Special needs of OFSTED

17th March 1995 at 00:00
I am the head of a therapeutic community for young people with a combination of learning difficulties, behavioural and emotional problems.

Having been inspected recently, I believe that the whole system for assessing centres like ours is deeply flawed. The people involved are like blind men or women touching a part of an elephant and drawing conclusions as to what this strange beast might be.

Allington Manor deals with the education, care and psychological treatment of young people. While OFSTED could deliver erudite remarks on the failings of a particular educational approach, they had little or nothing to say about the care and therapeutic aspects of our work.

But these two aspects are, in fact, the most important in seeking to redeem and sometimes even totally rehabilitate youngsters who have failed in many other schools.

While we do have educational requirements, including the national curriculum, there are other, fundamental things to tackle with these young people.

I believe that the best and most useful asssessment of our work would be made by people with experience in running similar establishments. They would know how difficult and complex the task is. Such people could assess the care side of what is, after all, a residential home.

They would also have knowledge and experience of treatment within therapeutic communities, using a great variety of psychological techniques.

Until this is done, centres such as mine will undoubtedly never pass the test despite the fact that we are helping youngsters whom nobody else wishes or is able to help. Mainstream education and, indeed, many special schools fail them.

And until OFSTED becomes aware of the nature and complexity of pupils with special needs, inspections will never be satisfactory and certainly will do little to improve the prospects of children who are in dire need of specialist help.

Dr Ludwig Lowenstein is principal of Allington Manor, Eastleigh, Hampshire

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number

Comments

The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now