The Children and Families Act 2014 introduced reforms to benefit children and young people with Special Educational Needs or Disabilities (SEND) and their families.

To ensure that the needs of children and young people with SEND are identified and met effectively Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspect - at least once every five years – the work of what is called a Local Area.

The Durham Local Area is a partnership of organisations including Durham County Council, Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), Public Health, NHS England, early years settings, schools, further education providers that support Children and Young People with SEND.

Ofsted and CQC inspectors consider how children and young people with special educational needs or disabilities (or both) are identified, how their needs are assessed and met, and how they are supported and prepared to move on to their next stage of education, the world of work and adulthood. You can find out more by reading the Inspection Framework for Local Areas and an Inspection Handbook.

Local Area Inspection 2017

The Durham Local Area’s most recent inspection took place in November 2017, with its findings published in January 2018. The inspection report can be viewed and downloaded from the Ofsted website.

In response to the report – speaking on behalf of Durham County Council; Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust; County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust; and local Clinical Commissioning Groups - Margaret Whellans, the council’s Corporate Director for Children and Young People’s Services, said:

“We welcome the fact that inspectors saw a lot of strengths in the work of the local area, particularly identifying children’s needs, providing high-quality services for vulnerable young people, preparing care leavers for adulthood and making sure children feel safe and well cared for.”

“We also acknowledge that, as a partnership of education, health and social care providers, we could improve the services for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities.

“We recognise many of the areas for development which have been highlighted by the inspectors as in many instances these challenges have already been identified.”

“Partners are working together to address these concerns and, with parents, carers and communities, we will ensure improvements are made.”

SEND Written Statement of Action

The Local Area Inspection identified four key areas of development for County Durham and have asked that as a Local Area we work together to produce a Written Statement of Action (WSoA).

The Local Area SEND Partnership have responded to the WSoA with an improvement plan which has been approved by the Ofsteds Regional HMI, please see below:

The Local Area response to the WSoA has seen progress across a range of services.  Details of progress can be found in the summary document.  A copy of the full document is also available to view. 

We are expecting the inspection team to revisit Durham later this year to consider the progress that has been made.


Further information


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