Ofsted / CQC SEND revisit

In July 2022, Ofsted and the CQC revisited our Local Area to assess the SEND service on offer in Central Bedfordshire. The inspection looked at the entire SEND offer including the six already identified areas of weaknesses. Improvements were recognised across the board, with some services progressing better than others, allowing them to stop monitoring three areas no longer classed as weaknesses. Work is continuing in all areas of the SEND Local Area to make sure what is on offer to children and young people is the very best it can be.

An accelerated progress plan has been submitted to the Department for Education (DfE) and NHS England (NHSE) for their approval. This plan is the Local Area’s commitment to bring SEND services up to a high standard - with everyone feeling the benefits. Work is already underway and has been for some time to make sure SEND children and young people are getting the support they need and deserve.

 The Accelerated Progress Plan focuses on the following:

  • Improving the timeliness of new EHC Plans and reducing the backlog of EHC Needs Assessments through a robust recovery plan. This includes weekly reporting through a high-level monitoring group with senior management oversight. This is combined with delivery of a package of early intervention support for schools, settings and the parent/carer community to ensure children and young people’s needs are identified and met early.
  • Improving the quality of EHC Plans through enhanced quality assurance processes, including implementation of a new multi-agency EHCP audit process and enhanced training across the SEND system.
  • Improving timeliness and effectiveness of annual reviews (ARs) through a new tracking system. Our SEND Advisory Teachers (SENDATs) are also attending a sample of ARs and using a number of measures, including (i) whether the annual review has taken place within 12 months; (ii) ensuring that attainment has been compared to outcomes; (iii) ensuring that parent/carer and child/young person’s views have been captured before the annual review. SENDATs are also tracking implementation of provision in Section F (the special educational provision) of the EHCP.
  • Enhancing mechanisms for ensuring oversight of children and young people achieving good outcomes, including those out of area. This includes utilizing external training and support, including RISE partnership offer (consisting of the Council for Disabled Children and the National Development Team for Inclusion) for support around developing an outcomes-based approach to data.
  • Ensuring that the impact of SEND improvements is being widely felt by parent/carers and young people by making improvements to the method and frequency of capturing and analysing parent/carer satisfaction more regularly, and showing how issues are being addressed.

Below are some immediate actions taken, and once the DfE and NHSE approves the accelerated progress plan, we will use this page to keep you updated on the ongoing progress:

Education Health and Care Plans (EHCPs)

We know the EHCP process isn’t where we want it to be, and delays to accessing a high-quality, well-informed plan simply aren’t good enough, as well as timely annual reviews. That’s why we have carried out training and are implementing a new multi-agency EHCP audit process involving Education, Health, Social Care and parents/carers. It has been tested at other local authorities and proven to be effective. We’ve also got a new system in place that tracks the progress of annual reviews better and lets us know if things aren’t moving forward.

Our SEND Advisory Teachers have committed to visiting 100% of schools in CBC this academic year to complete an audit of an EHCP and ensure that the provision is in place. As well as this, they are visiting over 10% of schools to attend annual reviews and check the quality of communication before, during and after the review. They continue to remind schools of their duties in ensuring annual reviews are held on time and meet statutory requirements.

 We have carried out two training sessions so far on our new multi-agency EHCP audit, which has been attended by 34 attendees (including 4 parent representatives from SNAP PCF). Following feedback from SNAP PCF, we will be refining the audit process further and delivering more training sessions, prior to rolling out the audit.

CAMHS has continued to audit the quality of their advice for EHC needs assessments – the audits have demonstrated improved quality of advice from practitioners who have attended the SEND compliance training.


As well as audit training, a number of other training sessions have been planned. All SEN officers and the SENDATs are attending National Association for Special Educational Needs (NASEN) training on the EHCNA process in the new term to ensure that the decisions made around an EHCNA are fair and robust, and we are delivering training to SENCOs around the evidence that will support their request for a needs assessment.

All new colleagues to the SEND Team will be trained by IPSEA (the Independent Provider of Special Education Advice) in February 2023, along with education, health and social care colleagues who attend the Early Intervention panel.

Emotional Literacy Support Assistant training has been delivered by our Education Psychology (EP) service. 16 Teaching Assistants in schools are fully trained and will receive ongoing supervision from the EP service.

All schools will be offered the opportunity to engage in whole school training on Precision Teaching from January 2023.

Co-production e-learning is now going through a sign-off process to make it mandatory for all staff in Children’s Services.

Preparing for Adulthood (PFA)

We have now developed a Preparing for Adulthood workstream. We are going to identify the gaps in our current offer using the National Development Team for Inclusion’s (NDTi) audit tools and then co-produce a new PfA action plan.     

Medical needs assessments

We also have a fully developed webpage which lets parents notify the Local Authority and report any concerns where their child has been placed on a part-time timetable (PTT). This will be launched on the Access and Inclusion Schools Portal web pages, with a link from the Local Offer website. The development of the Local Authority’s response to part-time timetables will also be part of the School Attendance Strategy which, alongside Section 19 arrangements (Education Act 1996) will ensure that young people receive the education they are entitled to.

Specialist Places

Our Specialist School Place Plan sets out how we will create more of the right school places for the future which will meet children’s need, based on feedback from parents and carers and our forecast of need.

We have also submitted an application to the Department for Education to open a special free school in Central Bedfordshire.

We’re committed to our plan and keeping you updated on the progress made and how we are making the SEND service better for all.