Area SEND inspection: guidance for inspectors

Guidance for inspecting how well local areas support children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities.

Applies to England


Area SEND framework and handbook for January 2023

The handbook for the inspection of local areas’ effectiveness in identifying and meeting the needs of children and young people who have special educational needs and/or disabilities: for use until 31 December 2022

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We have released a new version of the area SEND framework and handbook that will come into force on 1 January 2023. The existing guidance still applies in the meantime.

We ran a consultation on the framework and draft handbook in summer 2022. We also ran a separate consultation for children and young people.

From April 2021, we began revisiting local areas required to produce a written statement of action.

This handbook is primarily a guide for inspectors on how to carry out local area inspections. The handbook should also support local areas in their self-evaluation and ongoing improvement.

It should be read alongside the framework.

Local areas can share the leaflet about area SEND inspections with children and young people and parents and carers.

Read outcome letters from joint local area SEND inspections.

Published 27 April 2016
Last updated 29 November 2022 + show all updates
  1. Added a link to the new area SEND framework and handbook following the outcome of a consultation.

  2. Edits throughout: see 'Summary of changes' for details.

  3. Added guidance about re-visits that Ofsted will carry out from April 2021 onwards.

  4. Added new Part 3 to the guidance. This sets out arrangements for re-visits to local areas where a written statement of action is required.

  5. Added Re-visits to local areas issued with a written statement of action: guidance document.

  6. First published.