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23 May 2019

Cumbria responds to Special Educational Needs and Disabilities inspection report

Cumbria’s collective commitment to meeting the needs of children and young people with Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities (SEND) is being reaffirmed today following publication of a new joint inspection report from Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission.

The report is available here.

The inspection, which was carried out at the end of March, looked at how effective services provided by the Local Authority, local NHS and schools were in meeting the education, health and care needs of children and young people with SEND, and specifically whether required reforms set out Children and Families Act 2014 had been implemented.

The inspection report identifies a range of strengths in service provision, including educational outcomes, early years health support and the quality and commitment of staff working directly with children and families. However, the report concludes that there are weaknesses in service provision and more needs to be done improve their quality and consistency to ensure children and young people’s needs being are met across the county. Cumbria must now produce a plan setting out how it will address the report’s findings.

In response John Macilwraith, Executive Director - People, both at Cumbria County Council, Peter Rooney, Chief Operating Officer at North Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group and Hilary Fordham, Chief Operating Officer at Morecambe Bay Clinical Commissioning Group, have issued the following joint statement:

“Improving services for children and young people with SEND is a priority for all of us. Services should be consistently good across the whole county. We welcome the report findings. They reflect our own self-evaluation and confirm that while there is much work to do, we are moving in the right direction. We are pleased that inspectors found many examples of where services are working well, and that the quality and dedication of staff working with children and families was recognised.

 “We are committed to getting it right for children and young people with SEND and we are working together, alongside parents and carers, to respond to the inspection findings and make improvements.”

Cllr Sue Sanderson, Cabinet Member for Schools and Learning at Cumbria County Council, added:

 “We were aware that parts of our services were not good enough for children and young people and it is a priority for us to see services improve. This is a complex and challenging area of work which is under severe pressure as a result of increasing demand on services and the increasing complexity of children’s needs. Put simply the funding we, and schools, receive from government has not kept pace with this increase in demand and this has an impact on children and young people.

 “The report is helpful as it provides further evidence that we are moving in the right direction and we will continue to improve our services despite the pressures and restrictions we are dealing with.”


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Cumbria’s collective commitment to meeting the needs of children and young people with Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities (SEND) is being reaffirmed today following publication of a new joint inspection report from Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission.