We are pleased to announce some Christmas cheer! Following a long-running campaign from NDCS, the Government has today announced that they are recommending the future inspection of local SEN services!
Many deaf children rely on support from local authority services for children with special educational needs (SEN). Currently, the quality of support that these children get from visiting Teachers of the Deaf and local authority SEN services has received virtually no scrutiny from Ofsted inspectors at all. It has been up to parents to police these services and report any issues.
Today the Department for Education released a statement saying that the Minister:
“has today also invited Ofsted to formally inspect local areas on their effectiveness in fulfilling their new duties. They will do this along with the Care Quality Commission and a local authority officer.
It is hoped that robust and rigorous inspections will ensure that parents and young people receive as much information as possible about what is being offered.”
NDCS has long been calling for greater scrutiny of these services as part of the Stolen Futures campaign. We’ve argued that it’s easier for local authorities to cut services for deaf children if they know they won’t be held to account for the impact of these cuts by Ofsted. Getting Ofsted to inspect services was one of the key asks in the Stolen Futures parliamentary debate last year – which only came about because 51,000 campaigners signed a petition calling for a debate.
However the hard work is not over yet. We still need to see the detail of how the new Ofsted inspections will work and make sure that proper attention is paid to services for deaf children. We won’t stop until local authority services for deaf children are properly held to account for failing to close the attainment gap between deaf and hearing children.
We will continue to keep you updated. In the meantime, we’d like to thank all of our members for their persistence and patience in campaigning on this issue. Merry Christmas everyone and a Happy New Year! See you in 2015!