Sophia James, Policy and Campaigns Officer, National Deaf Children’s Society
After a long period of waiting, the moment has finally arrived. Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission have begun inspecting special educational needs services across England.
It was all hands on deck last week when notice of two inspections landed in our inboxes. If you are lucky enough to live in Bolton or Brighton and Hove, you may have been aware that deaf young people and parents in that area have been asked to contribute. For the first two inspections, the method of choice has been online webinars. A webinar is an online meeting anyone can join where the lead inspector will give an overview of why these inspections are taking place and ask a series of questions about how children’s needs are being met and identified in that area.
When notice hits you have five days to take action. Your challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to feedback about services for deaf children and young people in your area. In my opinion, this is your five days to save the world. Your feedback could be crucial at highlighting failings in local services. It could put pressure on local authorities and health services to bring about the changes needed to improve support for deaf children and young people.
We still have our reservations about the process and accessibility but we’ll be working with Ofsted over the coming weeks to ensure that these inspections are as open and effective as possible.
So when that email lands in your inbox, please attend the webinar or ask the lead contact at your local council to pass on your feedback to the lead inspector. You can contact us if you like but please, please take action. After all, doesn’t everyone want to be a hero?!
Click here for more information on the Inspect the Uninspected campaign or if you discover an inspection in your area, you can tell us about it here.
Sophia James, Policy & Campaigns Officer
Why Ofsted & CQC should inspect the uninspected for deaf children
I will never forget the fear of a house inspection at university or the time that my local hospital’s underperformance became the talk of the town. Simply put, scrutinising the quality and standards of the services we use has become a key part of our lives.
Despite this, deaf children, teenagers and their parents have been missing out for a long time. Ofsted & CQC’s local area consultation into special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), has given us a rare opportunity to have services for deaf children and young people monitored for the first time. We are asking you to take action and respond to the consultation to make sure this happens.
Ofsted and CQC are currently finding out what parents and young people think about new proposals to inspect SEND services. Inspectors will look into a ‘wide range of groups of children and young people’ with a range of disabilities and needs. Here are our concerns with the proposals:
- The quality of support provided by Teachers of the Deaf will not be inspected
- Inspectors will look at SEND overall and not the specific needs of each group
- Inspections will not be graded, i.e. outstanding or good
- We don’t yet know what will happen if a service is failing
- With only 2 days’ notice, it will be difficult for working parents and young people in education to feed into the review
- We want to ensure that children, young people and parents interviewed have experience of deafness.
When choosing schools and local services, we believe that parents and deaf young people should be able to make an informed choice. Having access to information about the quality of your local services is a crucial part of breaking down barriers facing deaf young people in education, health and wider society.
It’s time to tell Ofsted and CQC that their plans require improvement, we must demand outstanding services for our deaf children and young people.
Three ways to take action
- Join our Inspect the Uninspected campaign to call on Ofsted and the CQC to rethink their approach to SEND inspections.
- Get involved and respond to the consultation.
- Spread the message on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram #inspecttheuninspected.
The consultation will run until 4 January and you can find out more information about how to feed into it on our website.