Ofsted is contradicting itself on SEN teaching

24th September 2010 at 01:00

We learn from Ofsted's report that it believes that some children diagnosed as having special educational needs (SEN) just need better teaching ("Ofsted chief under fire for 'insulting' teachers on SEN", September 17).

I wonder if Ofsted itself is the cause of this misdiagnosis. With Ofsted requiring about 80-85 per cent of children to achieve what used to be average results, are many being labelled "special needs" because they cannot meet these expectations?

We can blame the teachers again and say it is because of poor teaching. But perhaps what is being required to be taught is not suitable for some children?

Teachers are best placed to decide what a child needs to be taught, particularly in literacy and numeracy. Let's allow them to use their professional judgment.

The most shocking statistic in the report is that the proportion of statemented children has dropped by a tenth from 3 per cent to 2.7 per cent. The fact that fewer children now receive this support puts a heavy burden on those schools with children with great additional need and no funding.

Let's not spend more, but more wisely - cut down unnecessary paperwork and bring back specialist teaching for those most in need.

Clive Ireson, Director of strategy, Association of Christian Teachers, Northampton.

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