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Photo: Deaf child with magnifying glass

Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) carry out ongoing inspections into how well local areas are meeting the needs of children with special educational needs and disabilities.

To do this, they will speak to parents and young people in each area, before publishing a report on the local area.

What exactly is being inspected?

Ofsted and the CQC look at how well the local authority and health bodies plan, develop and deliver support for children with SEND in the local area. They want to find out more about the experiences and outcomes of children with SEND where you live:

• How well children’s needs are identified and whether this is done accurately, quickly and effectively. For deaf children, this might mean looking at how quickly deafness was identified and how well Teachers of the Deaf looked at what your child’s needs were.

  • How well children, young people and their families are able to get involved in decisions about their support.
  • Whether children and young people receive the right help at the right time
  • How well children and young people are prepared for the future and what outcomes they achieve.
  • Whether children and young people are valued, visible and included in their communities.

Inspectors will also look into how leaders in your area work to make lives better for children with SEND:

  • Are they ambitious for children and young people with SEND?
  • Do they actively engage and work with children, young people and families?
  • Do they understand the needs of children and young people in the area?
  • Do they make sure that children and young people are getting the services and support they need?

Ofsted and the CQC are looking at support for a wide range of different types of needs in each area. They may not always look in detail at support for deaf children. So if you want to make sure that Ofsted looks at the quality of support for deaf children you’ll need to get involved.

Full guides for parents, carers, children and young people about these inspections can be found on this website (available in BSL and easy read formats).

How can I get involved?

At the start of any local area inspections, Ofsted will send round a survey asking for views. They will ask the local authority to pass this on.

There will be separate surveys for children and young people, families and professionals working in the area.

You should fill in the survey as quickly as possible.

If we find out that an inspection is taking place in your area, we’ll email you to let you know. You just need to make sure you’re a member of the National Deaf Children’s Society and that we have the right email address for you. Contact [email protected] if you’re not sure.

If you need help completing the survey, let Ofsted know. You can also get in touch with us at [email protected].

Inspectors may also meet with local stakeholder groups. This might include the local parent carer forum.

A small number of families (around six in each area) will also be invited to take part in ‘tracking meetings’ where inspectors will meet with children and their families to find out more about their experiences in more detail.

Any information shared by families with inspectors will be treated in confidence, unless there are any safeguarding concerns about a child.

What happens after an inspection?

Ofsted and the CQC will write a report which they will publish on their websites.

In the report, they will give a judgement on whether:

  • children and young people have “typically positive experiences and outcomes” and where action is already being taken to address any issues
  • children and young people have “inconsistent experiences and outcomes”
  • there are widespread failings and significant concerns.

If inspectors decide there are widespread failings and significant concerns, they will set out the “priority actions” that they think the local area need to take. They will also carry out another monitoring inspection within 18 months and a full inspection within 3 years.

If inspectors find there are inconsistent experiences and outcomes, another full inspection will take place within 3 years.

When will my area be inspected?

Every local area will have a full inspection at least once between 2023 and 2028. However, we don’t know the order in which inspections for different local areas will take place.

More information

There is more detail about how Ofsted and CQC will carry out inspections in their inspection framework.

The Special Needs Jungle website also has more information.

You can also read the reports from previous local area inspections (from between 2016 and 2022).

You can also read the outcome reports here