MK praised for its approach to meeting the needs of children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities

Monday 3 December 2018

Cllr Zoe Nolan with children at Loughton Manor School
Cllr Zoe Nolan at Loughton Manor School - presenting the Children's Inclusion Award

Organisations in the city have been described as ‘united in their ambition for children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) to achieve the very best outcomes,’ in a recent inspection by Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

In a letter presenting their findings, inspectors said leaders and practitioners are determined in their approach to securing continuing improvement and the SEND team successfully use increasingly flexible approaches to work effectively together, keeping children and families as their central focus.

The week long inspection framework was introduced to hold Local Areas to account to ensure the SEND reforms are implemented as expected and the change agenda has been delivered to improve outcomes for children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disability.

Jill Wilkinson, Director of Health and Social Care Integration at NHS Milton Keynes Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Milton Keynes Council commented: “I am especially pleased with the outcome of this most recent inspection.  The Council and CCG have taken a proactive and flexible view and we work extremely closely.  These joint efforts and coordinated approach for children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (are exemplified in this latest report.” 

The inspection was intensive, broad in its focus and involved a wide range of partners, allowing inspectors to have good opportunity to evaluate progress and impact. Activity included: 10 visits to schools and other educational settings, 16 focus groups with a total of 124 participants, dedicated session for parents and young people. The support from all partners meant that the inspection ran smoothly which evidenced the strong partnership working across MK.

Cabinet Member for Children and Families, Cllr Zoe Nolan shared: “I’m so proud of all the work that I know takes place across MK in supporting our children and families with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities and the difference it is making. The inspection is a real testament to the good partnership arrangements that are in place and the dedication of our practitioners who were seen as frequently going “the extra mile” for the children and families with whom they work. I know they are passionate about what they do. I also agree with the inspector’s view that we are united in our ambition to achieve more but am delighted to have the approach we take so resoundingly recognised.”

As the inspections have become established, there has been an increase Local Areas being required to write statements of action, something that has not been necessary for Milton Keynes. 53% of those inspected since March 2017 have needed to produce such a plan.

Mac Heath, Acting Director of Children’s Services at Milton Keynes council commented: “We started the inspection stating to the inspection team that we knew ourselves well in Milton Keynes including our strengths, challenges and the areas we had identified for development and we are delighted that this has been recognised in the positive inspection feedback received.”

In MK the inspection team identified many strengths and reasons as to why all partners can be proud of what has been achieved to embed the SEND reforms with determination to improve outcomes for children and young people.

Jon Ralphs, Chairperson, Parents and Carers Alliance MK concluded: "We would like to thank the parents, carers, young people and practitioners who took part in the inspection. We look forward to working together to build on the findings of the inspection report, to enable children and young people with SEND to have the best life outcomes."


Notes to editors:

  1. Ofsted and CQC conducted the joint local area SEND inspection from 8-12 October 2018 to judge the effectiveness of the area in implementing the SEND needs reforms as set out in the Children and Families Act 2014.