Skip to main content

Special Educational Needs: Inspections

Volume 506: debated on Monday 1 March 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many and what proportion of Ofsted inspectors of (a) primary, (b) secondary and (c) special schools have (i) professional experience of working with and (ii) undertaken specialist training in inspecting provision for children with (A) physical disabilities and (B) special educational needs. (314477)

This is a matter for Ofsted. HM Chief Inspector, Christine Gilbert, has written to the hon. Member and a copy of her reply has been placed in the Library.

Letter from Christine Gilbert, dated 19 February 2010:

Your recent parliamentary question has been passed to me, as her Majesty's Chief Inspector, for response.

Detailed information about the professional experience of inspectors in relation to special educational needs and physical disability is not held electronically. However, given that almost all education and training settings have pupils and students with special educational needs and disabilities, and that virtually all inspectors of schools have been teachers, it is almost certain that all of these inspectors have professional experience of working with such pupils.

All inspectors are provided with training on inspecting provision for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities. Ofsted has recently prepared a training update for all school inspectors. HMI have undertaken this training and the material is currently being prepared for the inspection service providers for use with additional inspectors. Fifty-four HMI and 259 additional inspectors who inspect schools have a specialism in special educational needs and disabilities. These numbers include 10 HMI and 102 additional inspectors with a specialism in physical disability. Some of these inspectors have come from specialist backgrounds; for example, they were formerly teachers or headteachers in special schools or mainstream schools that have specially resourced provision, and others have gained expertise through their work as inspectors. Ofsted is currently preparing updated training for all specialist inspectors. This training will be undertaken from the start of the summer term. In addition, an extensive specialist resource pack for inspecting provision for special educational needs in mainstream and special schools is being revised. This material will also be provided for inspectors from the summer term.

Ofsted is committed to making every effort to deploy specialist inspectors to inspect specialist provision in mainstream and special schools.

A copy of this reply has been sent to Vernon Coaker MP, Minister of State for Schools and Learners, and placed in the library in both Houses.