1. OFSTED Lead for SEND Nick Whittaker

Background – Nick Whittaker – 5 years MHI SEND lead one year – Headteacher Special School
Inspections – Local area inspections – OFSTED schools and ITT University
Local area inspections – 5 year strategy force for improvement – intelligent, responsible and focussed (impact)

Local area inspections 151 areas over five yrs – 100 to date in about 50% areas of specific weaknesses. Important to note that systemic weaknesses but also examples of where arrangements are working well.
Where there is a statement of written action there are re-visits to ensure that the local areas testing the progress in addressing the areas of weakness within the statement. Acknowledge in area with no written statement of action still areas for development – if no improvement is made then a statutory notice of action.
The future when local area inspections ends 2021 dialogue is now taking place with stakeholders.
The lack of some clinical medical officers was noted as a difficulty within local authority inspections related to EHCPs
A common areas of weakness effectiveness of joint commissioning SLCN , Physiotherapy etc..Where it is working more effectively it is more responsive – they have a clear picture of the needs of pupils and they evidence the impact and outcomes.

Next report Local area inspections within the chief inspectors annual report
Note SEND report and chief HMI reports coming out – SEND reform

Add handbook section 5 and annex materials – guidance para 314
Links to preparation for life after school education, employment and training.

The quality of the curriculum – intent (ambition translated into a framework)

Education Inspection Framework -(EIF)– takes a strong stance on inclusion –Leadership and Management – Quality of education

Move towards real focus on the substance of education and how leaders assess pupils learning and preparing them for what is come next after school.
Access to a rich and broad curriculum with a depth of knowledge and skills.

Intent – Implementation and Impact –
Intent – framework of aims skills and knowledge – building towards something that is ambitious
Implementation – How translated into practice thorough teaching – expert knowledge and key concepts – checking understanding gaps in knowledge etc..
use and apply knowledge fluency – automaticity – Curriculum sequenced overtime with assessment opportunities and what does it tell us leading to difference s in teaching
Impact – are they building towards something ambitious?

Inspection methodology – Not looking at internal school data but evidence of learning – annotation – video/photos – work scrutiny

Inspecting the curriculum May 2019 document sequence of inspection activities
How decisions are made by curriculum leaders – what this looks like and is offered in your school
Deep dive needs a unit of progression i.e. a subject
Aims and content – how implemented and what does this look like – for PMLD unit of progression might be building towards a different set of outcomes – e.g. communication, social or physical development etc..

OFSTED expect a written statement of intent for distinct group of pupils including decisions about what curriculum is building towards a model of progression.
Leaders to have a dialogue with OFSTED – Deep dives might be areas of subject that are strong or viewed as needing development.
Inspectors will talk about what you are assessing and how but not look at or validate internal data. They will look at progression from EYs through key stages – Post 16 how have they built up over the years and prepare for life after school and adulthood.

Parent/Carers – changes to the online questionnaire – Inspectors might follow up with SENCO conversations with parents and carers – needs identified – involved in decision making in terms of support and how it is working. Feature more prominently within the inspection report.

2. Policy and DFE updates

Major review pupils with SEND released

National audit office report SENDS

Engagement model out in middle of November 2019 – video to support the launch and a training programme

Not going to plan EHCP two years on – Document Link

3. Issues related to Brexit –which may impact upon special schools

  • Availability of staff teaching and support staff
  • Safeguarding of families – increase in hate crimes
  • Benefits delivered on time
  • Resources and equipment
  • Mental health of young people
    School meals etc..

These are notes taken from the meeting so accuracy might vary – the actual minutes will be available on https://www.sendforum.org/

Please see the National SEND Forum website the link is


The website contains information about the group and which organisations currently attend – this includes events and the National SEND Forum minutes.

The meeting in May 2019 focussed upon the Timpson review and the review of the SEN COP which will be revised by 2020 although this is likely to be minor revisions and the group plan to complete a list of ideas at the next meeting in July 2019.

Please see the SEND and AP provision consultation which is open until the 31st July 2019 the link is attached


The next focus was on whole school SEND its structure and function – please see the link to whole school SEND


The group will be meeting with Lorraine Mulroney (NHS SEND) and formulated questions to be asked when she attends the group at the July 2019 meeting.

The full agreed minutes will be available on the National SEND Forum website shortly

Steve Cullingford-Agnew

A group of like-minded advocates for people with profound and multiple learning disabilities came together several times in 2016, in order to identify a means of ensuring a stronger voice for people, at a national level, and to aim to ensure that people received good quality service and support regardless of where they lived and who was providing their support. ‘Supporting people with profound and multiple learning disabilities’ CORE & ESSENTIAL SERVICE STANDARDS is an excellent resource in order to ensure that people with profound and multiple learning disabilities have access to consistent high-quality support throughout their lives, when supported by any service provider.


For more resources and information to support people with profound and multiple learning disabilities also look at PMLD Link

Steve Cullingford-Agnew

Report to EQUALS members

1. The forum had received a reply from the DfE following their letter to Philip Hammond about lack of funding for special schools. The reply was very general and was not felt to be an adequate response. This will be followed up by the group in discussion with the DfE

2. The qualitative evaluation has been published around the 7 aspect of engagement please see the link below. Whilst there were a number of positive outcomes from members who are part of school hubs there were also concerns around workload and it is likely that the pilots will run until 2020. A number of members will develop some questions around the aspects of engagement which will be put before Andrea Imich when he next attends the National SEND Forum.

Exemplification for the Pre Key Stage Standards with annotated notes and videos should also be available soon.


Approaches to assessment without levels in schools – DfE – December 2108


3. OFSTED framework – a much more positive framework which allows schools to take greater responsibility for the development of the curriculum and personalise learning to meet pupil needs. (See link below). It will also provide opportunities for Inclusive school to attain outstanding and not be held back by attainment data. Some concerns were noted around lack of inspection notice related to pupil disruption and the need for greater flexibility around behaviour.
Ofsted framework consultation


4. The UCL report implications for Whole School Send around the special needs index is now in draft form and should be out shortly. It contains National/Regional and LA data sets on aspects of SEND from EYs to Secondary aged students.

5. New schools Network – The Local Authority led wave 2 new free special schools window and materials should be out early 2019.

6. EQUALS future events

– Conference ‘Curriculum at the heart of learning’ Friday 5th July 2019
– Pre-formal PMLD Curriculum –  ‘ A person centered and holistic curriculum for learners with profound and multiple learning difficulties’ is now available
– The ‘Semi-formal Curriculum’ scheme of work for  ‘My Outdoor School’ will be available shortly
– Updated schemes of work for Maths and Science – formal subject-specific – are now available

I will inform members of the next main agendas items and please do identify any issues or questions that you would like me to raise at the meetings on your behalf as a member of EQUALS.

Steve Cullingford-Agnew


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