Skip to main content
Ofsted logo

Ofsted calls for broader approach to PE to support more pupils with SEN


A new report issued by Ofsted has found that most primary pupils with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) were being taught the same curriculum as those without SEND but, “with support and adaptations”. However, they found that the curriculum “did not always” make clear what was most important for pupils with SEND to know and be able to do in “readiness for future learning”.
Outcomes “varied within and between schools”. Where pupils showed a secure understanding of what they were taught, they were receiving appropriate support and their progress and attainment were “closely monitored”. Staff also “collaborated effectively” with special educational needs coordinators (SENCOs) to “develop specific strategies” to support pupils with SEND. Outcomes at secondary were also “variable”, with staff tailoring support to the needs of pupils with SEND where they achieved better outcomes in PE. One school found that pupils with SEND were under-represented in extra-curricular activities and had developed a broader range of activities to appeal to more pupils. 
Where pupils with SEND are supported to achieve well in PE  the following were identified:

  • The curriculum end points are clearly defined and ambitious for all.
  • Staff (including teaching assistants and unqualified staff teaching PE) are well trained and supported to implement specific strategies for pupils with SEND.
  • Staff have clear, specific and actionable information to support them in meeting the pupils’ needs in a PE .
  • Staff received bespoke CPD on supporting pupils with particular needs in PE. The training focused on increasing their subject knowledge. It also focused on improving their pedagogical content knowledge, for example how to give high-quality step-by-step instructions, adapt activities, and give meaningful feedback.
  • Information on supporting pupils with SEND was precise and up to date. It helped staff to understand pupils’ needs, targets and strategies required to support them appropriately in PE.
  • In schools where pupils with SEND were taught in smaller and more focused groups, knowledgeable staff supported them to achieve ambitious goals.