Sean Harford, Ofsted National Director, Education, outlines the renewed focus on personal development in the new inspection framework.
Our new education inspection framework (EIF), which we introduced at the beginning of this academic year, has personal development at its heart. By now, you should be able to read the first new-style inspection reports, specifically focused on informing parents. I hope you’ll find that they are shorter, clearer and more to the point.
We have also evolved the judgements. In the previous framework, we judged ‘personal development, behaviour and welfare’, but under the EIF we will report separately on ‘personal development’ and ‘behaviour and attitudes’. Why, you may ask?
Our idea is that the ‘personal development’ section will explain to parents how schools are helping to develop pupils’ character and resilience, through activities such as sport, music and debating. And we have also taken the opportunity to build the grade descriptors on research and enable inspectors to recognise the pastoral support that schools are providing for their pupils. This is linked to our new focus on schools having a broad and rich curriculum.
That is because our new approach means that instead of inspectors trying to understand schools through reams of data from test and examinations, they will be talking to school leaders and teachers about the real substance of education: the curriculum.
Teachers have told us they believe this approach will help to reduce their workload. I hope it will mean that teachers will have more time to focus on what they teach and how they teach it – which is why they entered this great profession in the first place.
We are also going to be checking that schools have an inclusive culture. This includes teaching those pupils who are the most able, and who may need to be challenged that bit more.
In short, our inspectors are taking a rounded view of the quality of education that a school provides to all its pupils, which means the most able pupils as much as poorer pupils and their peers with special educational needs and/or disability.
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