Bristol City Council has published an action plan to address failings highlighted last year by Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission (CQC).
The local authority has published a Written Statement of Action to address the findings of an inspection into its Special Education Needs and Disabilities (SEND) service, which was originally made public in December.
Last year’s joint report by the two watchdogs said the SEND service is ‘not fit for purpose and disturbingly poor’ and highlighted several areas requiring improvement, including its Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) statutory processes, high numbers of fixed term exclusions and a lack of awareness of the Local Offer.
The Written Statement of Action is the local area’s plan to improve key areas identified in the Ofsted/CQC report and has been approved by the watchdogs.
Bristol’s cabinet lead member for education and skills, Cllr Anna Keen said work to improve SEND was already well underway prior the Ofsted/CQC inspection.
‘The current issues in SEND, including EHCP process delays, have been built up over a long period of time so we know there are no quick fixes,’ said Cllr Keen.
‘However, we have been working at pace to improve SEND, including significantly increasing the size of our SEND team to improve EHCP timescales, which we know have a significant impact on families with SEND.
‘It was important to us to co-produce the Written Statement of Action with parents and carers. It means we now have a roadmap for tackling each of the areas highlighted by Ofsted and the CQC in depth alongside our partners in health and schools, which will help us deliver the improvements we know our families with SEND want to see.’
Bristol’s director for education and skills, Alison Hurley, added: ‘Now with Ofsted and CQC approval of our Written Statement of Action, we are embarking on our improvement journey with what we believe is realistically achievable.
‘Given our very low starting point, we know that it will take longer than 18 months to fully achieve our ambitions and meet our obligations under the SEND Code of Practice in terms of issuing EHCPs and completing annual reviews, as well as gaining parental trust and confidence in the SEND system. However, our aspiration is far greater than many of the targets set out in the document, and our plans will reflect this.’
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