A PLAN of action has been approved for tackling Bury's "inadequate" strategy for children with special educational needs.

A Written Statement of Action, drawn up by Bury Council and NHS Bury Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), has been given the go-ahead by Government regulators.

Plans were drawn up in response to a damning report released by Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) following their Local Area inspection of Bury in June this year.

Bury was condemned for not having a strategy for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), and for being "two years behind".

Over the past four months, partners have united to make improvements and tackle the weaknesses identified in the report.

Acting executive director of children, young people and culture for Bury Council, Karen Dolton, said: "It's fantastic news that Ofsted and the CQC have approved our statement without the need for any amendments.

"We have turned the challenge presented to us in the report findings into a real opportunity to get it right for Bury.

"Although we were working on areas that needed improving, we have used the inspection outcomes to accelerate the pace of actions and make sure we are really meeting the needs of our children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities."

Local area inspections check the effectiveness of new SEND arrangements and evaluate how well partners across education, health and care are fulfilling their duties.

Bury's inspection found eight specific areas which require improvement as well as other significant weaknesses.

A new SEND strategy has been produced for Bury, with involvement from Bury2gether - a new parents and carers forum.

Bury2gether said: "Professionals are now recognising the benefits of working in partnership with parents and embracing the suggestions and solutions they offer.

"We welcome the fact we have been involved from the beginning. There is still a long way to go, but we're now confident parents’ views and representation will continually be part of the structure in Bury."

The SEND Partnership Board will implement and monitor the statement, with three monthly visits also being made by the Department for Education and NHS England.

Interim chief executive for Bury Council, Pat Jones-Greenhalgh, said: "Bury Council was already working with NHS Bury CCG and other partners prior to the Ofsted visit as we were aware our services needed improving."

Chief officer for NHS Bury CCG, Stuart North, added: "We have been working in partnership with the Local Authority and other organisations locally to deliver the changes to ensure that the experience of children, young people and their families who access these vital services, is a positive one."

Leader of Bury Council, Cllr Rishi Shori said: "This is about being smarter with our budgets.

"We want to be engaging with more parents over the next couple of months.

"We knew it was not going to be an easy journey. This is just the start to us making a difference that genuinely impacts the lives of those we are trying to reach."