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  • Writer's pictureEquality Act Audits

Ofsted and your School Accessibility Plan

#Ofsted places significant emphasis on accessibility within schools. Since 2019, Ofsted has included accessibility and inclusivity in their inspection framework, as part of the "Personal Development" judgment. This means that inspectors assess how well schools support the inclusion of all pupils, including those with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), as well as those from diverse backgrounds.

In their inspections, Ofsted looks for evidence that schools have:

  1. Clear policies and procedures: Schools must have policies in place to promote equality, diversity, and inclusion, and these policies must be regularly reviewed and updated.

  2. Accessible environments: Inspectors evaluate the physical environment of the school to ensure that it is accessible and inclusive for all pupils, including those with mobility impairments or sensory needs.

  3. Support for pupils with SEND: Schools must demonstrate that they provide effective support for pupils with SEND, including tailored teaching, resources, and adaptations.

  4. Inclusive curriculum: Inspectors assess whether the curriculum is inclusive and meets the needs of all pupils, including those from diverse backgrounds or with SEND.

  5. Staff training and awareness: Schools must demonstrate that staff have received training and support to ensure they are aware of and can meet the needs of all pupils, including those with SEND.

  6. Parental involvement: Inspectors look for evidence that schools involve parents and carers in their decision-making processes, particularly in relation to pupils with SEND.

  7. Monitoring and tracking: Schools must demonstrate that they effectively monitor and track the progress of all pupils, including those with SEND, to identify areas for improvement.

If a school is found to be lacking in these areas, it may be considered inadequate in its provision for accessibility and inclusivity. Conversely, schools that demonstrate a strong commitment to accessibility and inclusivity can be praised for their efforts.

To help schools improve their accessibility and inclusivity, Ofsted also provides guidance and resources on their website, such as the #AccessibilityPlan guide and the "SEND Inspection Guidance" document.

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