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Transforming SEND services in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole

Special Educational Needs and Disability provision in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole was recently inspected, a full copy of the inspection letter is available here.

Elaine Redding, Interim Corporate Director of Children’s Services, BCP Council, said;

“The Council accepts that a major transformation programme is needed locally to make services to children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) as strong and supportive as they need to be. We welcome the inspection requirements and were already working on those intensively. This is now a compelling opportunity to develop a multi-agency service and offer to children and families and to develop that improved service with children and families themselves at the heart of it".

Sally Sandcraft, Senior Responsible Officer for SEND for Dorset CCG said;

“We are very committed to our joint work to, at pace, address the areas for improvement for children and young people with special educational needs, and their families. The NHS plays an important role in assessment, diagnosis, treatment and support, and the way that this is delivered in terms of timeliness, experience and outcomes needs to improve. We will continue to work with partners, young people with SEND and their families to address the issues raised in the inspection.”

Councillor Nicola Greene said;

“The crucial need to make improvements in SEND provision has been highlighted to us by families themselves. As a Council, we are determined to meet all the requirements set out for us by Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission. SEND is a multi-agency service and we will be working with our partners in Health and Education to build a set of services to be proud of. Progress has been slower than we would have expected for a number of reasons; but our priority is to deliver a service by working together in the coming weeks and months.”

Make your voice heard consultation

After the recent Ofsted SEND inspection we want to work with you to improve services and support for children and young people with SEND in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole.

You can share your views in several different ways, for example, by joining us at one of our friendly and welcoming online sessions or, simply sharing your experiences via email.  To find out more please email Rosie at  See flyer for more details

Children and young people SEND survey

Services and support for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole need to improve.

The council, health, schools and others want to work with children and young people to make those improvements.

We would like to hear from children and young people about their experiences and ideas for what needs to improve, on important things like:

  • How they feel their views influence the support they receive
  • How well they feel they are supported at school or college
  • How they want their views to be gathered in the future to create change

Working with the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Information Advice and Support Service (SENDiass), we have put together a short survey to capture the views of children and young people aged 0 to 25 years. Please share with your children and young people and if you can, support them to complete it. The survery closes on 12 November 2021.

Children and Young People Survey

All information provided is anonymous and will be used to help us shape the future of SEND services for our local community.

What we are doing now

BCP local authority and Dorset clinical commissioning group are jointly responsible for producing and submitting, by 7 December, a written statement of action (WSOA) to Ofsted. The WSOA must set out how the local area will tackle 8 areas of significant weakness identified in the recent local area inspection.

All partners are committed to working together, through the SEND Improvement Board (SIB), to make the improvements needed. Workstreams are being established to co-produce the WSOA.  Each workstream will focus on one of the 8 significant weaknesses identified by the inspection:

1. Culture – Deep cultural issues leading to weak partnership working between services across education, health and care and between these services and children and young people with SEND and their families

2.Evaluation – Weaknesses in leaders’ evaluations of the effectiveness of the local area, including the lack of focus on the experiences of children and young people with SEND and their families

3. Co-production – Poor co-production practice at a strategic and operational level

4. Sustainable services – Weaknesses in the sustainability of services in the face of high turnover of staff and challenges with recruitment

5. Graduated response – Inconsistency in the implementation of the graduated response leading to slow identification and inequitable access and experience of the system across education, health and care

6. EHCPs – Wide variances in the quality of education, health and care plans caused by weaknesses in joint working, fair access, timeliness and quality assurance processes

7. Joint commissioning – Poor joint commissioning arrangements that limit leaders’ ability to meet local area needs, improve outcomes and achieve cost efficiencies

8. Exclusion and inclusion – The proportion of pupils not accessing education because of exclusions and lack of inclusion

How to get involved

We can only achieve the transformation needed, supported by the right written statement of action, through working together – families, education, health and care – and your active participation in this workstream is crucial.  There are two ways to be involved (see the draft Term of Reference for the workstreams to find out more):

Some colleagues will be on workstream groups.  Parent Carers Together, Parent Carer Foundation, local NHS, education providers and the council have been collectively identifying who should be on those groups, as they need to be kept to a practical size. 

One of their key responsibilities is to bring in the contributions from a far wider range of families and colleagues - a wider range of families and delivery colleagues who can share information and suggestions on learning from existing improvement work and experiences of services (including what is currently working well in BCP), what’s working well elsewhere, and resources to contribute. This could be sharing information via email, being part of a workshop or being hands on developing actions.

If you want to contribute information and suggestions you can:

Find out what is happening

As the work to co-produce the written statement of action progresses we will provide updates on this page, as well as sharing through other routes.  When we begin delivering actions, we will also regularly report on progress.