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A Short Guide to the Local Area Send Inspection in Bradford

OFSTED and CQC framework for inspection of local area services for special educational needs and disabilities (SEND)

What is the inspection framework for local area SEND Services?

  • From May 2016, OFSTED and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) adopted a new inspection framework for the inspection of local areas’ effectiveness in identifying and meeting the needs of children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). 

  • The inspections focus on services delivered and commissioned in a local area for children and young people with SEND and their families by the local authority, health services, early years settings, schools, providers and further education.

  • The inspections will include both early help services and more targeted or specialist services, covering the full range of SEND needs and not just children and young people with the most complex needs and an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP).

  • The Inspections will also consider how well these services work in partnership to meet the needs of children and young people and their families.

  • Each local area will be inspected at least once during a five year period; the original aim was for all for all local areas to be inspected at any point before May 2021 (during term time). This timescale has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Statutory duties on local areas for children and young people with SEND aged 0-25 years are set out in the Children’s and Families Act 2014 accompanied by the SEND Code of Practice (2015) statutory guidance.

How will the inspection be carried out?

  • Local areas will receive notification of the inspection five working days before arriving on site (or virtually on site), normally via a phone call before 10am on the Monday morning. During these 5 days inspectors will request evidence of our progress including documents and data and they will also establish a webinar for parents/carers to share their views and experiences immediately after notification.

  • Inspectors will be in Bradford (or virtually on site) for one week the following week.

  • Inspection teams will usually consist of three inspectors, though this may be increased depending on the size and complexity of the local area health economy.

  • The inspection will begin with a meeting between the inspection team and senior leaders from the local authority and health partners.

  • Individual inspectors will then attend planned meetings with a range of leaders from education, health, social care and third sector agencies to discuss and evaluate provision for SEND across the local area.

  • They will also meet with children and young people and with their parents and carers to discuss their experiences and views of the support they have received.

  • Due to the Covid Pandemic inspections may be carried out virtually.

What will inspectors do?

  • The inspectors will gather evidence about the effectiveness of local area arrangements and services using a range of different methods.

  • They will meet with leaders from local agencies, as well as with children, young people, parents and carers.

  • They will review information about the local area, both what is in the public domain (e.g. the local offer, published data sets and relevant Ofsted inspection reports) and documents provided by the local area such as self-evaluation assessments (SEF), strategy documents and action plans.

  • Inspectors will also access information from the case files of a sample of children and young people with SEND and will look at the effectiveness of multi-agency working.

  • Inspectors will visit a range of educational settings including early years, primary and secondary schools and further education colleges. The purpose of these visits are: to gather the views of children and young people and their families about the way their needs are being met; to discuss with managers and staff their understanding of the effectiveness of the local area in identifying and meeting the needs of children and young people; and to sample files of children and young people to look for evidence in support of the local areas’ own evaluation and effectiveness.

  • It is important to note that the effectiveness of the settings themselves will not be evaluated under the inspection framework; such settings will remain subject to their own inspections of teaching, learning and outcomes for children, and the SEND inspection will only be focused on the impact of the local areas’ effectiveness for children and young people with SEND.

  • Inspectors will also look at our early help services, and how our right conversations, right people, right time approach helps us to identify and meet the needs of children and young people with SEND.

What does the framework include?

The inspection will cover and report on the following key aspects of local area effectiveness:

  • Identifying children and young people with SEND;

  • Assessing and meeting the needs of children and young people with SEND; and

  • Improving outcomes for children and young people with SEND.

The outcome of the inspection will be reported in a letter to key agencies within the local area and will be in narrative form rather than graded judgments for the three aspects. The letter will outline areas of strength and key priorities for improvement, and will be published on both the Ofsted and CQC websites.

Key contacts and further information

Within Children’s Services, planning for the Ofsted CQC SEND inspection is co-ordinated through the Local Authority SEND Transformation and Compliance team, You can contact the team via email: SENDT&

The full inspection framework and the inspector’s handbook can be downloaded from the central government website.


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The Bradford SEND Local Offer is a free and impartial service provided by Bradford Council. The information contained within the website is available for the purposes of identifying services and provision that are available to children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities. This information does not represent a recommendation or an endorsement of a Service or Provider and neither does the Bradford Council or its partners make any representations or warranties as to the accuracy of the information.

Anyone seeking to use or access a service or provision is responsible for undertaking their own checks to determine the suitability and fitness for purpose of that service and provision. Some providers will be registered and inspected by external agencies, such as Ofsted or the Care Quality Commission. Anyone working with children and young people will be required to have appropriate Disclosure and Barring Service Check (the replacement for the Criminal Record Check), safeguarding policies and insurance in place, which they should make available to you on request.