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Inspection into children services in Brent finds significant weaknesses

PUBLISHED: 17:17 31 July 2017

A report found significant weakness in services for children with special educational needs and disabilities Picture: Brent Council

A report found significant weakness in services for children with special educational needs and disabilities Picture: Brent Council

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Significant areas of weakness have been found in the services for children with special education needs (SEN) and disabilities in Brent, according to a report from Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

A joint inspection was carried out between May 15 and May 19 of this year to determine whether the council were meeting the SEN reforms set out in the Children and Families Act 2014.

A major issue that was raised in the report was a lack of access to speech or language therapy. Access to vital audiology services was also poor.

Inspectors spoke with children and young people who have SEN and/or disabilities, parents and carers, local authority and NHS officers to see how these reforms were being implemented.

As a result of their findings, Ofsted and the CQC have asked for a written statement of action from Brent Council and the area’s Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

The National Deaf Children’s Society, a leading charity for deaf children across the UK, believe that 221 deaf children in Brent are having their support jeopardized.

Nicola Ward, London Director at the National Deaf Children’s Society, said: “Deaf children can achieve anything, if given the right support – but as this report shows, serious improvements need to be made.

“One of the key criticisms in this report were failings in local audiology services. This demonstrates clearly why the NHS Trust needs to immediately join the national accreditation scheme for audiology, so that the quality of support for deaf children dramatically improves.”

A spokeswoman for Brent Council said: “In their report, Ofsted and the CQC identified many strengths. These included the strong commitment from our senior leaders in improving outcomes and services for children and young people. We are working closely with our partner, the Brent CCG, to address the health concerns outlined in the report.”

Dr Sarah Basham, vice chair CCG said: “While the report outlines a number of concerns it also made clear that there are many aspects of good care – including the work of Brent GPs to support children with learning disabilities. We share a commitment with our partners in Brent to improve special educational needs and disabilities services for children and young people.”

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