Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND)

We work with Northumberland County Council across education and social care services to support the health element of services for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and their families living in Northumberland.

The following link takes you to Northumberland’s SEND Local Offer and has details about Northumberland’s SEND Strategies and information on health services for children, young people and their families with SEND http://www.northumberland.gov.uk/SEND-Local-offer.aspx

Local Area Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities inspection 

The CCG and Northumberland County Council had an Ofsted and Care Quality Commission joint inspection in October 2018 on Northumberland’s effectiveness in implementing the disability and special needs reforms in the Children and Families Act.

We have welcomed the findings from Ofsted and CQC, which outline areas of strength and good practice within some services, as well as other areas where there is still work to do, which we acknowledge.

The inspector has highlighted our determined drive in recent months to improve arrangements for meeting the needs of children and young people with SEND. The report highlights growing confidence in our services, and the pace of change and improvement.

Notably, a number of key areas of strengths were found for the CCG, including:

  • The majority of children and young people who are entering care receive initial health assessments within the required timescales.
  • The complex needs of some individual children and young people are assessed and met well because local area leaders work effectively with their families to plan and commission the services and support they need.
  • Speech and language therapists, occupational therapists and physiotherapists work together in an integrated way to assess and support children and young people who have significant and complex needs. Furthermore, they contribute to innovative and fully co-produced ‘multi-agency goals assessments’ to successfully align therapy care plans. This facilitates a ‘tell it once’ approach well and supports improved understanding of children and young people’s needs which, in turn, is leading to better outcomes.
  • Access to early help in primary mental health services has improved recently. The primary mental health team provide support, guidance and training which is helping professionals to better meet the needs of children and young people who have low-level and emerging mental health needs.
  • Community paediatricians are using a ‘think family’ approach when completing person-centred assessments. This is increasing participation and engagement with families and improving the assessment of health needs.
  • Children’s community nurses provide families of children and young people who have complex and continuing health needs with high-quality training and support. This enables children and young people’s needs to be met in non-clinical environments, which reduces the need for families to attend multiple outpatient appointments.
  • Some individual children and young people achieve positive outcomes as a result of timely identification and assessment of their needs and carefully integrated and highly personalised support.

The report also acknowledges new leadership structures which are now in place, and commends the action plans that have been developed. These combined provide a secure platform to tackle issues and improvements required head on.

A copy of the full report can be found here.

The CCG and Northumberland County Council have now received notification of its approval by the Ofsted’s Regional Director which is available to read here.

The Department for Education, alongside NHS England, will work closely with the CCG and  Northumberland County Council to provide feedback and support to enable the Local Area to make the improvements identified by the inspection.

More information about Northumberland services supporting children and young people with SEND aged 0-25 and their families, the local area inspection and how to get involved is on the Northumberland local offer website.