A new director of children’s services has been appointed by Oxfordshire County Council.

Lisa Lyons, who will begin her new role in early February, will be coming to Oxfordshire from Stoke-on-Trent City Council, where she is director of children and family services.

Ms Lyons has nearly 30 years’ experience in children’s and adults’ safeguarding, statutory social care, youth offending, early help, special education needs and disabilities (SEND), education and inclusion services.

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Ms Lyons said: “I am truly privileged to be able to join Oxfordshire County Council as the director of children’s services. I am joining a council that is determined to make a positive difference to children and young people.

“The enthusiasm, dedication and professionalism of those I’ve already met shines through.

“They recognise that we have improvements to make for children and young people with SEND, and everyone is working hard, developing a plan that will deliver the necessary changes.

“I’m very much looking forward to working with councillors, staff and our partners, building on the good work that’s already underway.”

Councillor John Howson, Oxfordshire County Council’s cabinet member for children, education and young people’s services, said: “Lisa has extensive experience across many organisations in children’s services, including SEND and service transformation at a senior level.

“Most recently in Stoke-on-Trent, Lisa leaves a service that has had its first Ofsted ‘good’ judgment for children in care and care leavers, is judged ‘good’ across the board for adult and community learning, and just this week, Ofsted have found that more children in the city are achieving security and stability in permanent homes.

“In Oxfordshire, work on our improvement journey for children and young people with SEND continues and is an absolute priority. I’m confident with Lisa’s proven track record, she is well equipped to lead the way, ensuring every child and young person in Oxfordshire gets the very best start in life.”

In July, Ofsted began in inspections of SEND provision in Oxfordshire.

The council asked parents, young people and ‘practitioners’ to share their experiences in a form on Ofsted’s website; around 2,000 parents and carers shared their views.

Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission published its joint report into SEND provision on September 15, and it was damning.

It was not the first such report. In 2017, the county council and Oxfordshire NHS Clinical Commissioning Group were issued with a ‘statement of action’ by Ofsted, after inspectors found ‘significant weaknesses’ in its SEND provision.

Two years later, in 2019, a re-inspection by Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission said the council and NHS body had addressed three of five areas of weakness.


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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: Matthew.norman@newsquest.co.uk

Follow him on Twitter: @OxMailMattN1