Ofsted report expresses concerns with SEND provision

Ofsted has published its 2017-18 annual report. The report highlights concerns raised by Ofsted’s local area SEND inspections. These have shown that:

  • provision for young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) is too disjointed and inconsistent.
  • diagnoses are taking too long and are often inaccurate.
  • mental health needs are not supported sufficiently.
  • the quality of education, health and care (EHC) plans is far too variable.

Critically, the gap in performance and outcomes for children with SEND is widening between the best and worst local areas. Ofsted says that having the right resources, a qualified workforce and strong leadership is crucial to delivering a good service. However, the annual report finds that in too many cases, the capacity for improvement does not exist.

The report finds that the local area assessments have seen a continuing lack of coordinated 0–25 strategies and poor post-19 provision which means some young people just doing the same things for six years more after age 19 and not moving into employment.

Ofsted has seen a continuing trend of rising exclusions among children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities. Ther report finds that identification of SEND is weak and those who do not quite meet the threshold for an EHC plan have poor outcomes.