OFSTED use criteria from the National Indicator Set when producing a report of this type. NI 104 and NI 105 look at the SEN / non-SEN attainment gap at Key Stage 2 (11 year olds) and Key Stage 4 (16 year olds) for all children with any type of SEN including those with statements, those on school action and school action plus. These indicators are too broad to look at strengths or weaknesses in specific types of SEN provision. The information is then compared to statistical neighbours, which, by definition, are similar performing authorities, and then a rating is given. There is no comparison made with the regional average, best or worst performing local authority or quartiles.
For a more in-depth analysis of how well children with autism are performing at Key Stage 2, see this post.
On the same day the Government decided to end the annual rating system stating:
..there has been a common concern that in its current form the annual ratings adds little understanding of children’s services in an area over and above the individual inspections that underlie it, and are not particularly helpful in aiding improvement.
The Government previously announced the abolition of the Comprehensive Area Assessment, in order to ease the burden of inspections on local authorities. It will be replaced by self-evaluation and comes with guidance on greater accountability by Eric Pickles, Communities and Local Government Secretary:
Getting council business out in the open will revolutionise local government. Local people should be able to hold politicians and public bodies to account over how their hard earned cash is being spent and decisions made on their behalf. They can only do that effectively if they have the information they need at their fingertips.