Child learning

SEND services in Northumberland make progress thanks to cultural change

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Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) services in Northumberland have been recognised for making progress on areas of weakness and for making a cultural change by Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

In May inspectors spoke with parents and carers of children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities and met with Northumberland County Council and Northumberland NHS Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) officers.

They spoke with frontline practitioners from education, health and care services in the area and reviewed a range of performance data and information including the area’s SEND strategy, self-evaluation, joint commissioning strategy and outcomes framework.

Councillor Guy Renner-Thompson, cabinet member with responsibility for children’s services, said: “As an authority we are keen to ensure children in Northumberland with special educational needs and/or disabilities are given the best start in life and have an opportunity to reach their full potential.”

“We are pleased with the outcome of the revisit and how effectively the authority together with the CCG has addressed areas of weakness, and officers will take on board what progress still needs to be made.”

The SEND Strategic Partnership Board oversees the delivery of the newly launched SEND Strategy which describes the areas of support that will be focused on over the next three years. Northumberland County Council, Northumberland NHS Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), and partner organisations are delivering the strategic priorities of:
  • working together
  • providing the right support at the right time
  • Inclusive education and success for all learners
  • effectively preparing children and young people for adulthood
The board is committed to giving all children the best start in life and supporting them to reach their full potential. All Northumberland’s children and young people with Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities (SEND) should have the opportunity to develop their independence and resilience, to enable them to become confident adults who live fulfilled and productive lives. 
Cath McEvoy-Carr, Executive Director for Adult and Children’s Service’s said: “I want to firstly take this opportunity to thank the parents and carers, children and young people who played a vital role in this revisit.

“It was an extremely important visit to us as an authority to ensure we are doing everything we can to support those families, children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities.  

“And, whilst we are pleased with the outcomes, and the recognition for having made a cultural change, we know we still have a long way to go, and we will continue to work to address those areas highlighted in the report.”

The re-visits findings have now been published and can be viewed here.

Siobhan Brown, Chief Operating Officer of Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group said: "We are pleased the revisit has recognised improvements made to collectively commissioned services and are passionate about continued progress in this priority area for children, young people and their families."

Parents, carers, professionals or those with an interest in SEND services in Northumberland can now sign up to an e-newsletter via the Local Offer. Head to  

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