Inspection of SEND in Dorset Local Area by Ofsted & CQC

Dear Parents & Carers, please read on. This is important.

We need your help to find out what you think about services provided for children and young people in Dorset, and are asking you to answer a short survey. (see link below).

The background:
Two years ago, in January 2017, Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) did an inspection of the services provided for children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND). (They looked at services provided in the Dorset area, not including Bournemouth & Poole.)
Four areas of weakness* were found. In brief, these were:
- Education, Health & Social Care need to work more closely together;
- Education, Health & Care Plans need to be produced more quickly;
- Parents and Carers need to be more involved in decision making, and get better help sooner;
- The quality of what is being done needs to be better monitored and, if necessary, challenged to improve.

What has happened since then:
A Written Statement of Action* was produced as a result of the inspection, and a lot of work has gone into improving services where this was felt necessary.

What is about to happen:
Ofsted and the CQC will be re-visiting* * Dorset in the near future to see what has been done to improve the four areas highlighted above. Dorset Parent Carer Council need to be ready to provide information, gathered from you, the people who know, about whether things really have improved!

What we need to do now:
So, we need your input, in the form of answers to our survey. Have the various bodies done what they were asked? Have things improved? Are Education Health & Care Plans now being produced on time? What is going really well for you? What isn’t going so well?
Please tell us by clicking the button below!

Thank you,


* More information about the Written Statement of Action & Dorset’s SEND Strategy can be find on the Local Offer.

** More information about the Special Educational Needs & Disability Local Area Inspections can be found on the Department of Education’s website.

Apply for Parent Panels

Would you like to have an opportunity to meet other parents and give feedback about the services you receive? We are looking for parents to help shape services locally and specifically feed into the following areas: SEND Local Offer, Dorset Council Strategic Planning, Teenager 2 Adult (Transitions), SEN Education, Short breaks & Leisure Activities, Early Years, Information/Advice & Support Services, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Health Services.

You can apply by clicking here to go to our ‘Apply for Parent Panel’s page.

Dorset Home to School Transport Policy & Post 16 Transport Policy for 2019/2020 Consultation

We are sharing information with you from Dorset County Council.

They are required every year to consult with parents about their Home to School Transport Policy and the Post 16 Transport Policy.

We STRONGLY recommend you read the WHOLE document - we have put on this site copies of both the policies and highlighted in yellow the bits we feel are most relevant to SEND children/young people and that are likely to affect you.

Do please give your feedback to the consultation  - good or bad - using the link below;

Original DCC Message:
Dorset will be consulting on the Home to School Transport Policy and the Post 16 Transport Policy for 2019/2020 with effect from Tuesday 19th June to Monday 16 July 2018. Details of the consultation are available to view at -

All comments (both negative and positive) should be sent to -

Please click below to download the policy documents - 

Education, Health and Care Plan - Banding update

In October the County Council introduced a new way to fund schools to help children and young people with complex special educational needs or disabilities and an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP). As we promised, here's a link to the latest update with information about the new system,  how it's working and answers to some of the questions you have asked.

Click on the link below to read the latest information from Dorset County Council about the new banding system!

"Have Your Say" - our biggest and most important survey ever!

Dear Parent – Carers,

We want to collect your views so that we can go to Dorset Local Authority (DCC) and Dorset Clinical Commissioning group (CCG) with evidence of what families are telling us. We need to reach as many parents and carers as possible and to represent our special educational needs and disability community as a COLLECTIVE VOICE!

To do this we have put together a comprehensive online survey. For this reason, the survey is best completed on a computer than a hand-held device or mobile phone. If you feel you require a paper copy please contact:

The survey is for parents and carers of children or young people age 0-25 with special educational needs or a disability, with or without a statement or Education Health & Care plan. Your feedback is important to us!

You can either complete the whole questionnaire or choose sections most relevant to you. The survey covers a wide range of services across education, health and social care and many other touchpoints in a parent-carer’s life.

