Hello and welcome to this edition of SEND News. Last week a team of inspectors visited Somerset to look at how education, health and care services support children and young people with SEND across the county.

Somerset was last inspected in 2020, and at that stage inspectors identified things we needed to improve: how services work together and how they involve families; diagnosis services for autism; the consistency of support for SEND and inclusion in schools; and education, health and care plans.

Last week’s inspection was looking at whether we have made enough progress in improving these things. Inspectors visited schools, and heard from children, young people and parent carers, as well as speaking with a range of professionals from health, education and council services. I would like to thank everyone who contributed to this and gave their time and views to support the inspection.

As an area there are things that have improved over the last two years. We have set up a new autism pathway that schools can refer into. More children and young people have an education, health and care (EHC) plan, and these are produced more quickly and are better quality. Families have been involved in these developments and are playing more of a role in our strategic work.

However, we know that there is much more work to do to make things better for our children and young people. Some children get great support for SEND in schools, but this is not always consistent. We need to improve this so that all children’s needs are identified and there is consistently good support for SEND across the county. We need to do more to make sure that all children with an EHC plan get the provision that their plan says. And ultimately, this can mean that too many children with SEND miss out on their education because they are excluded or cannot attend regularly.

The outcome of the inspection will be published in January. We are working to improve services and support for children and young people with SEND, and to address the areas we know we need to focus on. We are currently finalising our SEND Strategy, which is our plan for SEND in Somerset for the next three years.

We want to have as many people’s views as possible from across Somerset to inform the strategy. There is a consultation that closes on the 23 December. You can respond to this using this link: https://somerset.inconsult.uk/SENDstrategy/consultationHome


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About this article

March 29, 2023

Chloe Andrews