Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) have published a new area SEND inspection framework.

This new framework came into effect in January 2023. This time there will be more focus on children and young people’s actual journeys, as opposed to inspecting processes.

They will focus on experiences and outcomes of children and young people with SEND; and how local area partners work together to plan, evaluate and develop the SEND system.

The breadth of the inspection will cover all SEND, including SEN Support, and those children and young people in alternative provisions as well as those with EHC Plans.

The inspection findings and outcomes will be published and where appropriate, recommendations will be made to the Local Area SEND Partnership about what they should do to improve the SEND arrangements it has in place for children and young people.

Bromley’s Joint Local Area SEND Inspection under the previous framework took place in September 2019. Full outcome letter from Bromley's 2019 inspection.

When is Bromley’s next local area SEND inspection?

We do not know when Bromley's inspection will start. Inspection guidelines say that the local authority partnerships will be contacted on a Monday morning. The three week inspection begins as soon as inspectors contact us.

What will inspectors be looking for?

Under the new framework it will remains important for local area SEND partnerships to meet their legal duties. Inspectors also think that local area partnerships should do more than meet their legal duties. They should be improving the lives of children and young people with SEND. Inspectors will be checking to see that this is happening in each local area they inspect.

If you would like to read in detail about how our local area will be inspected, you can find inspection information for parent carers and children and young people (GOV.UK).

Summary of what inspectors will be looking at

  • Whether children and young people’s needs are identified accurately and assessed in a timely and effective way.
  • Whether children, young people and their families participate in decision-making about their individual plans and support.
  • Whether children and young people receive the right help and support at the right time.
  • Whether children and young people are well prepared for their next steps and achieve strong outcomes.
  • Whether children and young people with SEND are valued, visible and included in their communities.
  • Whether leaders are ambitious for children and young people with SEND
  • Whether leaders actively engage and work with children, young people and families.
  • Whether leaders have an accurate, shared understanding of the needs of children and young people in their local area.
  • Whether leaders commission services and provision to meet the needs and aspirations of children and young people.
  • Whether leaders evaluate services and make improvements.
  • Whether leaders create an environment for effective practice and multi-agency working to flourish.

What happens during the inspection and how will children and young people and their parents and carers be involved?

Week one of the inspection

The local area SEND partnership will collate information the inspection team request and require.

Inspectors will want to hear from local children and young people who have SEND and their parents and carers and they will share an inspection survey for you to complete

Week two of the inspection

Inspectors will review the information provided by the local area SEND partnership. Then they prepare an inspection timetable.

Inspectors may also hold virtual meetings with representative groups and stakeholders.

Week three of the inspection

Meetings with children and young people with SEND and with parents and carers.

During this week, inspectors will be on site in the borough. During this time inspectors will meet with groups of children and young people to understand how the local authority and its partners work with them and the impact of this engagement and work.

They will also want to hear about their experiences and outcomes of and how the local area SEND partnership could improve its arrangement for children and young people with SEND.

Inspectors will meet with local parents and carers during the inspection to understand the impact of the local areas SEND arrangements on their child and the wider family as well as to identify effective practice and how the area’s practice could improve.

Inspectors will meet with representatives of the local Department for Education funded Parent Carer Forum - and or other representative groups of parent carers to discuss their views on effective practice and how the local area SEND partnership could improve its effectiveness and arrangements.

What happens after the inspection?

There will be a report published which identifies one of three possible outcomes for the local area SEND partnership.

All local area SEND partnerships will be subject to annual engagement meetings with Ofsted and CQC inspectors. These are not formal inspections but are a part of the new inspection framework.

Depending on the outcome of the inspection we may be subject to monitoring inspections. The published outcome will determine when we have the next inspection.

There will be new outcomes (results) for the area post-inspection.

  1. Where the local area partnership’s arrangements typically lead to positive experiences and outcomes for children and young people with SEND.  The local area is taking action where improvements are needed, the area will be visited again for a full inspection within five years.
  2. Where the local area partnership’s arrangements lead to inconsistent experiences and outcomes for children and young people with SEND. The local area partnership must work jointly to make improvements. There will be regular engagement meeting to monitor progress and a full inspection within three years.
  3. And finally, where there are widespread failings, and significant concerns, there will be engagement meetings, an action plan will have to be submitted, a monitoring inspection within 18 months and a full inspection within three years.

Further information

This information can help families and service providers understand the legal duties related to SEND and the new local area inspection process

SEND code of practice 2015 

Parents SEND reforms guide