OFSTED and the Care Quality Commission are returning to Derby this week to perform a joint inspection of how the Council carries out its statutory duties in relation to children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND).
This is a significant inspection to help improve the education provision for some of the most vulnerable children in the City. The last inspection was done in June 2019.
In addition to talking with the Schools, and Council staff, OFSTED/ CQC look to parents, and families to input their experiences and comments. This gives a degree of balance, realism and integrity to the inspection
The task rests with the Council to circulate the formal invite letter to Parents. Many Parents are reporting that they have not received it!
On the 24th September 2021, the Council received a letter from OFSTED/CQC “…to be circulated to parents and carers by Derby City Council” which advised of
- the on-line survey link to capture parents and families contribution ( from 27th September – 1st October)
- the date of the inspection from 4-6 October.
There was an expectation that the Council would arrange a “face-to-face open meeting” for parents to attend, the focus of which would be set by the inspectors.
There are many reports that letters have not been received by Parents thus depriving them of the opportunity to contribute their views on the “serious weaknesses identified at the previous inspection”.
Derby City Council has a terrible reputation with Parents of SEND children.
There are many stories of the stress, expense and time incurred by Parents fighting the Council to ensure that their child gets an “appropriate education”. There will be many Parents who would welcome the opportunity to share their views and experiences with OFSTED/CQC. This would create significant embarrassment for the Council but would lead to improvements.
It may have been the case that the failure to invite the Parents was a genuine oversight by a Council Officer.
However, that does seem unlikely…
The Council Executives should explain, publicly, to OFSTED/CQC why they have undermined this statutory process and offer their apologies to the Parents.