Following a revisit by Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission in January, the Local Area has been deemed to be making ‘sufficient progress’ in the six of the areas of weakness identified in the written statement of action, but has not made sufficient progress in two – coproduction with parents and children; and quality of EHC Plans.
The Staffordshire Parent Carer Forum held a meeting with the inspection team on 18 January and fed in to them the views of parents and carers based on the information which you shared with us through the survey carried out in January and through our ongoing interaction with parents and carers.
The Local Area has made some changes to put in place the structures required to improve services and outcomes for our children. We welcome that. But we have also been clear both to Ofsted and in our regular meetings with different parts of the Local Authority, that many families tell us that they are not yet feeling or seeing an improvement. And that serious concerns remain – especially around the quality of ECH Plans and having the voices of parents, carers, children and young people with SEND fully heard.
The Staffs PCF is a new group, set up to support coproduction with the Local Area. Our engagement so far has been one of transparent and constructive partnership. We hope and anticipate that will continue. We are pleased that the inspectors recognised the role of our group in coproduction of certain activities. But we also recognise that we need to ensure we are integrated more fully into other Local Area processes, and build on the foundations we laid last year to reach out to more parents and carers across Staffordshire and make sure we are truly representative of those voices.
Working with parents, carers and other advocacy and support groups, we must ensure that SEND remains a top priority and that the efforts made by the Local Area are redoubled to embed the progress where it has been made, and to step up the action in the areas that so desperately still need it.
We need to hear from parents and carers about their lived experiences so please join us to help make a real difference to the lives of our children and young people with SEND.