Oxfordshire parents to be more involved in their children's special needs

Parents to be more involved in the planning of services for special educational needs provision in Oxfordshire according to health chiefs.

Monday, 30th December 2019, 4:06 pm
Action is being taken over a report that found 'significant weaknesses' in the involvement of parents in SEND plans

The move comes after the watchdog Ofsted called for improvements to 'significant weaknesses' the system in the county in 2017.

In a media statement, Oxfordshire Parent Carers Forum (OPCF) reported that education and health leaders needed to secure more parental buy-in for their vision for special educational needs and disability (SEND) services. This includes improving communication and engagement with parents and working in a more co-productive way.

A letter outlining some improvements but reflecting the seriousness of the weaknesses is here.

Ofsted inspectors said co-production with parents, carers, children and young people was still at a relatively early stage of development in the local area. Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) made their original assessment in 2017 when they found five areas of 'serious' weaknesses in the support provided for children with special education needs and disabilities.

After visiting again last October, inspectors said that the quality of EHC plans needed to consistently reflect the aspiration of young people and their parents.

A OxPCF spokesman said the forum was pleased to see that system leaders have already starting to action some of these changes and now have parents involved at some of their strategic boards. "It is also clear that the local authority has acted on direct feedback to improve services for children where concerns have been raised about provision," she said.

Stephanie Harrison, Co-Chair of OxPCF said: "This report recognises the importance and value of involving parents in the co-production, design and delivery of services in Oxfordshire. The forum is working hard to increase its membership so that more people can influence how services are provided."

Julia Stackhouse, Co-Chair of OxPCF said: "We recognise the improvements that have happened since 2017 and are keen to work more closely with professionals to ensure that parents’ voices are heard and taken account of.

"We are also assured that improvements will continue to be seen as leaders are further scrutinised by the Department of Education and NHS England as a result of these findings."

Oxfordshire Parent Carers Forum welcomed the opportunity to work more closely with the NHS and Oxfordshire County Council to ensure more parents are involved in decisions about provision for special educational needs in the county.

You can find out more about the Oxfordshire Parent Carers Forum here.