At the end of the survey we ask for your name and address. You need only supply this if you are a member of DPCC or The Xchange and you wish to claim a £5.00 gift voucher as a thank you from Dorset Parent Carer Council.

We do recognise that many of families have more than one son or daughter with additional needs. However, as this is a comprehensive survey we have decided to keep one questionnaire per child/young person.

If you wanted to tell us about more than one child/young person you will need to complete a separate questionnaire.

The survey will run from 29th January 2018 until Friday 19th March 2018

We really do thank you for participating, for leaving your views and for your time.

Best Wishes

Dorset Parent Carer Council

Christmas - Support for Parents and Carers

As we all know, Christmas can be a very challenging time for children & young people who have additional needs including Autism Spectrum Disorder, attachment needs and anxiety.  

We don’t have to tell you how schools and home life change at this time of year, the unexpected visitors dropping in, endless play rehearsals in noisy school halls, Christmas parties, watching films, decorations, glitter, dressing up, and as the whole atmosphere at school and home changes this can lead to some of children becoming very confused, overwhelmed and distressed at this time.

Sometimes we can forget some of the basics that help our children so attached are some resources you might find useful during this time including:

  • A sample of a social story to support children at Christmas time, which you will need to personalise.
  • Examples of additional visual supports that could be used.
  • Some tips for parents.
  • There is also a story written from the perspective of a child with ASD about how they find Christmas.
  • ‘Our Story’ is a free ipad app that allows you to take pictures and then write a sentence, or record audio, which may be useful for preparing younger children for some of the changes at Christmas time.

We also know that you will have other useful tips and bits of information - please do share these through our Facebook page so we can help each other.  

School Transport Policy Consultation

Dear Parent Carer,

We are writing to make you aware of two consultations currently being carried out by Dorset County Council that make specific reference to children & young people with Special Educational Needs or Disability (SEND).

The relevant policy documents are attached, and we strongly recommend you take time to read them in full.

The Home to School Policy and Post 16 Transport Policy are not SEND specific so to help you find the relevant sections we have highlighted text in yellow. These are the parts of the policy most likely to affect your child/young person.

Also attached is a shorter easier to read guidance document produced by Dorset County Council. This also outlines the details most relevant in both policies to children & young people with special educational needs or disability.

The consultation began on October 23rd and ends on 4th December.

If you wish to respond you must do so by emailing:

Statement from the Steering Group of Dorset Parent-Carer Council

The findings of the Ofsted /CQC Joint Local Area Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) inspection in Dorset will come as no surprise to families.

The outcomes mirror what parents have been expressing for some time, parental frustration about the struggles to get their child’s needs assessed, the failure to meet statutory timescales for assessments, lengthy waits for completed Education Health & Care plans.  It highlighted inconsistencies with the graduated response across mainstream schools and poor communication with parents.

We would like to thank all the parents and carers who took part in the inspection either through the Inspection webinar, the DPCC online survey or in face to face meetings with the inspection team.  We would particularly like to thank those individual families who took the time to share their personal and sometimes awful experiences.

We would like to thank Dorset County Council and the CCG for ensuring we were there through the entirety of the inspection.  Dorset County Council and the CCG have committed to improving services and addressing all the weaknesses identified in both the inspection report and the DPCC survey.  Dorset Parent Carer Council is working tirelessly to ensure that the voices of parents and carers remain central to every piece of work.  There remains a lot of work to be done and families belief in the system will not change until their day-to-day experiences improve. 

We welcome the requirement for a statement of action and see this as essential in providing assurance that improvements will happen.  We will strive to ensure that all agencies understand their responsibilities to provide a seamless journey for children and young people with SEND and their families in Dorset.  We will continue to work with Dorset County Council and the Clinical Commissioning Group to ensure that the needs of children and young people across Dorset are effectively met to enable them to achieve the best possible educational and other outcomes.

If any parents, carers, family members, or organisations would like to be involved in the improvement work you would be very welcome. 

Please let us know through our website -

or email  -

Please click the button below to see the Ofsted inspection report.