Petition OFSTED to consider pupils with SEND within their latest behaviour guidance

The Education Rights Alliance has started a petition to Ofsted to request that  pupils with SEND are considered within the latest guidance from Ofsted on the management of ‘low level disruptive’ behaviour. The problem with this is that it places the responsibility for all such behaviour within the child and also adopts a ‘zero tolerance’ policy. There is no account taken of inaccessible sensory classroom environments, presentation of lessons the content of which may be meaningless for some children etc., all of which might contribute to disruptive behaviour.

The link to the petition is https://secure.avaaz.org/en/petition/Sir_Michael_Wilshaw_Ofsted_Promote_inclusion_in_schools/?oRmErib

The details of the petition can be found below:

Sir Michael Wilshaw, Ofsted: Promote inclusion in schools

Dear Sir Michael,

‘Below the radar: low-level disruption in the country’s classrooms’.

We write to express our serious concern about Ofsted’s recently published report, ‘Below the radar: low-level disruption in the country’s classrooms’.

The report makes no mention of pupils with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), yet much of the’ low-level disruptive behaviour’ listed reads like a checklist for some of the behaviours exhibited by children with SEND, especially those with unsupported SEND. For example, Ofsted’s report lists; “talking and chatting”, “disturbing other children”,” calling out”, “not getting on with work”, “fidgeting or fiddling with equipment”,” not having the correct equipment”, “purposely making noise to gain attention”, “answering back or questioning instructions” and “swinging on chairs”. The failure to note the link between these seemingly ‘non-normal’ behaviours and SEND is a startling omission which could undermine efforts at inclusive practice and encourage schools, and parents, to see children with different needs as being inconsistent with a productive learning environment.

This would be a hugely regressive step which could encourage unlawful and discriminatory practices. It is notable that Ofsted’s report makes no reference to the Equality Act 2010, although the law requires reasonable adjustments be made to ensure that disabled pupils are not placed at a detrimental disadvantage because of their disabilities. There is clear evidence that a failure to adjust the educational environment may significantly affect pupils with SEND such as autism. Behaviour which is linked to a child’s disabilities should never result in a situation where a child is punished and treated less favourably because of that disability. Further, the Equality Act also requires schools to pay due regard to the need to eliminate disability discrimination in all their policies and practices: this includes behaviour policies. Ofsted entirely overlooks the clear, statutory requirement to ensure that blanket policies do not directly/indirectly discriminate against those with disabilities

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About The Autism Centre, Sheffield Hallam University

The Autism Centre is part of the Department of Education, Childhood and Inclusion within the Faculty of Development and Society, Sheffield Hallam University. The Autism Centre promotes a view of autism as a different way of being. Whilst many people may live happy and accomplished lives with autism, different ways of being can challenge and confuse others. To help with understanding The Autism Centre delivers accredited courses at undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral level. Its team of academics engage with research and consultancy and publish widely on the autism spectrum and disability.
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