Ofsted revisit outcome – Director of Education letter

July 28, 2022

You will be aware that Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) recently carried out a joint revisit to Essex. The purpose of the revisit was to evaluate how effectively the Essex local area has addressed the three areas of significant weaknesses identified during the initial SEND inspection in 2019. These areas, along with the agreed plan to address them, are outlined in the SEND Joint Written Statement of Action (JWSOA).

During the revisit, inspectors from both CQC and Ofsted spoke to education, health and social care colleagues, representatives of the Essex Family Forum, children and young people, parents and carers, as well as school, college and early years representatives. They held a series of specific focus groups, ran surveys, and listened to feedback from families.  All parties were able to share their experiences of the improvements made to the SEND system in Essex since 2019.

While there is no formal rating given to local area SEND services, we have been advised that we have made sufficient progress in addressing the areas of significant weakness that the revisit was focused on. You can read the full report from Ofsted and CQC here.

It is important for us to reassure all children and young people with SEND in Essex and their families, that achieving ‘sufficient progress’ does not mean we stop or scale back our efforts to improve our SEND services; a commitment which has been recognised in the revisit and in the revisit outcome letter. We acknowledge that improvements take time to be realised and this may mean some families and young people do not yet feel the impact of the changes we have made. However, we hugely appreciate the feedback from those families who have experienced our new ways of working in Essex, which helps us to confirm that the changes we are making are the right ones and soon these positive experiences will be the norm for all families.

The local area is made up of education, social care and health partners, who have all worked together to achieve this level of progress. Joint working arrangements will continue to be strengthened in the future as we begin working together more closely within Integrated Care Systems.

I would like to thank all the colleagues, families and partners who were involved in the SEND local area revisit as well as those staff members who have work hard to improve our services over the last two years. We remain as committed as ever to improving outcomes for children and families and helping every child in Essex thrive.

Kind Regards,

Clare Kershaw

Chair of the Essex SEND Partnership Board

Director, Education, Essex County Council