Parent and Carers briefing

SEND Improvement Programme – Early Years Review (including Specialist
Early Years’ Service)
In May 2019 Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission came to Dudley and
undertook an inspection of the joint area SEND (special education needs and
disabilities) of services and provision.

Whilst inspectors found some areas of strong practice, they did also find a number of
areas of significant weakness. However, we were reassured that the inspectors
echoed our self-evaluation and understanding of areas for improvement.
We have now initiated a system/partner-wide SEND improvement programme and
our ​Written Statement of Action (WSoA) action plan was approved by Ofsted in
December 2019.

This was followed by the publication of the co-produced SEND Vision and
Improvement Road Map in July 2020 and this was subsequently updated in August
to reflect parent and carers’ views.

The Road Map places our vision firmly with putting children and young people first at
the heart and with inclusion underpinning everything we do.

We have spent time gathering the data, looking at the numbers of children and
young people who currently need SEND support, how many are likely to need
support in the future and the money there is available to support the system.

We need to ensure that all children receive the most appropriate support in the most
appropriate setting. We want to support nurseries and schools to ensure that the
majority of children and young people are supported within mainstream school.
However, we know that for some children this will not be possible and specialist
provision will always be required. We are fully committed to implementing specialist
one to one support for families to help navigate accessing the right support at the
right time whether that be education, health or social care. This is a fundamental aim
for us in Dudley.

As part of our pathway to addressing the areas of concern raised by the inspection
findings, one of our priorities at the beginning of this year was to undertake an
independent review of Specialist Inclusion Services (SIS) which comprises of six
separate teams and includes the Specialist Early Years’ Service (SEYS).

We are now reviewing all of our Early Years’ Services including SEYS and how we
can effectively support all families with children aged 0-5.

I would like to reassure parents and carers that we are passionate about improving
our offer to our youngest children, but also that we need to achieve this within the
confines of the finite resources available to us.

To this end and in a shared and transparent process, I am setting up an Early Years
Working Group which will include parents and carers to agree a new Integrated Early
Years’ Service.

We appreciate that parents and staff may feel unsettled as we move into this period
of change but through shared aims and mutual trust, we will endeavour to mitigate
any concerns you may have.

We will be working in partnership with, Working Together for Change Dudley Parent
Carer Forum.

An invitation will be shared shortly for 6 parents to join a working group established
to influence the outcome of the Early Years Review and shape an integrated Early
Years’ Service.  We are seeking parents linked to the Parent Carer Forum, Lifted
Spirits and We Love Carers as well as those who are not currently connected to any
of these organisations but who would like to represent the views of other parents
and  have a passion to work with staff from across the partnership in a solution
focused way. Expressions of interest can be made by emailing one of these groups
or via their Facebook pages to find out what is involved.

Please be assured that any decisions or action taken going forward will be in the
best interests of all the children and families that we are working for.
Helen Ellis – Service Director – Education, SEND, Family Solutions
3-5 St James’ Road, Dudley, West Midlands DY1 1HZ
Tel: 01384 812032 / 07827 873509