- However much time a pupil may spend in alternative provision, they remain the responsibility of the school.
- Inspectors must evaluate the rigour with which the school monitors the attendance, behaviour, learning and progress of the pupils who attend alternative provision.
- Pupils’ work should be challenging with the focus on progress in academic outcomes and personal development.
- Attendance should be rigorously monitored as failure to do so will be judged as a lapse in safeguarding.
- Managing behaviour should not rely on exclusion.
- Impact is all-important and improved behaviour should lead to better learning attitudes, relationships and social responsibility and achievement.
Inspection evaluates the personal and academic outcomes for all groups of pupils. This has always included those pupils that attend on and off-site specially resourced provision. The inspection handbook makes it clear that if these pupils are not making sufficient progress, or receiving proper care, the school could be judged inadequate overall.
There is a very clear principle that however much time a pupil may spend in alternative provision, they remain the responsibility of the school.
The inspection process
Before the inspection
One of the first things the lead inspector will check in the initial phone call is whether the school has any special educational needs or additional resourced provision and whether any pupils attend off-site alternative provision, either full-time or part-time. If this is the case, the inspector will go into further details such as the nature of the provision and whether it is run by the LA, by the school or in partnership with others.
The inspector will ask the school to provide specific information about the number of pupils and the range of the needs catered for, timetables, the type(s) of language/communication systems used, staffing arrangements and any outreach services provided. Schools should have this information readily available to send immediately after the phone call.
The lead inspector will go through the available evidence to determine whether this will be a special focus in the inspection.
During the inspection
The amount of inspection time devoted will depend upon whether it has been identified as a special focus but inspectors will always give specific attention to the quality of learning within mainstream lessons and on-site separate provision and evidence of learning in off-site alternative provision. Evidence will include discussions with pupils and staff, observations in lessons and public areas and looking at examples of pupils’ work. Inspectors will also scrutinise the school’s records and documentation relating, for example, to pupils’ academic and vocational achievement and the welfare and safety of pupils in alternative provision. They may wish to speak to key partners who work with the school. They must evaluate the rigour with which the school monitors the attendance, behaviour, learning and progress of the pupils who attend alternative provision.
Inspectors will investigate whether the courses selected are driven by the pupils’ needs, interests and aptitudes. Courses should be linked to those in school to provide a coherent curriculum. Pupils should not be ‘missing’ other courses and be expected to ‘catch up’. Pupils’ work should be challenging and not ‘time filling’ and possible accreditation should be at the right level. The focus is on progress in academic outcomes and personal development.
Safeguarding checks will include risk assessments and outcomes.
Attendance should be rigorously monitored and failure to do so will be judged as a lapse in safeguarding. High attendance is a hallmark of good provision.
Specially resourced provision for SEND
The report must compare the quality of the resourced provision against that of the main school on all the key areas for inspection.
The outcomes judgement is based upon the full range of evidence from pupils in the main school and those in the resource-based provision. Whenever there is a discrepancy between the outcomes for learners in resource-based provision and other learners in the school, inspectors will expect that the school will have investigated this and can provide an evidence-based explanation. They will then check this for accuracy. The focus will be on progress based on pupils’ ages and starting points (baseline) alongside the time pupils have attended the specially resourced provision.
Personal development, behaviour and welfare
Some specially resourced provision may be for pupils with behavioural, emotional and social difficulties. Inspectors will be looking for more than just behaviour management strategies for the base to be judged good. If the specially resourced provision is working well there should not be a reliance on exclusion to manage behaviour.
Preventative and social and emotional learning opportunities should be high profile and rigorously evaluated. This can be done, for example, through providing additional support for pupils’ social and emotional barriers to learning, in the same way as literacy or numeracy interventions might be provided. There should also be clear systems for identifying and making referrals for suspected mental health needs.
Inspectors will not base judgements solely on behaviour observed during the inspection. They will check data and records, talk to pupils and staff, take note of parental views and follow these up as appropriate. They will explore relationships between attendance and behaviour, for example whether behaviour is good because those who misbehave are absent.
Do the school’s strategies work? Do pupils modify their behaviour? What progress is made in social skills and behaviour by pupils in the specially resourced provision?
If pupils are withdrawn for intervention group work, inspectors will check whether behaviour is a reason for this. If so, is this a strategy to contain poor behaviour or are pupils receiving support and guidance to improve their behaviour so that they can return to working with the rest of their class?
Impact is all-important. Improved behaviour should lead to better learning attitudes, relationships and social responsibility and achievement.
Teaching and learning
Inspectors will evaluate the effectiveness of teaching and whether it ensures that pupils are engaged and making good progress. There will be a sharp focus on high expectations.
They will investigate whether pupils follow a different or the same curriculum as others in the school and the impact of this on equal opportunities. The participation of different groups in extra-curricular activities will also be analysed.
After the inspection
The report must make clear judgements on the quality of resourced provision. This will include learning and progress, attainment, teaching and learning and leadership and management. The report must explain and clarify any differences in outcomes and the quality of provision between those with special educational needs in the main school and those attending the resource-based provision.
Use the following items in the Toolkit to help you put the ideas in this article into practice:
- Checklist – Evaluating ambition and improvements in achievement69.50 KB
- Checklist – Ambition and improvements in achievement evidence 57.50 KB
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