Introduction to SEND and Oxfordshire's action plan

What special educational needs and disability mean, our recent inspection and our action plan.

Local Offer Oxfordshire

What we mean by 'special educational needs'

You may have been told, or you may have concerns that your child has special educational needs (SEN) because they are finding it harder to learn than other children of the same age. This may be a need related to:

  • communicating or mixing with others
  • mental health
  • thinking and understanding
  • sight or hearing
  • physical development
  • social or emotional development.

Is SEN the same as disability?

A disability is a physical or mental impairment that has a long term and substantial negative impact on daily life.

Not all children with special educational needs are considered to be disabled. At the same time, a child or young person may be disabled but will only have special educational needs if the disability impacts on his or her learning.

Whether a child or young person has a disability or special educational needs or both there are laws and guidance to help ensure that their needs are recognised and supported.

The local offer and Code of Practice for SEN and Disability (2014)

The Code of Practice for SEN and Disability (2014) sets out guidance on how the needs of children and young people with SEN or disability should be met. 

Oxfordshire's local offer has been developed with parents and young people. Details of the development and what we have done in response to suggestions for improving it are in our document Preparing and reviewing Oxfordshire’s Local Offer (pdf format, 233Kb).

Review and report

The local offer is reviewed every six months and the reports include page view statistics, feedback, you said/we did, and key developments.

The SEND inspection process

The Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) 0-25 years inspection took place between 25 and 27 September 2017.

During the week, the inspectors:

  • visited ten education providers (early years, primary, secondary, special schools and a college)
  • held 26 meetings
  • selected 100 cases to review
  • listened to parents views through a webinar and an open meeting
  • spoke with children and young people.

Final inspection report

Inspectors broadly agreed with the local area’s plan, but highlighted some areas that Oxfordshire needs to work on. The final inspection report is published here (pdf format).

Written statement of action

As a result of the inspection the local area was required to develop a written statement of action (WSoA) (pdf format, 949Kb).

Ofsted's response to the written statement of action

Ofsted's response to the WSoA (pdf format, 225Kb)

SEND Programme Board

The SEND Programme Board has been re-configured, under the chairmanship of the Cabinet member for Education and Public Health, and will monitor progress against the WSoA. The SEND Programme Board meets monthly.

Membership of the board includes parents and high level strategic representatives from across education, health and care.

The board is committed:

  • to be the driving force behind the implementation of the SEND reforms, ensuring pace and strategic direction.
  • to provide oversight of the SEND local area action plan incorporating the post-inspection written statement of action as the body for ensuring it is delivered effectively.
  • to monitor and challenge the pace of progress on actions within the SEND local area action plan.
  • to receive reports and updated actions from work streams relating to the SEND local area action plan.
  • to challenge and support the achievements of actions from the work streams.
  • to be responsible for ensuring that the principle of co-production is embedded in all development work.
  • to listen to the voice of children, young people and families to ensure that this supports and informs developments

Quarterly monitoring visits are also taking place with representatives from the Department for Education and NHS, who are providing support and challenge around the actions being taken. These will continue for the next year. Progress is updated on the WSoA rag rating.


Strategic overview

We have produced a SEND local area strategic overview plan (pdf format, 279Kb) to summarise what we think is good and what needs to improve in Oxfordshire.