04 December 2018


Children with SEND failed by the education system 

IPSEA’s response to Ofsted’s 2018 annual report

Ofsted has today published its annual report examining the quality of schools, early years, children's social care and further education and skills. 

The report highlights some key concerns about support for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) including, refusals to carry out needs assessments, high numbers of exclusions and unlawful exclusions, and instances of off-rolling leading to children and young people with SEND being out of formal education for long periods of time against their wishes and those of their parents. 

Speaking at the launch of the report, Ofsted Chief Inspector, Amanda Spielman, said we “have to do better” for pupils with SEND, highlighting that parents feel pressure to go to “extreme lengths” to try to secure an Education Health and Care plan for their child, and that “something is deeply wrong when parents repeatedly tell inspectors that they have to fight to get the help and support that their child needs”. 

For the parents and carers of children that IPSEA supports, the issues highlighted in the report are certainly commonplace. Ali Fiddy, Chief Executive of IPSEA, said: “The findings in Ofsted’s report come as no surprise to us; they chime with what we see and hear about on a daily basis from the families who access our advice and support services here at IPSEA. We are deeply concerned by the number of children being denied the support that they are legally entitled to and by the frequency with which children with SEND are excluded, both lawfully and unlawfully, and off-rolled. We hope that local authorities and schools will take heed and recognise the risks associated with failing to comply with the legal framework.” 

Read Ofsted's annual report here