1 in 4 parents with SEND children unhappy with school support, Ofsted reveals

A quarter of parents with SEND children don’t think they are offered enough support at school, according to the first Ofsted parent survey results published since the introduction of its new framework.

The schools watchdog today released management information from its online Parent View survey tool reflecting submissions collected between September 2019 and January.

Parents complete a survey asking questions on issues such as bullying, behaviour and happiness. However, parents seem most dissatisfied at the level of support provided to SEND pupils.

The survey found 25 per cent of parents with SEND children attending maintained schools either ‘disagreed’ or ‘strongly disagreed’ that their child’s school “gives them the support they need to succeed”.

A total of 46 per cent ‘strongly agreed’ that their child was supported enough, while another 25 per cent ‘agreed’.

However 65 per cent of parents with children at independent schools strongly agreed their child received good support.

But it is difficult to provide a like-for-like comparison as the average submissions per independent school was two, compared to six for mainstream schools.

Parents of children with SEND attending special schools were on average far happier with the care provided – with 89 per cent agreeing the care provided helped their children succeed.

This is the first time a survey has asked parents about the topic following a blog from the inspectorate which announced it would be looking more closely into the issue.

The SEND crisis has received increasing attention. In October, the cross-party parliamentary education committee published a landmark report which contended the Department for Education “set local authorities up to fail” and could not offer schools necessary support.

Geoff Barton

While Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) explained how analysis from the Education Policy Institute found despite recent spending announcements for schools “additional funding for pupils with high needs is short of what is required”.

When breaking down responses based on the type of school the child attends, the data found parents with SEND children at secondary school were the most dissatisfied with support (31 per cent).

This compared with 26 per cent of those attending primary school, and no negative responses from parents of nursery children.

London schools had the most positive responses: 73 per cent of SEND parents agreed their child received the support they needed.

While the South West and North East, Yorkshire and Humber had the lowest positive responses, at 69 per cent.

Elsewhere the report revealed 40 per cent of parents felt their child was not doing well at their school and 43 per cent believed the school didn’t support their child’s wider personal development.