The key take-outs from the education committee SEND report
Improvements to special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) provision in schools is needed to ensure all pupils get a quality education, a new report states.
The parliamentary education committee, a cross-party set of MPs, has released a report detailing the findings of an 18-month review.
It includes numerous recommendations for the government and several other bodies, including several key take-outs as detailed here.
Ofsted should rule on SEND provision
The report states that when inspecting schools, Ofsted should provide a separate ruling for parents to provide assurance “that schools are delivering for individual children with SEND”.
It was noted that more can be done to boost the education on offer for all pupils, with the committee adding that legislation may be needed to change the way inspections are carried out.
One option could see the development of “a separate type of specialised inspection focusing on SEND”, with a focus on the support that schools provide.
Social care ombudsman requires greater power
The report recommends that local authorities and the social care ombudsman should have legislation to look at what takes place within schools.
Ombudsman Michael King said he was only capable of looking at “everything up to the school gate”, with the report suggesting greater powers are needed to ensure improvements in schools.
Local authorities to have greater control over new special schools
Local authorities should also have the ability to open new maintained specialist schools that are outside of the limitations of the free schools’ programme.
Under current rules, strict restrictions exist regarding the opening of new school places, although the report suggests there should be more flexibility so that individual regions can address areas of particular need.
A SENCO for all schools?
The report asks the government to explore the possibility of forcing every school to have a dedicated full-time special educational needs co-ordinator (SENCO).
Currently, a number of these staff are part-time and can often be asked to complete other duties, meaning they are not supporting teachers and pupils was required.
The inquiry also states that all SENCOs should complete certain training courses upon taking a role and has called on the Department for Education to introduce such a ruling.
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