Introduction to SEND and Oxfordshire's action plan | Oxfordshire County Council

Introduction to SEND and Oxfordshire's action plan

What special educational needs and disability mean and Oxfordshire’s action plan for SEND.

What do 'special educational needs' mean?

You may have been told, or you may have concerns that your child has special educational needs (SEN) because they are finding it harder to learn than other children of the same age. This may be a need related to:

  • communicating or mixing with others
  • mental health
  • thinking and understanding
  • sight or hearing
  • physical development
  • social or emotional development.

Staff at early years settings (like pre-schools and nurseries) and schools and academies will work with you to discuss any concerns and identify needs so that your child receives the right teaching as quickly as possible.

You may also wish to talk to your GP or health visitor if you are worried that your child has special educational needs.

Is SEN the same as disability?

A disability is a physical or mental impairment that has a long term and substantial negative impact on daily life.

Not all children with special educational needs are considered to be disabled. At the same time, a child or young person may be disabled but will only have special educational needs if the disability impacts on his or her learning.

Whether a child or young person has a disability or special educational needs or both there are laws and guidance to help ensure that their needs are recognised and supported.

SEND local area plan

We have produced a SEND local area strategic overview plan (pdf format, 279Kb) to summarise what we think is good and what needs to improve in Oxfordshire

Oxfordshire SEND local area inspection 

The Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) 0-25 years inspection took place between 25 and 27 September 2017.

Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspected how Oxfordshire has been fulfilling the new duties to identify children with SEND, meet their needs and improve their outcomes. These SEND reforms came into force in September 2014 in accordance with the Children and Families Act.

Under the Department for Education’s code of practice the responsibility for identifying and meeting the needs of children and young people with SEND rests with the local authority, health authority and the area’s early years settings, schools and post 16 colleges.

During the week the inspectors:

  • visited ten education providers (early years, primary, secondary, special schools and a college)
  • held 26 meetings
  • selected 100 cases to review
  • listened to parents views through a webinar and an open meeting
  • spoke with children and young people.

Final inspection report

Inspectors broadly agreed with the local area’s plan, but highlighted some areas that Oxfordshire needs to work on. The final inspection report is published online (pdf format).

As a result of the inspection the local area was required to develop a written statement of action (WSoA) (pdf format, 949Kb).

The SEND Programme Board has been re-configured, under the chairmanship of the Cabinet member for Education and Public Health, and will monitor progress against the WSoA. Membership of the board includes parents and high level strategic representatives from across education, health and care.

The board is committed:

  • to be the driving force behind the implementation of the SEND reforms, ensuring pace and strategic direction.
  • to provide oversight of the SEND local area action plan incorporating the post-inspection written statement of action as the body for ensuring it is delivered effectively.
  • to monitor and challenge the pace of progress on actions within the SEND local area action plan.
  • to receive reports and updated actions from work streams relating to the SEND local area action plan.
  • to challenge and support the achievements of actions from the work streams.
  • to be responsible for ensuring that the principle of co-production is embedded in all development work.
  • to listen to the voice of children, young people and families to ensure that this supports and informs developments

Quarterly monitoring visits are also taking place with representatives from the Department for Education and NHS, who are providing support and challenge around the actions being taken. These will continue for the next year.

February update from the SEND Programme Board

The SEND Programme Board met at the end of February. The meeting was also attended by DfE SEND adviser, Keith Thompson and the NHS England SEND Local Officer, Tania Atcheson, as part of their monitoring support to the Local Area. The main focus of the meeting
was to review and agree the Written Statement of Action (WSoA) which must be submitted to Ofsted by 8 March and published on the Local Offer web pages.

The WSoA has been developed through a multi-agency consultative approach reflecting Education, Health and Care (both children’s and adult services). It has been further developed through co-production with parent members of the board.

A performance dashboard is being developed alongside the WSoA to support the board monitor the impact of actions in response to the identified areas of significant weakness. Resource implications and associated risks will be presented to the Board at the next
meeting. It was agreed by the board that the WSoA, dashboard, risk register and resource implications will be taken to the forthcoming Children’s Trust and Health and Wellbeing Board meetings.


The local offer and Code of Practice for SEN and Disability (2014)

The Code of Practice for SEN and Disability (2014) sets out guidance on how the needs of children and young people with SEN or disability should be met. Our web pages tell you how this is done in Oxfordshire, gathering together in one place the information, advice and sources of support that parents, children and young people will find useful.

Oxfordshire's local offer has been developed with parents and young people. Details of the development and what we have done in response to suggestions for improving it are in our document Preparing and reviewing Oxfordshire’s Local Offer (pdf format, 233Kb).

Review and report

The local offer is reviewed every six months and the reports include page view statistics, feedback, you said/we did, and key developments. View our reports:

For older reports please contact us.

Last reviewed
08 March 2018
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