The Government has released some information specifically for parents and carers about the Local Area SEND Inspections. To read more about these inspections, you can take a look at our news post Local Area SEND Inspections

The government guidance for parents and carers can be read here it includes easy-read versions and also versions for children and young people.

The full text of the guidance is as follows:

This guide explains to parents and carers what happens when Ofsted and CQC inspect local services for children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND).


Ofsted inspects education services in England, like schools and nurseries. We also look at children’s social care and the support available for children and young people with SEND.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspects health and adult social care services in England, like hospitals and care homes.

Ofsted and CQC work together to inspect education, health and care services for children with SEND in a local area, to make sure they are effective. This is called an area SEND inspection.

Local area partnerships are made up of those in education, health and care who are responsible for planning, commissioning, managing, delivering and evaluating support for children and young people with SEND who live in a local area.

Local area partnerships use the information from our inspections to improve services for children and young people with SEND. Our inspections also provide information for children and young people with SEND and their families, to help them make decisions about their education, health and care.


What happens during an area SEND inspection

We explain how we carry out inspections in more detail in our inspection framework and handbook.

During the inspection, inspectors will gather evidence about how effective provision is for children and young people with SEND in the local area. They will also evaluate how well the local authority commissions and oversees alternative provision.

Inspectors will evaluate the experiences and outcomes of children and young people with SEND aged 0 to 25 who are covered by the SEND code of practice, whether or not they have an education, health and care plan. This includes children and young people who live in the local authority area but are educated or receive social care in other local authority areas.

Inspectors will look at information from the local area partnership about the services it provides for children and young people with SEND. They will also talk directly to children and young people and families to understand their experiences.

The inspection team will be led by one of His Majesty’s Inspectors (HMI) from Ofsted. It will include education and social care inspectors from Ofsted and Children’s Services Inspectors from CQC.


How you can be involved

Your views are important to us. There are several ways you can be involved in the inspection.



Before inspectors are on site, you will be invited to complete a survey. The survey will ask you about any support your child gets for their education, health and care needs and their social life, and to prepare them for the next stage of their life.

Surveys will also be sent to children and young people with SEND and practitioners who work with children and young people with SEND in your local area.


Meetings with inspectors

Inspectors will meet the local area’s parent carer forum (PCF). You can contact your local PCF if you would like to attend this meeting. Inspectors may also meet other groups that represent families.


Tracking meetings

Inspectors will hold tracking meetings with children and young people, their families (if appropriate) and the practitioners who work with them. Tracking meetings are an opportunity for inspectors to hear directly about children and young people’s experiences and outcomes.

Inspectors will select approximately 6 children and young people to be involved in tracking meetings. They will choose children and young people with a range of needs, who access a range of services, from a range of age groups and who are at different stages in their involvement with health and social care services.

They will arrange for a practitioner who knows the child or young person well to approach them, and their parents or carers, to ask for their agreement to be involved. If your child is selected, we will give you more information on what’s involved before you decide whether to agree.


Other inspection activities

Inspectors will visit education, health and social care providers to gather more information about the experiences of a wider group of children and young people. Inspectors may also contact families to ask you about your experience of a particular aspect of the SEND system in your local area.


What happens after the inspection

Inspectors will write a report evaluating the impact of the local area partnership’s arrangements on the experiences and outcomes of children and young people with SEND.

This report will include an inspection outcome. It will say what the area partnership is doing well and what it needs to improve. The report will also give clear recommendations for the area partnership to act on, as well as giving the rough timing of the next inspection.


More information

Ofsted and CQC do not have the power to investigate personal cases. However, we do keep complaints on record, and may use them to inform future inspections. If you want to complain about a service in your area, we recommend that you follow local complaints processes.

If you think a child or young person is at risk of being abused or neglected, contact the children’s social care team at your local council. You can also contact the NSPCC on 0808 800 5000.

If you are concerned about a young adult over the age of 18, you should call your local council and ask to speak to the adult safeguarding team or look on the local adult safeguarding partnership website, where you will find the details of who to contact.

Guidance: Area SEND inspections: information for parents and carers 13th June 2023