Natspec has welcomed the publication of Ofsted’s new Education Inspection Framework, in particular the decision to retain the separate high needs judgement in FE and skills inspections, alongside grades for education programmes for young people, apprenticeships and adult learning programmes.
Clare Howard, Natspec chief executive, said “During the consultation process we argued strongly that the separate high needs judgement is a key means of keeping providers focused on meeting the needs of learners with high needs. We are delighted that Ofsted has listened to the case we made, which was supported by many others with an interest in SEND from across the sector. It is right that provision for learners who attract High Needs funding is inspected and graded alongside the other funding streams for young people, apprenticeships and adult learning.
We are equally pleased to see reference to learners with SEND throughout the new inspection framework, demonstrating Ofsted’s commitment to help ensure that young people on SEN support, as well as those with Education, Health and Care Plans, are getting the high quality education and training they deserve, whatever programme they are following.
We also welcome the increased focus on curriculum, the recognition that learner outcomes are about more than qualifications achieved, and the separate treatment of behaviour and attitudes and personal and social development. We believe that the new inspection framework has the potential to serve learners with SEND well: it should lead to clearer judgements about the quality of provision for learners with SEND, allowing young people and their families to make informed choices between different providers, and support continuous improvement of SEND provision across the sector”.
Ofsted has played an important role in driving up standards in post-16 high needs provision, and the separate high needs grade will mean that they can continue to fulfil this function. Effective inspection of high needs provision will ensure that providers are sufficiently held to account for meeting their statutory duties under the 2014 Children and Families Act. It will ensure that learners and their families, as well as LA commissioners and others, will have important information to support them in making decisions about post-16 options or comparing the quality of provision.