Chapter 14 - Ofsted Framework for SEND

14.1 Introduction

Ofsted inspects educational settings to improve practice. There is a requirement to show that all pupils are making progress.  When making their judgements inspectors must consider pupils with SEND and the extent to which the education provided meets their needs. 

14.2 SEND Provision and Policies

During an Ofsted inspection the focus will be on the vulnerable pupils and the pupils who are underachieving or not making expected progress. Special Educational Needs Co-ordinators (SENCOs) and Inclusion Managers are important contributors and so it is vital that they are ready for an inspection. They will need to be able to discuss the SEND provision and be prepared to answer questions to explain why it is as it is. There will be a need to be clear, with regard to SEND, on what the whole school/college/setting is doing, how it is being done and why it is being done. It is important to stay positive and be proactive about what is being done to address any issues; what is working well and what is not working as well. Self-evaluation will be helpful showing how the SEND action plan links to the school improvement/development plan. 

The SEND Policy and other relevant policies (e.g. behaviour policy, equality policy, accessibility plan) are key to good practice. Parent friendly information must be available through the SEND Local Offer (School Information Report) on the school/college/setting website. When reviewed annually it is important to ensure they are known and understood by all school staff and governors.

Being prepared is an on-going process and the whole school, supported by the senior leadership, needs to be part of this. Setting time to meet regularly with senior leadership enables SENCOs to be more effective when monitoring and evaluating SEND provision and this in turn helps the whole school to support the progress of the more vulnerable pupils. There are opportunities too for analysis of others’ views of SEND Provision e.g. Whole Staff Professional Development Audits, Parent Questionnaires.

14.3 Observation

When inspectors are observing teaching, they are evaluating the quality of learning. Prior to an inspection the SENCO and other senior leaders may wish to help colleagues through observation and coaching. The SENCO may wish to monitor if the work set is appropriate in meeting the needs of individual pupils and check that it is challenging the learner to make learning progress. Alongside this the SENCO should check that the teacher monitors SEND pupils’ progress and adapts their teaching accordingly. It is useful to observe classroom feedback and conversations to ensure discussions and questioning prompt positive learning outcomes for the SEND pupils.

14.4 Gathering Evidence

Gathering evidence to demonstrate success is helpful and it can be collected at planned times by all staff as part of whole school improvement processes. Examples of evidence are; case studies, samples of work, minutes from work scrutiny sessions, attendance data, formative and summative assessments, minutes from support agency meetings, letters from pleased parents. Ensure that the evidence is well organised and easily accessible. Be certain everyone knows everything that the school has been doing and everyone is ready to talk with understanding, including all non-teaching staff and governors.

The SENCO needs to check that all the support staff and the teachers they are working alongside have a clear understanding of each of their pupil’s needs and the progress they are making. The teachers are responsible and accountable for the progress and development of all the pupils in their class, even when they are accessing support elsewhere. 

14.5 Portfolio

As a SENCO it is useful to develop a portfolio of evidence evaluating the school’s effectiveness and to help with whole school self-evaluation.

A SEND portfolio can include the following:

  • Data analysis showing progress according to age and prior attainment
  • Analysis of data trends
  • Evaluation using comparative data - Progression Guidance 2010 to 2011: advice on improving data to raise attainment and maximise the progress of learners with special educational needs (external link)
  • Evidence that senior leadership are involved in evaluating of the progress made by SEND pupils 
  • Evidence of the Graduated Approach:  Assess-Plan-Do-Review 
  • Evidence that shows there are good identification processes for pupils with SEND which are moderated by the senior leadership
  • Evidence of whole school moderation for learning, social, emotional and behavioural development 
  • Evidence that senior leadership are involved in evaluating the curriculum to ensure it is appropriate in meeting the needs of SEND pupils
  • Evaluation of SEND support to ensure the best use of support staff to improve outcomes for pupils for learning, social, emotional and behavioural development
  • Evidence that all staff support children with SEND appropriately to ensure positive behaviour and learning outcomes
  • Evidence of lesson observations (including interventions) and learning walks which focus on the progress of children with SEND for learning, social, emotional and behavioural development
  • Evidence that all staff make effective use of assessments to develop positive behaviour and learning opportunities with high expectations which enable all SEND pupils to achieve 
  • Evidence that senior leadership are involved in a planned approach to the professional development of all staff with regard to SEND 
  • Evidence of professional development which has had an impact on outcomes for your pupils for learning, social, emotional and behavioural development
  • Analysis of behaviour and attendance data in relation to SEND pupils – including punctuality, exclusions, bullying
  • Evidence of  pupils’ voice with regard to their attitudes to school/learning, how safe they feel in school and their aspirations for their own future
  • Evidence that the senior leadership and governing body proactively model high expectations for your SEND pupils 
  • Evidence that the SENCO is a qualified teacher who has received the appropriate SENCO training and is encouraged to further develop through training and other opportunities 
  • Evidence that the governors support and challenge SEND provision

14.6 Self-Evaluation of SEND Provision

During the self-evaluation of SEND provision the following questions could be asked:

  • Do all staff and pupils have high expectations for the achievement of all SEND pupils?
  • Can good or better teaching and learning for all our SEND pupils at all times be demonstrated?
  • Is provision based on a careful analysis of need?
  • Is individual’s progress closely monitored?
  • Do all staff have a shared vision of desired outcomes?
  • Is the evaluation of the effectiveness of provision helping to improve opportunities and progress for our SEND pupils?
  • Is there a whole school approach to improving general provision as part of a Graduated Approach to SEND rather than just increasing additional provision?
  • As a result of evaluating achievement and well-being, are desired changes made swiftly?
  • Do SEND pupils become independent and resilient learners?
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