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New visits to understand how well children with SEND are prepared for adulthood

Source: Ofsted published on this website Thursday 8 March 2024 by Jill Powell

New guidance from Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) published. This guidance is for the next series of thematic visits looking at how children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) are being prepared for adulthood.

As part of the area SEND inspection arrangements, Ofsted and the CQC will carry out a series of in-depth reviews to explore a particular aspect of the SEND system between spring and summer 2024.

Read the ‘Thematic reviews of preparation for adulthood arrangements in local areas’ guidance.

The visits will consider all phases of a child with SEND’s transition to adulthood, from early years settings through to post-16 education, to get an in-depth picture of how preparation for adulthood (PFA) arrangements are working. These arrangements include any support delivered by local area partners across education, health and social care that focuses on the 4 key pathways for preparation for adulthood based on the ‘SEND code of practice’ – employment, independent living, community inclusion and health. 

Ofsted and the CQC will explore how local area partners work together to make sure their decisions are focused on young people’s interests and aspirations. Evidence will be gathered from key stakeholders, including children and young people with SEND and their families. Inspectors will consider a range of topics including:

  • how young people with SEND are being supported to achieve their full potential. For example, through further education or supported internships
  • how young people with SEND are empowered to make decisions for themselves and live as independently as possible
  • how children and young people with SEND are supported to participate in society
  • how children and young people with SEND are supported to be as healthy as possible in adulthood
  • how local area partners work together to develop and implement strategies for PFA
  • the enablers and barriers to effectively preparing young people with SEND for adulthood

Lee Owston, Ofsted’s National Director for Education:

The current SEND system is not meeting the needs of too many children and their families.

It is vital that every child is provided with the support and guidance they need to thrive and live as independently as possible throughout their adult lives. I hope that these visits provide valuable insight into how we can improve the experiences of children with SEND as the government develops its SEND and alternative provision improvement plan.

Nigel Thompson, Deputy Director of Multiagency Operations at the Care Quality Commission:

When children, young people and their families face times of transition it is not only vital that services understand their needs, but also that those children, young people and their families are involved in and prepared for the change.

Looking at people’s experiences alongside Ofsted, we will be able to explore how agencies and health care providers are working together where improvements can be made and share good practice.