Local Area Inspection

The Children and Families Act 2014 introduced reforms that will 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) have developed an inspection framework.

The inspection will take place at least once in a five year period and will inspect the Local Area, not just Durham County Council. The Local Area includes the council, clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), public health, NHS England, early years settings, schools and further education providers. The inspectors will also ask for views from families and young people.

When will the inspection take place?

The inspection can take place at any point during the usual school term time. The council will be notified five working days before the inspection is due to start.

What happens during the inspection?

The inspection will not normally last for more than five days. There will be three inspectors including:

  • Her Majesty’s Inspector (leads the inspection)
  • Ofsted Inspector
  • CQC Inspector

The inspectors will be trying to answer three questions:

  1. Identifying needs: How effectively does the Local Area identify children and young people who have Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities?
  2. Meeting needs: How effectively does the Local Area assess and meet the needs of children and young people who have Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities?
  3. Improving outcomes: How effectively does the Local Area improve outcomes for children and young people who have Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities?

The inspectors will visit a range of early years settings, schools, further education and health providers within the Local Area. They will also meet and talk with senior managers and representatives with responsibility for SEND in the Local Area, as well as to children, young people, parents and carers.

Inspectors will not undertake observations of teaching and learning or service delivery.  No evaluations will be made about the overall quality of the individual providers or services visited.

There is now an Inspection Framework for Local Areas and an Inspection Handbook.

What happens after the inspection?

The inspectors will provide feedback on their findings and tell us where we can improve and where we are doing well.

The council receive an inspection letter that outlines the initial findings of the inspection. The council and CCG will be able to comment on factual matters in the report.

The final report will be published on the Ofsted and CQC websites within 33 days.

Further information

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