Work to improve the support for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and their families in Bath and North East Somerset has been praised by inspectors.
Ofsted and Care Quality Commission officials spoke to the council and clinical commissioning group and visited schools, nurseries, health services and other providers to assess how they are reforming their provision in line with recent legislation.
In a report published on Monday, the inspectors praised the leadership, collaborative approach and the relationships that have been forged.
Many parents and carers spoke in glowing terms about the support they had received but the inspectors said a few were much less positive – some “attribute their poor quality of life to the battle they have had to fight for their children”, while others said schools made them feel unwelcome or that their concerns were dismissed.
The inspectors said the council has recognised the inconsistencies in schools’ approach to SEND and was taking steps to improve but “it is early days”.
Other areas they suggested for further development include making better use of education, health and care plans, making online information for families more user-friendly, improving the consistency of inclusive practice across all schools, and ongoing work to close the gaps in educational outcomes for disadvantaged pupils.
B&NES Council corporate director Mike Bowden said: “Although this type of inspection provides a narrative report rather than a grading, it is fantastic to hear that the majority of parents and carers as well as children and young people themselves, have had such good experiences of local services.”
Dr Ian Orpen, who chairs the Bath and North East Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “The inspection findings reflect very positively on the day to day work of a large number of front-line staff across a range of education, health and council services and the wider team.
“Over the last few years they have worked together to effectively implement SEND reforms to improve outcomes for children, young people and their families.
“We are delighted their hard work has been recognised.
“We also welcome the inspectors’ suggestions for where we can improve further to ensure a consistently excellent approach and the best possible outcomes for every family.”
Stephen Sumner, Local Democracy Reporter