Victoria Prentis has said “we owe an enormous debt of gratitude to parents and carers who shared their personal stories with Ofsted” following a damning report on SEND provision in Oxfordshire.

Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission published the damning findings of their investigation into the Oxfordshire Local Area Partnership’s Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) provision on Friday, September 15.

Commenting on the report, Mrs Prentis said: “I was relieved to see that the report validates the concerns my colleagues and I have had for some time about the Partnership’s services, and finally recognises the ‘widespread and systemic failings’ of local SEND provision.

READ MORE: Oxfordshire County Council apology after damning SEND report

“We owe an enormous debt of gratitude to the 2,000 parents and carers who took the time to share with Ofsted and CQC their deeply personal experiences of fighting for support.

"I know from Ofsted that this was a significantly larger response than normal for this type of inspection.

“I have long raised constituents’ concerns with the leadership at Oxfordshire County Council, but have often found them difficult to engage with. Having met a number of parents and carers to discuss their experiences, I know how challenging it has been for them to have their voices heard.

"The ‘widespread lack of confidence in area leadership’ identified in the report comes as no surprise. It is unacceptable that only 5,427 out of approximately 23,000 children and young people with SEND in Oxfordshire had an Educational, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) in place in January 2023.”

Stephen Chandler, Oxfordshire County Council’s interim executive director, people, transformation and performance, said last week that he was sorry the council has let families down.

Adding that the council fully and unequivocally accepts the findings of the report, and must do better as a partnership.

Mr Chandler went on to say that the council cares deeply about improving the lives of children and young people and supporting them, along with families, to thrive.

Adding that the council is determined to make significant changes so it can provide families with a better quality of service at the time they need it most.

Mrs Prentis added: “It is right that the County Council have accepted full responsibility for their failings. They must now right their wrongs, overhaul their processes and restore confidence in the system.

"Those seeking help and support from the Council deserve better.

“I look forward to reading the priority action plan the Partnership are now obligated to put together.

“I will be meeting the Chief Executive of Oxfordshire County Council, Dr Martin Reeves, later this month to discuss the next steps in further detail.”


Read more from this author

This story was written by Matthew Norman, he joined the team in 2022 as a Facebook community reporter.

Matthew covers Bicester and focuses on finding stories from diverse communities.

Get in touch with him by emailing:

Follow him on Twitter: @OxMailMattN1