A 'well organised and coherent' improvement programme is underway to further improve services and support for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and their families in Wolverhampton.

The Wolverhampton SEND Partnership Board is currently implementing a number of steps contained within a Written Statement of Action which was developed following a 'Local Area Review' of SEND services by Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission last autumn.

The review highlighted a number of areas of good practice, as well as areas which require further development. The Written Statement of Action details the steps that either are being, or will be, taken by partners to further improve SEND services in the city.

A recent review meeting with the Department for Education concluded that the SEND Partnership Board is taking "full responsibility and oversight" for the Written Statement of Action, and that a recent monitoring visit "evidenced a well organised and coherent improvement programme underpinned by a strong focus on co-production and outcomes for children and young people with SEND".

The delivery of the Written Statement of Action is "progressing well" within 3 key areas and, while it is slightly behind in others, this is mainly due to service restructures and is expected to be back on track by the end of the year.

A cross party reference group has been established including politicians from the council's Labour and Conservative Groups who are "committed and supportive of the proposals for improvement in Local Area SEND services and the Action Plan". Meanwhile, SEND 'champions' are supporting and embedding SEND expertise across Wolverhampton, bolstering the Local Offer.

Councillor Chris Burden, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Education, Skills and Work, said: "We want to ensure all our children and young people have the best possible start in life, and this is especially true for those children and young people with SEND.

"The Local Area Review was an important assessment of where we are at as a city. The inspection team agreed with us as to the areas where performance is strong, and about those areas where we as a local area must improve. 

"The Written Statement of Action was developed to help drive forward further improvements, and I am pleased that the recent review meeting with the Department for Education found that the SEND Partnership Board is making good progress in implementing it.

"This is a good, solid start and the council, and our partners, will continue to work at pace to ensure that children and young people with SEND in Wolverhampton get the help and support they need, and they deserve."

The Local Area Review looked at how well the council, the Black Country and West Birmingham Integrated Care Board, The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust, the Black Country Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, Early Years’ settings, schools and further education providers identify, assess and meet the needs of children and young people with SEND.