Ofsted told to ‘match up rhetoric with action’ over SEND training

Research finds ‘concerning picture’ on the quality of training new teachers are receiving to support children with special educational needs


One in seven Ofsted inspections of Initial Teacher Education (ITE) providers fails to mention children with special educational needs or disabilities (SEND), new research shows.

The Driver Youth Trust (DYT), which carried out the research, found that while Ofsted claims it recognises the importance of SEND, it is “failing to carry through its commitment during inspections on the ground.”

Lead Researcher Karen Wespieser said: “We know less than half of teachers feel confident teaching young people with SEND, and this new data adds to a concerning picture on the quality of training new teachers are receiving to support children with special educational needs”.

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Out of 354 inspections of ITE training providers in the past ten years, 50 do not mention SEND at all, the research shows.

The analysis also found that the average ITE report contains just one mention of SEND.

 “The research cited in our new position paper highlights an increasing need to match up rhetoric and action”, said DYT’s CEO Chris Rossiter. “It is reassuring that Ofsted is recognising SEND as a key component of effective education practice.

“We must ensure SEND forms an integral part of teacher training  and that this is reflected and reported on through the work of inspectors on the ground”.

There are currently over 1,000 providers of ITE in England.

An Ofsted spokesperson said: "Trainee teachers must be able to meet the needs of all pupils they teach, including those with special educational needs and or disabilities (SEND). All Ofsted’s initial teacher education (ITE) inspections look at whether trainees are being taught to recognise signs of SEND so that they can help pupils overcome barriers to their learning. Inspectors also look at whether trainees can plan pupils’ learning effectively so that all, including those with SEND, make good progress.

"The fact that not all reports mention SEND is not an indicator of either the evidence gathered at inspection, nor the importance we place on this vital area of provision. We are currently developing the new ITE inspection framework for commencement in 2020 and, as with now, training teachers how to provide well for pupils with SEND will be a top priority."

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Dave Speck

Dave Speck is a reporter at Tes

Find me on Twitter @Specktator100

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