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Education Inspection Framework.
Ofsted is the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills for the United Kingdom government. On 16th January 2019, Ofsted published their proposals for changes to the Education Inspection Framework. (Document updated on 29 July 2019).
Likewise, Ofsted have to ensure that, (through inspection) the educational institutions meet the legal requirements of The Equality Act 2010. Hence, making reasonable adjustments for disabled pupils. More so, that they are legally protecting them from discrimination too. Therefore, it is always good practice for Ofsted to reassess how they go about their inspection process. (Addressing issues with their current education inspection framework).
Draft Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Statement.
The draft Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Statement covers disability, race, religion and belief and sex. For the purpose of this blog, I will only be focusing on disability.
Two areas of concern identified in the draft statement are the narrowing of the curriculum, and not having equal access to high-quality education. (Not offering some learner a broader curriculum).
The main focus of performance measures is on tests and exams results. It then becomes a numbers game.
Quantitative data measures progress, which is more efficient. However, using this research method (solely) does not give you an overall scope on what’s going on. Additionally, there may be external factors that impact on a person’s education.
At the end of every academic year, I receive a school report, which measure my son’s achievements. (Compared to the expected standard for that year group). Likewise, my son’s score showed that he’s underachieving for his age. I see the report more of a formality, as schools have to provide it.
Top of the League Table.
There is focus on nurseries deterring from taking on children with SEND. Furthermore, for older students, they are not accessing further education, (or do not complete their course). Therefore, it saddens me that we are in that mentality of focusing on numbers only. Seeing which school is at the top of the league table.
Imagine feeling like your child cannot access high-quality education as they may be seen like they impact negatively, (somehow), on the school’s reputation. The reason for some children not achieving the grades could include: the way the curriculum is taught, lack of specialist intervention, sensory, or social, which is no fault of their own.
It is somewhat useful to have something to compare each school with. Although, you have to consider that some schools may rank lower because they are accepting a higher proportion of pupils with special educational needs. (Not to say that everyone with SEND are low academic achievers). If anything, these schools should be praised. These schools are showing that they are more accepting and have an appreciation for diversity.
When choosing a school for your child, it really does go beyond numbers. You have to look at the school’s ethos, their safeguarding policy and SEND policy, Additionally, how in practice, they work to make a more inclusive environment.
Inclusion, personal development, and my son’s happiness are way more important to me than where he academically is at compared to others.
Teaching and education are more than just being confined within an educational institution. It is having a moral outlook and reflecting on how inclusive teaching practices can help a person be more included within society. It starts with teaching younger children within the Early Years Framework.
In Early Years, they do include learning of understanding the world, and understanding that the world is not just confined to academic capabilities.
Narrowing of the curriculum (as highlighted in the statement) can result in unlawful discrimination. More choice needs to be offered, and that is what the proposed changes to the inspection framework aim to achieve. Yes, not everyone is academic, but this does not mean that they do not have any skills to offer.
Quality of Education.
Qualitative data is a process that describes the figures and the meaning behind them. So, it is always useful to include this to provide validity and a more in-depth understanding of the outcomes.
Ofsted’s proposed key judgment areas for all education will focus on the quality of education, behaviour and attitudes, personal development; and leadership and management. That way their inspections will extend beyond to just academic learning. I see this being a step in the right direction.
Thus, I personally do not want to feel like as I’m looking at the prospects of secondary school; I am questioning myself on how can my son fit into this education system? The question should really be, how can educational providers offer an inclusive environment that embraces my son’s way of learning? Only then, can I be confident that my son will be able to achieve his goals in life. (may it be non-academic).
Disclaimer: This blog is for information purposes and based on my personal views.
Similar post to this: SEND Support in Mainstream Schools.