Too many inspectors still tend to regard the school's treatment of pupils with special needs as a bit of an afterthought, according to an analysis of 121 OFSTED reports.
The survey, conducted by the National Association for Special Needs, covered 89 primary, 24 secondary and eight middle schools. One criticism is of the inspectors' tendency to fall back on vague statements unsupported by evidence, such as "pupils with SEN make good progress".
This was the case in 25 per cent of the primary school reports which mentioned SEN in the key findings section. Inspectors also tended to omit SEN pupils when judging the quality of teaching in core subjects.
The report recommends that inspectors become more familiar with the Code of Practice and suggests that reports include a section addressing special needs.
OFSTED Inspection Reports and Special Educational Needs, available from NASEN, 4-5 Amber Business Village, Amber Close, Amington, Tamworth B77 4RP