SPECIAL educational needs and disabilities services in Thurrock have been praised for making “sufficient progress” following an inspection.

Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission visited over two days in December to assess levels of improvement following an Ofsted inspection in 2019.

The report, published last week, found sufficient improvements on how the council stores accurate records and provides oversight of the provision for children and young people.

Improvements were also made in relation to the rigorous quality assurance for services provided for 0 to 25 year olds with SEND, and the quality and reviewing of education, health and care plans.

Barry Johnson, cabinet member children’s services, said: “The report from Ofsted is a tremendous result for children’s services and reflects the high levels of support and care we provide for vulnerable children and young people within our community.

“The report confirms that our SEND team has made great strides in addressing the three areas of significant weakness that were previously reported in 2019. The new processes that we have rigorously implemented throughout the service have been recognised and we are confident that they put us on a strong path for the future.

“The next step for us as an organisation is to take this feedback and learning on board, and consider how we will use it to make our SEND offer the most caring and intuitive it can be. This includes providing more services to children locally, preventing them travelling outside of Thurrock, sometimes in placements costing in excess of £20,000 a week.

“Thank you to everyone who has been a part of this valued and most crucial service as we work to deliver the best SEND support for our children and young people in Thurrock.”

Anthony McKeever, chief executive officer designate for the Mid and South Essex Integrated Care Board, added: “We are really pleased with the positive results of the SEND revisit, which has highlighted the sufficient progress made for children and young people who have SEND in Thurrock.

“This is a great example of strong partnership working in Thurrock with education, health and social care coming together and working with our children, young people and families as well as the Parent and Carer Forum.”