Go back a step

Contact’s response to publication of Ofsted’s annual report

Thursday 6th December 2018

The publication of Ofsted's Annual Report 2017/18 this week highlights the scale of the challenge to support children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and reveals worrying gaps in the provision available.

Providers are improving, but gaps remain

This year's annual report finds that, across the sectors inspected, people are working well to deliver for young people. As a result, more providers are improving. Eighty six per cent of schools were judged good or outstanding at their most recent inspection, which is a substantial improvement since 2010.

However, gaps remain. The annual report highlights areas of most concern, which will require action on the part of policy makers, professionals and Ofsted. One of the areas the Ofsted Chief Inspector is particularly worried about is provision for children with SEND.

Too many pupils with SEND are not getting good-quality education

Schools with the best SEND provision are ambitious for their pupils' success. Pupils and their parents are given clear information and guidance to help them to make the right decisions for their future.

The school curriculum includes carefully planned opportunities for pupils with SEND to develop their independence and work-related knowledge and skills, such as high-quality work placements, internships and apprenticeships.

However, the annual report finds that too many pupils with SEND attending mainstream schools are not getting a good-quality education that meets their individual needs. Outcomes for young people with SEND are often poor by age 16. This is deeply worrying.

It's vital that children with SEND get support to meet their needs

Amanda Batten CEO of Contact says: "We welcome Ofsted's report published today highlighting that much more needs to be done to improve SEND provision in school in order to give children and young people the best chance of being the best they can be.

"Ofsted's concerns echoes the worries of many of the 3,500 parents who call the SEND specialists on our helpline each year worried about their child's education and how to access the support they are entitled to.

"It's particularly worrying that secondary school pupils with SEND are five times more likely than other pupils to have a permanent exclusion. This is also reflected in calls to our helpline and our campaign against illegal exclusions, which found that among disabled children who experienced illegal exclusion, 22 per cent were excluded every week.

"No pupil should be barred from school because of insufficient support. It's vital that children with SEND get the support in school that meets their needs - wherever they live. Schools need to have swift access to specialist support services, and all agencies including school, health, Local Authorities work closely together to ensure the child gets the help they need."