Isle of Wight SEND provision a ‘challenge’, says headteacher

The headteacher said mainstream Island schools are “having to cope with pupils who, in many instances, would benefit from specialist provision or additional support within their education setting”

child in classroom

A headteacher has spoken of the struggle of catering for the special education needs and disabilities (SEND) of children in mainstream schools.

Executive headteacher of Oakfield CE Primary School, Colin Haley, spoke following the school’s latest Ofsted inspection.

SEND provision across the Island ‘a challenge’
He said SEND provision across the Island, not just Oakfield, is a ‘challenge’ after inspectors found the school’s curriculum was ‘not consistently well-planned’ for SEND pupils and the ‘pupils did not do as well as they could’.

Inspectors also said ‘leaders had not ensured staff have the expertise they need’ and recommended staff be given suitable training.

Specialist setting for ‘high needs pupils’
Mr Haley said:

“Our mainstream Island schools are having to cope with pupils who, in many instances, would benefit from specialist provision or additional support within their education setting.

“The inspectors witnessed us working with a number of high needs pupils and they saw that the mainstream setting, and the associated training levels of staff, does not provide as well as a specialist setting would for these individuals.

“Oakfield is a very caring, nurturing school rising to that challenge and doing amazingly well with a number of children with very complex needs.

“We are not the only school having to cope with that scenario on the Island and under the circumstances Oakfield is very much a success story.

“Can we do better? Yes we can, and the Oakfield staff are hugely enthusiastic, determined and professionally focused to do so.”

Staff go out of their way to nurture pupils
The Ryde school, part of the Arreton and Oakfield Federation, was rated ‘requires improvement’ again after its January inspection, but was found the school is ‘caring … where staff go out of their way to nurture pupils’.

The primary school was rated ‘good’ for behaviour and attitude of pupils, personal development and early years provision, but ‘requires improvement’ in the quality of education provided and leadership and management.

‘Very clear progress’ made
Mr Haley said the inspection ‘highlighted the very clear progress the school had made’.

He said:

“Staff and pupils have worked extremely hard and the inspectors recognised the strengths in the school, particularly our Christian ethos, wide community links and strong pupil progress in early years.”

Where improvements are needed
Reading programmes had also not been working well enough to help the weakest readers become fluent or enough support was not given to pupils who find reading difficult.

Pupils weaknesses in ‘basic grammar and punctuation’ remained because they have not been properly secured at an earlier stage.

However, inspectors did note new curriculum plans are helping pupils to catch up and the level of learning standards has been increased.

This article is from the BBC’s LDRS (Local Democracy Reporter Service) scheme, which OnTheWight is taking part in. Some alterations and additions may be been made by OnTheWight. Ed

Image: tabor-roeder under CC BY 2.0

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1 Comment on "Isle of Wight SEND provision a ‘challenge’, says headteacher"

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Very interesting statement from the head teacher. The Bay secondary school at Sandown has exactly the specialist unit that he calls for (The Cove) which is for those on the autistic spectrum, yet under current “reorganisaion proposals and cost savings”, this unit is under threat as recently reported in the press. The Island has such provision at only two primary and two secondary schools and soon this… Read more »