helping the young with learning Difficulties

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Ofsted: The Special Needs and
Disability Review


Assessment and identification

n Any further changes to improve the system of assessment should focus on quality and improving outcomes for learners.

n Local areas should consider using the same assessment system across all services for all children and young people who are likely to need additional support from more than one service.

n The system of assessment and identification needs to avoid raising parental expectations unfairly about the level of available funding and range of provision.

n Schools should stop identifying pupils as having special educational needs when they simply need better teaching and pastoral support.

n When a child or young person is underachieving, the school or setting should begin by analysing the effectiveness of its generic teaching and systems for support before deciding that she or he has special educational needs.

Access to and quality of provision

n The first priority for all children should be good teaching and learning and good pastoral support.

n Early years providers, schools and colleges should be able to meet a wider range of additional needs as a matter of course, and their main funding should reflect local levels of need accordingly.

n Access to additional services should not always depend on a formal process of assessment or medical diagnosis.

n Specific rights to additional provision, enshrined in law, should apply only to disabled children and young people where the Disability Discrimination Act applies.

n Where young people are protected by the Disability Discrimination Act, their rights to additional provision should not depend, as they do at present, on where they are being educated. In particular, young people aged between 16 and 19 should have similar entitlements, whether they are at school or college.

Evaluation and accountability

n Evaluation should focus on the outcomes desired for and achieved by children and young people with additional needs. It should not focus only on whether they have received the services prescribed.

n Schools and other services should give urgent attention to improving the quality of their evaluation of additional provision. Similar considerations apply to post ̶ 16 providers in relation to young people with complex needs.

n Good evaluation requires systems that track progress securely towards planned outcomes and information that is used rigorously and regularly to evaluate the impact of interventions.

n School and national performance indicators should include the data that is now collected on the progress and outcomes of children and young people working below Level 1 of the National Curriculum.

n Schools should not be the only organisations held to account legally for the outcomes of children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities. All the services involved in any common assessment should be bound equally by its terms.

n The Code of Practice for Special Educational Needs and its statutory basis should be reviewed to reflect these recommendations across relevant departments.

n Any further changes to legislation or guidance should not simply add to the current arrangements but, rather, should simplify them and improve their consistency across different services and for children of different ages and levels of need.


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