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(UK) Oxfordshire: MORE KIDS SEEKING SPED ASSESSMENTS; 20 wk wait

Dec 23, 2019, Banbury Guardian: Services for children with special educational needs are improving in Oxfordshire, says inspector https://www.banburyguardian.co.uk/education/services-children-special-educational-needs-are-improving-oxfordshire-says-inspector-1348528 This was the finding of a recent Ofsted review of SEND services following a full inspection in 2017. In the report Ofsted described the leaders as having an ‘aspirational vision’ for children with special educational needs and disabilities and inspectors found that leaders across the education, health and care system were taking full responsibility to improve the service…. Ofsted said that three out of five areas that needed reviewing after the 2017 inspection are now making ‘sufficient progress’, while two need further improvement. Inspectors found that parents do not yet feel part of this vision and do not fully understand what work is being done to achieve it. Oxfordshire County Council recognises this challenge and is addressing it with education partners…. Inspectors acknowledged progress in the council’s and Oxfordshire Care Commissioning Group's (OCCG) work to improve the quality of Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans, which identify educational, health and social needs and set out the additional support to meet those needs. More new EHC needs assessments are being completed within the statutory 20 weeks, despite a significant increase in the number of assessment requests. However, overall, the quality of EHC plans remains too variable, not reliably reflecting children, young people and their parents’ aspirations. Ofsted stated it was encouraged by the reduction in the number of school days lost to exclusion: ‘Initiatives to reduce the high level of fixed-term exclusions in mainstream secondary schools are starting to make a difference. The rate of fixed-term exclusions for pupils with social, emotional and mental health needs in secondary schools is also lower than it was in 2017….

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