- From September 2015 the key area of ‘behaviour and safety’ will be replaced by a new section titled, ‘personal development, behaviour and welfare’.
- There will be a new focus on personal development, different from behaviour. This could be a radical change affecting the whole of the inspection since it also feeds into outcomes for learners.
- Schools will be expected to deal with sexual exploitation and religious extremism.
- In the report there will be a written judgement on learners’ behaviour and a separate written judgement on personal development and welfare.
- There will also be an overall judgement and grade for personal development, behaviour and welfare.
From September 2015 the key area of ‘behaviour and safety’ will be replaced by a new section titled, ‘personal development, behaviour and welfare’. In part this is because there will be a common inspection framework, so this judgement must be applied across providers from early years to post-16. However, the judgements will be applied appropriately to each remit and this will be clarified in separate inspection handbooks. This will be the case particularly in the FE and skills sector.
In the report there will be a written judgement on learners’ behaviour and a separate written judgement on personal development and welfare. There will then be an overall judgement and grade for personal development, behaviour and welfare. The lowest judgement will become the grade.
The first change is obvious from the new name of the section. There will be a priority focus on personal development and this is not the same as behaviour. Depending on the detail of the judgement this could be a radical change affecting the whole of the inspection and the judgement on overall effectiveness, since it also feeds into outcomes for learners.
For example, there will be a much greater emphasis on learners’ understanding and making conscious choices. This is reflected in each of the separate criteria and then in the overall grade descriptors. It is useful to read through the criteria from this perspective and consider whether this requires changes in teaching and the relationship between teachers and learners.
Common inspection framework
Because each remit has a separate handbook, there may be a tendency to ignore the common inspection framework (CIF). In fact, it is essential that all providers start with a study of the CIF since it provides an overview of each of the aspects inspectors will be looking for in each of the key areas.
The Ofsted proposals are listed below with comments.
'Inspectors will make a judgement on the personal development, behaviour and welfare of children and learners by evaluating, where this is applicable, the extent to which the provision is successfully promoting or supporting children’s and learners’:
- pride in achievement and commitment to learning, supported by a positive culture across the whole provider'.
This is a point about ethos, which Ofsted recognises as having a very positive impact on behaviour, morale and overall effectiveness. Ethos is recognised by consistency in actions towards pupils and, during an inspection, by consistency of what is said to inspectors.
- 'Self-confidence, self-assurance and knowledge of their potential to be a successful learner.'
There is reference in the current handbook to attitudes to learning and the impact on progress, but this is something different and it relates to the change from ‘behaviour’ to ‘personal development’. This is about developing personal qualities, which schools are good at, so again this should prove a positive development.
- Choices about the next stage of their education, employment, self-employment or training, where relevant, from independent careers advice and guidance.
- Where relevant, employability skills so that they are well prepared for the next stage of their education, employment, self-employment or training.
In an earlier version of the handbook, inspectors were required to make a judgement on: ‘How well pupils develop work-place and other skills that will contribute to their future economic wellbeing’. This is another judgement that is being re-emphasised. Early years providers in particular found this a difficult point to address, but the wording here shows that it is the next stage that is important. So, for example, from the Foundation Stage children must be prepared for Year 1.
Note the link between this point and the skills necessary to be ‘economically active’ in the section on teaching. Prompt and regular attendance.
- This is currently one of the important criteria and there is also an emphasis on the school’s procedures for managing and promoting good attendance. Attendance is judged against national averages and not similar schools.
- Following of any guidelines for behaviour and conduct, including management of their own feelings and behaviour, and around bullying, and how they relate to others.
The extent to which learners understand and support school guidelines is already inspected, but the ability to manage one’s own feelings is part of emotional development, so that may be considered within
- Understanding of how to keep themselves safe from relevant risks such as exploitation and extremism, including when using the internet and social media.
From current events we know that schools will be expected to deal with sexual exploitation and religious extremism. Radicalisation is a high priority and based on statements by senior politicians, including the Prime Minister, it will remain one for a number of years.
- Knowledge of how to keep themselves healthy, both emotionally and physically, including through exercising and healthy eating.
Strangely, the only reference in the current handbook to healthy lifestyles is in the achievement section related to PE and sport. Understanding and following a healthy lifestyle was, of course, one of the graded judgements in the previous evaluation schedule and it remains a priority in schools, so this should have a positive impact.
- Personal development, so that they are well prepared to respect others and contribute to wider society and life in Britain.
Section 5 inspections already take into account SMSC, but here it is located within a key area so there will be a specific rather than a general focus. Note the inclusion of personal development, which will need to be defined.
Also, as this point is phrased, the types of cultural experiences and work experiences should be such that they give pupils an understanding of the different cultures in modern Britain and, if possible, the opportunity to work with young people and adults from different cultures and backgrounds.
Schools are also required to ‘actively promote’ fundamental British values, and evidence from this will feed into this judgement.
- School inspection handbook, Ofsted, June 2015: http://bit.ly/SIH2015
Use the following item in the Toolkit to help you to put the ideas in this article into practice:
About the author
Tony Powell is an experienced Additional Inspector and local authority adviser. He writes extensively on education management, but his main work is supporting schools to develop systems for self-evaluation, school improvement and continuing professional development
This article was first published in August 2015 issue of School Inspection & Improvement magazine.