Ofsted and CQC Local Area SEND Inspections

Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) have published a new Area SEND inspection Framework. 

The new framework for 2023 outlines a new inspection model. All Local Area Partnerships will be subject to this including:

  • full inspections
  • monitoring inspections
  • engagement meetings, and
  • area SEND thematic visits

This inspection process will consider:

  • The experiences and outcomes of children & young people with SEND; and
  • How local area partners work together to plan, evaluate and develop the SEND system.

The inspection findings and outcomes will be published. 

Where appropriate, recommendations will be made to the Local Area Partnership about what they should do to improve the SEND arrangements it has in place for children and young people.

Reading's Joint Local Area SEND Inspection under the previous framework took place in June 2021.  The full outcome letter from Reading' SEND inspection is available here.

When is Reading's next Local Area SEND Inspection?

We do not know when Reading's inspection will start.

Inspection guidelines say that the Local Authority Partnerships will be contacted on a Monday morning. The 3 week inspection begins as soon as inspectors contact us.

What will inspectors be looking for?

Under the new framework it will remains important for local area partnerships to meet their legal duties. Inspectors also think that Local Area Partnerships should do more than meet their legal duties. They should be improving the lives of children and young people with SEND. Inspectors will be checking to see that this is happening in each local area they inspect. The new inspection handbook explains how this will be considered during inspections.

Inspectors also think that local area partnerships should do more than just meet their legal duties. They should be improving the lives of children and young people with SEND and inspectors will be checking to see that this is what is happening locally.

They will check:

  • How well schools and local services work together.
  • If children and young people with SEND living in each local area feel included and valued.

Inspections will check if Local Area Partnerships give children and young people the right support at the right time. They will also check whether children, young people and their families are getting a choice in what support they get.

They will evaluate:

  • How well children and young people with SEND are being helped to get ready for the next stages of their lives, and
  • Whether they feel included in their local community
What happens during the inspection and how will children and young people and their parents and carers be involved?

There are 3 stages to the new inspections. Each of the 3 stages are focussed on a particular week of the 3 week inspection.


Week one of the inspection

The Local Authority Partnership will collate information the inspection team request and require.

Inspectors will want to hear from local children and young people who have SEND and their parents and carers.

Inspection Surveys

During Week 1, to ensure Children and Young People and their parents and carers are feeding into the information inspectors consider, we will share an inspection survey for you to complete.

The survey will ask questions that have been developed nationally with Parent Carer Forums and Children and Young People's groups.

We will arrange for these inspection surveys to be sent to all Children and Young People with SEND and their Parents and Carers in Reading.

Once the surveys have been sent, you will have 6 working days from the start of the inspection to complete them. We will publish these surveys online when we receive them. We will also consider accessibility issues including making paper copies available where required.

Week two of the inspection

During Week 2, inspectors review the information provided by the Local Authority Partnership. Then they prepare an inspection timetable.

Inspectors may also hold virtual meetings with representative groups and stakeholders.

Tracking Meetings

Inspectors will select approximately 6 Children and Young People to be involved in “tracking meetings”. These are an indepth look at you and your child or young person’s experiences and outcomes. Tracking meetings will include the specific children and young people and their parents and carers who have been identified as a candidate AND agreed to participate in the inspection in this way.

If your child is identified as a candidate for the tracking meetings, we will arrange for a practitioner who knows your child well to approach them and you (the parent carer) to be involved.

If you agree to be involved in tracking meetings, meetings with inspectors will be arranged so that they can hear directly from you about your child or young person’s and your experiences and outcomes of these.


Week three of the inspection

Meetings with Children and Young People with SEND and with Parents and Carers.

In Week 3 of the inspection, inspectors will be on site in the borough. During this time inspectors will meet with groups of children and young people to understand how the local authority and its partners work with them and the impact of this engagement and work.

They will also want to hear about their experiences and outcomes of and how the Local Authority Partnership could improve its arrangement for children and young people with SEND.

Inspectors will meet with local Parents and Carers during the inspection to understand the impact of the local areas SEND arrangements on their child and the wider family as well as to identify effective practice and how the area’s practice could improve.

Inspectors will meet with representatives of the local Department for Education funded Parent Carer Forum - and or other representative groups of Parent-Carers - to discuss their views on effective practice and how the Local Authority Partnership could improve its effectiveness and arrangements.

What happens after the inspection?

There will be a report published which identifies one of three possible outcomes for the Local Authority Partnership.

All Local Area Partnerships will be subject to annual engagement meetings with Ofsted and CQC inspectors. These are not formal inspections but are a part of the new inspection framework.

Depending on the outcome of the inspection we may be subject to monitoring inspections. The published outcome will determine when we have the next inspection.


Inspection Outcome One

The local area partnership’s SEND arrangements typically lead to positive experiences and outcomes for children and young people with SEND. The local area partnership is taking action where improvements are needed.

Subsequent meetings and inspection activities for Outcome One

  • Engagement meetings
  • Full inspection usually within 5 years

Inspection Outcome Two

The local area partnership’s arrangements lead to inconsistent experiences and outcomes for children and young people with SEND. The local area partnership must work jointly to make improvements.

Subsequent meetings and inspection activities for Outcome Two

  • Engagement meetings
  • Full inspection usually within 3 years

Inspection Outcome Three

There are widespread and/or systemic failings leading to significant concerns about the experiences and outcomes of children and young people with SEND, which the local area partnership must address urgently.


Subsequent meetings and inspection activities for Outcome Three

  • Engagement meetings
  • Submission of priority action plan (area SEND)
  • Monitoring inspection usually within 18 months of the publication of the full inspection report
  • Full reinspection usually within 3 years
Further information...
Information for parents and carers about the area SEND inspection of your local area

Page last reviewed: 19/02/2024

Contact the Team

Family Information Service

fis@reading.gov.uk 0118 937 3777 OPTION 2 0118 937 3777 OPTION 2

SEND Local Offer

localoffer@reading.gov.uk 0118 937 3777 OPTION 2 0118 937 3777 OPTION 2

Adult & Carers Support

CSAAdvice.Signposting@reading.gov.uk 0118 937 3747 0118 937 3747
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