Q. We are expecting an Ofsted inspection. What is the latest information about inspection of SEND?

Published: Friday, 23 June 2017

A. On Ofsted’s latest newsletter there was reference to a presentation for the NAHT conference on how Ofsted evaluates SEND in schools. There are no major changes here and inspectors will be looking for the learning and progress of different groups of pupils currently on roll in the school. One of the groups is, of course, pupils with SEND. 

School leaders will be expected to show that differences across levels of need, groups and subjects are effectively challenged. Inspectors will look to see that:

  • there are high aspirations for the achievement of SEND pupils
  • teaching and learning for SEND pupils is good or better
  • provision is based on careful analysis of need, close monitoring of individual progress and a shared perception of desired outcomes
  • there is regular evaluation of the effectiveness of the
  • provision swift changes are made as a result of evaluating outcomes and well-being.

The Ofsted slides also refer to the inspections of local areas that began in May 2016. This will not be referred to in your individual school report, but you may be visited as part of the local area inspection and asked for your views.

What you should be aware of is the increase in focus on ensuring that governors challenge the way that SEN funding is being used and that this is securing excellent outcomes. Make sure you have robust procedures in your school to demonstrate this.

What inspectors are not looking for is any particular style of teaching or methodology being used. However, they will be looking at the contribution that teaching assistants make and the training and development they receive.

Make sure your assessment practices are robust and provide you with useful and accurate information that enables you to pick up quickly on pupils who are falling behind. Teachers need to be equipped to make consistent judgements and modify their teaching according to what the assessment tells them.

Inspectors will want evidence that parents are given guidance about how to support their child to improve and that behaviour is managed effectively with clear rules.

The progress of pupils with SEND is considered in relation to the progress of all pupils nationally with similar starting points. Inspectors will want to see the impact that funded support has on closing gaps. Most importantly: ‘the expectation is that the identification of special educational needs leads to additional or different arrangements being made and a consequent improvement in progress’. 

Further information

How Ofsted evaluates special educational needs and disabilities provision in schools: http://bit.ly/2px8D7h

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