We’re currently calling on the Government to require Ofsted to inspect local SEN services in England to make sure that local authorities comply with the law and to protect vital services for deaf children.
We have identified our top 5 reasons for why we are calling for Ofsted to inspect services for deaf children:
- There is currently very little information about the quality of SEN services. Unlike mainstream teachers and schools, the skills of visiting Teachers of the Deaf and the quality of the overall service provided to deaf children are not subject to any formal scrutiny. We think this is massively unfair. Why should parents of deaf children get much less information about the support their child receives compared to other children?
- We are concerned that it will be easier for local authorities to cut services if they are not held to account for the impact these cuts will have. Freedom of Information requests have revealed that across England 37% of local authorities are cutting vital education services (such as Teachers of the Deaf) for deaf children in 2014/15.
- It’s unfair to leave it to parents to police the system – being a parent is already a full time job! Despite this, the Government have recently made loads of changes to the special educational needs framework in England without putting in place any system for external checks on how it’s all being implemented.
- Ofsted has already identified that local authorities are very weak on evaluation of SEN provision. In a 2012 Ofsted report on effective practice in services for deaf children, it was found that:
“There was limited strategic overview and no systematic approach across all services to evaluate the quality of services and their impact on improving the lives of deaf children.”
To date, nothing has been done to follow up this issue.
- The Government spends a significant amount of money – over £5,000 million – on supporting children with SEN through the ‘High Needs’ budget. Independent inspections of services would help focus on whether this funding is spent effectively and in a way that raises outcomes for children with SEN.
We believe that this small change to the inspection of schools could make a big difference to the quality of SEN services across the country. We’re waiting to hear from Ofsted and the Department for Education if they are going to take action on this. We will keep you updated with any progress or news on this important issue.
What do you think? Do you think Ofsted should be asked to inspect services for deaf children? Do you think someone should be checking the quality of your local service? Have your say and leave a comment below.