, culturally sensitive professionals’ address rising numbers of children and young people with SEND in the region. They also found that the voice of any given child or young person ‘rings very clearly’ through their education, health and care plans. The children do well at school and benefit from a broad and developing range of activities provided outside school. Leadership has also found creative ways to reduce waiting times. 

Even so, the inspectors also identified room for improvement: individual plans for adulthood should be discussed across agencies at an earlier age; the benefits of recent changes in provision should reach a greater number of children and young people; and leaders must keep up pace and traction to address the key issue of timely access to health services. 

Haringey Council has undertaken to incorporate these goals in its local area SEND and inclusion plan. 

On the whole, the report is very welcome news for Haringey Council, which works in partnership with NHS North Central London Integrated Care Board (ICB) and others across the education, health and care sector, to plan, commission and deliver its SEND services. 

The council says that a crucial role in enhancing outcomes has been played by parent/carer representatives from SEND Power, who provided mutual support and advocated for improved services. Elevate Youth has also worked to empower young people with SEND to shape services from within. The inspectors thought such multiagency ways of working ‘flourishes in Haringey’, with ‘considerable improvements’ in key areas since the borough’s last inspection in 2021.  

Cllr Peray Ahmet, Leader of Haringey Council, says: ‘We are really pleased with the findings of the Ofsted report. I want to praise the efforts of all our staff, partners and families who are dedicated to nurturing positive experiences and outcomes for children and young people with SEND. This demonstrates our unwavering commitment to inclusivity and support for every individual in our community. 

‘While we have much to celebrate, we recognise that our work is ongoing and that for some families, their experience is not a positive one.  We will continue to build on our strengths and focus in on the areas that need improvement.  Our goal is to ensure that every child and young person with SEND reaches their full potential and that families receive the support they require.’ 

Tim Miller, Assistant Director of Place for Haringey at the NHS North Central London Integrated Care Board, adds: ‘We are delighted by the SEND inspection report’s positive findings. This reflects our strong partnership working and the commitment shown by staff in the NHS. Haringey’s children and young people should receive the help and support they need and deserve. 

‘Our priorities now are to continue to improve information and engagement and access to health services and to reduce waiting times so the experiences and outcomes of children, young people and their families continues to improve.’ 

A spokesperson for SEND Power Parent Carer Forum in Haringey greeted the report with perhaps a note of caution, saying: ‘The progress made thus far is very encouraging. It is good that we can all sit together and discuss SEND issues productively, despite not always agreeing on specific matters. Whilst things are heading in the right direction, it is also very important for Haringey not to be complacent. We must tackle the pressing issues that still deeply affect many of our families.’ 

In related news:

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