Good progress is being made to further improve services for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) in Wolverhampton.

The city’s SEND Partnership Board is currently implementing a number of steps contained within a Written Statement of Action which was developed following the '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 have been, or are being, taken by partners to further improve SEND services in the city.

A review meeting with the Department for Education earlier this summer concluded that Wolverhampton SEND Partnership Board is taking "full responsibility and oversight" for the Written Statement of Action, and its 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 improvements which have taken place in recent months include: 

  • the development of a draft toolkit, co-produced with nearly 100 individuals representing educational settings, education, health and social care professionals and parent carers, to help mainstream schools be better informed about supporting children with SEND
  • the mapping of the existing statutory assessment and review processes to identify issues and to help with the development of improved pathways
  • the appointment of an Inclusion and Attendance Manager and School Improvement Advisor for Children with a Social Worker to improve awareness and tracking of children and young people with SEND who are known to social care to boost educational outcomes
  • the establishment of the SEND youth forum, HY5!, to ensure that all children and young people are heard and feel included through engagement and participation
  • the launch of a regular newsletter, SEND Update, to provide relevant information to stakeholders
  • a successful SEND Information Fun Day hosted by Voice4Parents to share information about the support and services available to children and young people with SEND and their families
  • the start of termly SENCo Network Meetings to help school Special Educational Needs Co-ordinators to provide relevant information to families 
  • preparatory work to relaunch the SEND Local Offer website
  • the establishment of a cross party reference group including politicians from the City of Wolverhampton Council's Labour and Conservative Groups to monitor the implementation of the Written Statement of Action
  • the appointment of SEND 'champions' to support and embed 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 partners are making very good progress in implementing the changes that they need to make. I want to thank the staff who have worked so hard on this, and I welcome the progress thus far.”

He added: "All members of the Wolverhampton SEND Partnership 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.