The Care Quality Commission and Ofsted have published the outcome of a recent inspection of services for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) in Wolverhampton.  

It highlights both areas of good practice and those which require further development and a Written Statement of Action is being prepared detailing how improvements will be made.
The 'Local Area' review looked at how well the City of Wolverhampton Council, the Black Country and West Birmingham Clinical Commissioning Group, the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust, Black Country Healthcare NHS Trust, Early Years’ settings, schools and further education providers identify, assess and meet the needs of children and young people with SEND and, ultimately, improve outcomes for them.
Inspectors used a range of information and methods to assess performance, reading case files, observing practice, attending meetings and holding discussions with children and young people, their parents and carers and with professionals.
Councillor Dr Michael Hardacre, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, said: "Giving children and young people the best possible start in life is a top priority for the council and our partners, and that is especially true for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities.
"This inspection by the Care Quality Commission and Ofsted provided an external assessment of where partners are in our continuing journey to transform SEND services in Wolverhampton.
“We fully appreciate that we are not yet at the point we want to be, and there are no surprises in this report.
“Inspectors agreed with us as to the areas where performance is strong, with very positive feedback about the support and provision which is available in Early Years and the effectiveness of collaborative working between the council and partners such as health and outreach services.
“They were also clear about the areas where we must improve, such as the timeliness, quality and consistency of Education, Health and Care Plans and the need to develop a joint commissioning strategy.
“These are already acknowledged as key priorities in the city’s Joint SEND Strategy and were clearly highlighted in the self-assessment we presented as part of the inspection process.
"Inspectors also recognised the impact that Covid-19 has had on the local area's ability to implement SEND reforms but that SEND is now appropriately high on the agenda of the council and our partners.
“We believe the robust Written Statement of Action which is in development will put partners in a good place from which to drive forward the necessary improvements to ensure that all our children and young people with SEND and their families get the help and support they deserve.
"In the meantime I would like to thank everyone who played a part in the process, including children, young people, families and professionals who were able to share their real life experiences of SEND services in Wolverhampton with the inspection team.”
Sally Roberts, Chief Nurse for the Black Country and West Birmingham Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “I welcome the report, which comes at a time when we are all reflecting on the impact of Covid-19 and taking action to rectify areas of concern.
“It is clear that the pandemic has negatively affected access to some health services and I am aware of how unsettling any wait can be for a child and their family in need of support.
“Improvements are happening as our services restore and we will be working with partners to take steps to ensure we are able to offer better support for children and families with their health and educational needs moving forwards.”
Sarah Baker, Chair of parent carer forum Voice4Parents, added: "Voice4Parents welcomed the opportunity to highlight SEND voices in Wolverhampton throughout the inspection.
"Areas for improvement are priorities that were already identified by Voice4Parents and raised with the local authority and the CCG, and we thank all parents and carers for their constant feedback and input. This will shape future work from the Written Statement of Action to help improve outcomes for families."

The report is available to read in the Downloads section.