Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) Local Area Inspections | Oxfordshire County Council

Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) Local Area Inspections

Information about the inspection and how to prepare

SEND Reforms

In September 2014, a number of SEND reforms set out in the Children and Families Act 2014 came into force.

The principles underpinning the new responsibilities in the Act focus on the importance of:

  • the views, wishes and feelings of children
  • the participation of children and their parents in decision making
  • providing children and their parents with information and advice to support participation, and
  • achieving the best possible outcomes for children

These responsibilities sit alongside the requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage and the Equality Act 2010.

This Council for Disabled Children’s briefing explains more about what the SEND reforms mean for you as an early years provider.

Focus of the inspections

Under a new SEND inspection framework Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) will examine how effectively the local area (Oxfordshire) is fulfilling its duties under the Children and Families Act 2014.

The inspection will focus on:

  1. How effectively Oxfordshire is identifying children and young people with SEND.
  2. How effectively Oxfordshire meets the needs and improves the outcomes of children and young people with SEND.
  3. Evidence of how all partners are contributing to improving outcomes for children and young people with SEND as a whole.

All local areas will be inspected over a five year period starting from May 2016. The Inspection Framework and Inspection Handbook are expected in April.

The inspection visit

The inspection team will consist of an lead HMI inspector, a CQC inspector and a local authority Ofsted trained inspector. During their visit the inspectors will choose a range of education providers to visit, including a number of early years settings.

If your setting is chosen as part of their visit the inspectors will not be inspecting your provision, but will focus on your understanding of the SEND reforms and ability to work collaboratively to meet children’s needs.

During the inspection there will be a strong emphasis on gathering the views of children and their parents and inspectors will want to find out what has changed since the SEND reforms were introduced. They will look closely at SEN support, early identification and the outcomes achieved for all children with SEN and disabilities, not just those with an EHC Plan. This may involve tracking specific children through the education, health and care system to review how effectively Oxfordshire has supported them.

Preparing for the inspection

To practically prepare for the inspection you should:

  • ensure your website includes information on SEND and links to the Local Offer,
  • ensure that the SEN Information report is updated annually,
  • ensure your managers, practitioners and SENCOs are aware of what the inspection will entail,
  • review how you capture data on outcomes and share this with partners, and
  • consider how the children you work with and their parents could be at the centre of an Ofsted visit.

Some questions you might consider when preparing for inspection are:

Identifying need

  • How would you evidence timely identification of need?
  • How would you evidence that you use information gathered through the graduated approach to understand need, set outcomes and plan support?
  • Can you give examples of where children and parents were involved?
  • How would you evidence that you and other professionals worked well together?

Meeting need and improving outcomes

  • How do you know that a child’s needs are being met?
  • How and what information do you collect to evidence that your provision is working?
  • Do you have rigorous and purposeful procedures for recognising and recording children’s progress that support their achievement?
  • What is ‘good progress’?
  • How do you know children and parents are satisfied that the needs of their children are being met and progress is being made?
  • In what ways do you/could you feedback to the local authority about gaps in provision?
  • Do your staff have the appropriate expertise to support children with SEN and disabilities and how well do they use learning resources, including assistive technology, to overcome barriers to achieving their learning goals?
  • Can you evidence that children with SEN and disabilities participate in good quality and individually tailored learning programmes. How well coordinated is your specialist support, including speech and language development and behaviour management?


You can find out more about the inspections by watching an Ofsted film about the new framework.

Useful information:

Last reviewed
12 July 2017
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