OFSTED has ordered Haringey to produce a Written Statement of Action due to ‘significant areas of weakness’ in the council’s special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) provision. This means that the borough will need to set out its plan to improve services, following which OFSTED will re-visit, to ensure implementation.
The delayed report is based on an OFSTED visit from July, which said that council leaders had made insufficient progress implementing the 2014 reforms to SEND provision, and criticised the quality of education, health and care (EHC) plans. Despite Haringey’s leader, Cllr Peray Ahmet, declaring that co-production would be “the lynchpin of [her] administration”, the report also questioned this aspect of the council’s work, saying that: “in practice there is neither a culture nor practical systems in place for this to occur.”
Meanwhile, only one parent and no children have been invited to contribute to the learning review of the failures on SEND transport.
Councillor Tammy Palmer (LD-Crouch End), Haringey Opposition Spokesperson for Children’s Services, said:
“It is disappointing, but not at all surprising, that an area of Haringey’s children’s services has once again been found wanting. Throughout this current administration both councillors and SEND families in Haringey have raised serious concerns about SEND services through scrutiny reviews, deputations, a call in on the SEND transport proposals, through one outspoken family’s blog, and numerous complaints made by families at the highest level within the council.
“Many parts of the report are concerning for our SEND families, and the findings on co-production are particularly poor given the council’s supposed commitment to it, and the repeated calls for officers to engage with and involve SEND families in genuine opportunities to co-design services that actually work for them.
“For any parent of a child with special educational needs and disabilities, having trust and confidence in the department that should be there to support our most vulnerable children is vital. This report shows that Haringey is not providing that trust, and it must be the catalyst this council needs to make this service fit for purpose.”