SEND Improvement Baseline Survey Report

by | Sep 27, 2023 | News | 0 comments

We’re really pleased to publish the findings of the Parent Carer & Children and Young People surveys carried out in May 2023. It’s taken us quite a long time to process all the data and we hope you’ll agree that the comprehensive report we’ve produced has been worth the wait. Thank you everyone who took part.

Please wait while flipbook is loading. For more related info, FAQs and issues please refer to DearFlip WordPress Flipbook Plugin Help documentation.

To view the report in a separate window or to download it, click below

Baseline Survey Report May 2023

Or if you’d prefer the report in another format, please get in touch via email


You can read more about the survey below.

Parent Carer Forum Devon (PCFD) – our role

We are all parents and carers of children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) within the Devon local authority area. We are independent and proactive, working in a solution-focused approach to influence policies, decisions, and services. Our aim is to make sure that services provided by education, health and care meet the needs of children with SEND and their families.

Parent Carer Forum Devon is part of the National Network of Parent Carer Forums. This means that the voices of parent carers in Devon reach decision-makers in national government.

Background to this survey

In May 2022, Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission revisited the area of Devon to decide whether sufficient progress had been made in addressing each of the areas of significant weakness identified in their December 2018 inspection. Their report concluded that the area had not made enough progress in addressing any of the significant weaknesses. In September 2022 an Improvement Notice directed the local area to produce a Devon Local Area SEND Improvement Plan. Actions included in the plan should be delivered by February 2024 or sooner.

PCFD carried out a previous very wide-ranging survey in December 2021. The results were shared with inspectors before the May 2022 revisit. The current local focus is on the Improvement Plan and the four areas of significant weakness. Hearing from families is crucial in order to understand the baseline experience and monitor any progress against the Key Performance Indicators in the Improvement Plan. It is very important for families to have the opportunity to share their experiences with us as an independent and separate organisation rather than with the local area directly. Particularly if the lived experience of the system is negative, parent carers may fear consequences of sharing their opinions with those who make decisions about their families.

Surveying parent carers and young people allows us to monitor changes in family experience of the four areas of significant weakness, and to measure any improvements. Repeat surveys are planned into 2024. We will share our findings on our website, on social media, with strategic partners across the local area and with Department for Education & NHS England advisers.

Baseline Key Performance Indicator Survey

The surveys were completed during May 2023

As the Baseline KPI requirement was based on a limited number of questions, further questions were also asked to be able to provide a more complete picture. For example, rather than just asking about a parent’s confidence in the Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) process, we wanted to ask questions such as the benefit the EHCP had made to the Child or Young Person (CYP).

All the questions were asked as statements, so that the respondents could rank from very poor through to very good.

In addition to these baseline & ranking style questions, the respondents were given the opportunity to write further detail about their experiences. They could also provide reasons why they gave the ranking or opinion that they did, as well as “what one thing would you change”.

All of the responses were then read & understood, a list of broad answers were formulated, and a matrix of these completed. Theses answers were then put into groups where they have a similarity, creating overarching macro themes.

For example, when respondents were asked “if you could change one aspect of the EHCP process, what would it be?” Many people referred to improved communication, being able to talk face to face, and for staff to be more transparent. These are three individual answers, however together they create one macro theme of improved communication.

Within the CYP survey, which was created in partnership with the Youth Participation Team at Devon County Council, not all the Baseline Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) were covered exactly. Young people felt that some of the terminology used was not CYP centric, nor were the KPIs facts that could have been effectively obtained from the survey.

The numbers that make up these baseline KPIs, whilst essential to be able to gauge a sense of improvement in the future, are really only half of the story. Many parents, carers and young people have added a lot of information to explain the reason for their views, and more importantly have given suggestions and views as to what, in their eyes would improve the various services that they interact with. All these views, both critical and complementary, are summarised within the survey report above. They provide a true reflection of the lived experience currently felt by parents, carers, children and young people in Devon. We have included many direct quotes from parent carers, children and young people.

Nine Areas for Improvement

The responses to three key questions in the survey can be broadly classified into nine areas for improvement.

We asked parent carers to tell us about one aspect they would change about: communicating and working with SEND Services, the EHC needs assessment, and EHCP reviews.

Respondents could write as much or as little as they wanted, and were not constrained by any pre-selected answers.

These responses can be broadly classified into nine areas for improvement. Summarising all the feedback received, parent carers are seeking more communication and a quicker, improved process which is more of a partnership with greater involvement.

We’ve drawn together what families have told us about changes they would like to see and have outlined nine areas for improvement:

  • Communication
  • Speed
  • Improved process
  • Partnership
  • Child Focussed
  • Parental Input
  • Review Hub and Complexity
  • Improve or Increase Professional Involvement
  • Greater Clarity over Process

Thank you

Thank you to each and every one of you lovely 372 parent carers and 58 young people who completed this survey! You were so generous with your time and effort, sharing your thoughts and experiences of the SEND system in Devon. Your insights and inputs are so important to build a clear picture of what it’s like for our SEND families.

We are parent carers ourselves, and we know all too well how busy life is as well as the extra challenges of navigating the SEND system. Sharing your experiences says a lot about your dedication, not only to your own families, but also to the broader SEND community.

Your responses and recommendations are a vital foundation in our efforts to ensure that services provided by education, health and care meet the needs of children and young people with SEND and their families. Thanks to your contributions, we have been able to produce this report which we hope will help to drive positive change, help to produce quality information resources and improve support for families in Devon.

Thank you again for being a part of this. Your voice matters, and we are committed to using it to make a difference to all SEND families in Devon.