Sheffield Council forced to improve ‘unacceptable’ disability provisions in schools

Sheffield councillors have been forced to produce a plan of action to improve disability provisions in schools across the city after a damning report by Ofsted.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 26th March 2019, 9:27 am
Updated Tuesday, 2nd April 2019, 12:01 pm
Primary school pupils during a lesson.
Primary school pupils during a lesson.

Last year Sheffield City Council were told to get their act together and improve SEND, special educational needs and disabled, schools and provisions.

When inspectors visited in November 2018 they found seven ‘significant areas of weakness’, which included: young people’s needs not being met, ‘unacceptable’ waiting times for specialist equipment, poor prioritising of money, ECH reports not being filed on time, a lack of communication with parents and area leaders, poor transitioning from youth to adult services and high levels of exclusions.

But they did also find that many frontline professionals ‘worked hard to make a positive difference’, there was good mental health awareness and vision and hearing screening in reception classes.

The inspection was carried out with 20 focus groups and visits to 12 providers during which inspectors met with parents and young people.

In a letter to the council, Gina White, her Majesty’s chief inspector, said: “A written statement of action is required because of significant areas of weakness in the local area’s practise. The local authority and clincial commissioning group are jointly responsible for submitting the written statements.”

The council and CCG now have until the end of April to respond.

Dawn Walton, director of strategic commissioning andinclusion services, said: “There are a number of consultations taking place at this point in time with key stakeholders and making sure everyone is up to date so far. We will be using all the information we are gathering from these boards to help us to detail the action plan.”

The plans are still being drafted but will generally aim to: create a coordinated vision for the whole city, clearer and more consistent information, improve reporting of data, provide better Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans and provide more support transitioning between children and adult services, among other targets.

They will now decide upon a more detailed action plan going forwards, which they have to present to Ofsted by April 30.