SEND Peer Review Feedback – 23rd-25th November 2016

Monday 28 November 2016

Devon’s Peer Review of SEND – feedback

Last week’s visit to Devon from the LGA Peer Review team culminated in a presentation and feedback from the team at an open session on Friday.

After a welcome from Cabinet Member for Children and Families, Cllr James McInnes, Devon County Council’s Chief Officer for Children’s Services, Jo Olsson thanked the team, saying:  “This is a fantastic opportunity, and will enable us to galvanise every bit of the system to accelerate our work in this hugely important area.”

Jo also thanked the many partners, staff, parents and children and young people who had participated and engaged in the review process, as well as the Peer Review support team.


Lead Peer Reviewer, Chris Baird, presented the feedback from the team, following an intensive week of visits, meetings and discussions spanning organisations and settings across the whole county.

Mr Baird paid tribute to the teams and individuals they had met over the course of the week, saying it was one of the privileges of the peer review to visit a new location, and this also enabled them to reflect on their own area.

“This is the first LGA Peer Review of SEND,” said Mr Baird.  “We are finding our way through, and looking at what works well and where things can be improved.  Our role is to act as a critical friend and offer reflection.”

In their presentation the team identified strengths and areas for consideration, across a number of themes and this proved to be a strong endorsement of our self-evaluation.  These included leadership of SEND reforms, identification, assessment and meeting needs, and improving outcomes for children with SEND.

The team highlighted many strengths, including the ‘effective, strong and inspirational work to support children and the progress they are making’ by practitioners, and the ‘really impressive’ clinical diagnostic work being carried out in schools.  They praised the fact that ‘every teacher teaches SEND’, and said that schools are confident in their leaders, and that there is good engagement with schools.

Some of the areas identified for consideration included strengthening the Local Offer, making it more user friendly for children and young people, strengthening our partnership integration to achieve a holistic response to complex needs and improving communication across all partnerships to ensure a shared understanding.

A more detailed report will follow next month, along with specific feedback about Education, Health and Care Plans.

Welcoming the Peer Review feedback, Head of Education and Learning, Dawn Stabb, said:  “This presentation is a validation of what we know about our capacity to move things forward.  We now need to look at our plan and how we can align feedback from this Peer Review to give us a route map.”

“Our Improvement Plan needs to be targeted and clear on the actions and timescales, who will do what and how will we know it’s working.”

“One of our key tasks is to define what does ‘good’ look like and how will we know when we’ve got there?  We need clarity, transparency and consistency in the information we provide at practitioner level, and how we communicate with parents.”

There’s an opportunity for us to harness existing resources and work more closely with them.  Structures are in place to work across partnerships that we need to utilise, and ensure our commitment is consistent in meeting the needs of Devon’s children and  young people, to enable them to become happy, skilled and confident adults.

What next?

We will continue to keep you updated on developments on the SEND reforms, with this bulletin going out monthly.  If you have any comments or suggestions  please e-mail

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