Support for young people with special educational needs in North Yorkshire is improving, experts have found, but change is needed when it comes to sharing information with carers.
Inspectors visited the region over the summer and in October, meeting with children and young people, parents, teachers and care providers. The assessment, carried out jointly between Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission (CQC), aimed to judge how effectively the authority is implementing reforms for those young people with special educational needs or disabilities (SEND).
It found that while there were clear indicators of progress, such as speedy referral systems, strong support networks, and an “ambitious culture” for change, there were areas for development.
There is an inequality of provision in some areas such as Northallerton, the assessment found, with too few health professionals and unnecessarily long waiting lists for support such as speech and language therapy. More specialist support is also needed for children before they start school, inspectors found, while there is also a lack of provision for young adults once they turn 19.
“There is an ambitious culture which is beginning to empower change,” said inspector Ian Hardman, commenting on strong practice in early identification of need as well as access to provision. But, he added, carers weren’t always aware of their options. “The local offer does not give parents and carers a comprehensive understanding of the support available - this needs further development,” he said.
County Coun Janet Sanderson, executive member for children and young people’s service said: “We are transforming our services so that we can give all children and young people the most effective support and access to the highest standards of teaching and learning. Inspectors have praised leaders for their knowledge of both strengths and areas for development and we are determined to continue to strengthen our service even further.”