Ofsted’s new framework: What will it mean for LOtC in Maintained Schools and Academies?

Date Posted: 15/07/2015

In the second of a series of features on Ofsted’s new framework, Elaine Skates from the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom considers what the changes will mean for LOtC in Maintained Schools and Academies.

Ofsted’s new inspection framework will be rolled out across Early Years settings, maintained schools and academies, non-association independent schools and further education and skills providers from September.

As mentioned in the first article in this series, the principles of the framework will be applied slightly differently according to needs and expectations of different phases of education. The government has created a handbook for each phase.

In this article, we focus on the common inspection framework in Maintained Schools and Academies and what it means for LOtC.

Ofsted in Maintained Schools and Academies

The common inspection framework is designed to build on the changes made in the school inspection framework over the past few years. However, there will be greater emphasis on some areas, including,

  1. The impact of leaders’ work in developing and sustaining an ambitious culture and vision in the school
  2. A broad and balanced curriculum
  3. Safeguarding, which will be central to every inspection
  4. Pupils’ outcomes, where inspectors will give most weight to the progress of pupils currently in the school rather than attainment and nationally published data.

Personal development, behaviour and welfare

There will be a new judgement on personal development, behaviour and welfare. This will include a focus on pupils’ confidence and self-assurance as learners and their pride in achievement, the impact behaviour has on outcomes and the choices pupils make about their next stage.

With regard to LOtC, there are a number of helpful amendments to the inspection framework which will be very positive in encouraging schools to ensure pupils have a broad range of experiences beyond the classroom. Inspectors will make a judgement on the overall effectiveness of the school and before making the final judgement on the overall effectiveness, inspectors must evaluate:

  1. The effectiveness and impact of the provision for pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development
  2. The extent to which the education provided by the school meets the needs of the range of pupils at the school including:
  3. Disabled pupils
  4. Pupils who have special educational needs

The inspection handbook includes a framework defining spiritual, moral, social and cultural development to help inspectors in reaching judgement about the impact of the provision in this area.

Defining spiritual, moral, social and cultural development

The spiritual development of pupils is shown by their:

  1. Ability to be reflective about their own beliefs, religious or otherwise, that inform their perspective on life and their interest in and respect for different people’s faiths, feelings and values
  2. Sense of enjoyment and fascination in learning about themselves, others and the world around them
  3. Use of imagination and creativity in their learning
  4. Willingness to reflect on their experiences.

The moral development of pupils is shown by their:

  1. Ability to recognise the difference between right and wrong and to readily apply this understanding in their own lives, recognise legal boundaries and, in so doing, respect the civil and criminal law of England
  2. Understanding of the consequences of their behaviour and actions
  3. Interest in investigating and offering reasoned views about moral and ethical issues and ability to understand and appreciate the viewpoints of others on these issues.

The social development of pupils is shown by their:

  1. Use of a range of social skills in different contexts, for example working and socialising with other pupils, including those from different religious, ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds
  2. Willingness to participate in a variety of communities and social settings, including by volunteering, cooperating well with others and being able to resolve conflicts effectively
  3. Acceptance and engagement with the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs; they develop and demonstrate skills and attitudes that will allow them to participate fully in and contribute positively to life in modern Britain.

The cultural development of pupils is shown by their:

  1. Understanding and appreciation of the wide range of cultural influences that have shaped their own heritage and those of others
  2. Understanding and appreciation of the range of different cultures within school and further afield as an essential element of their preparation for life in modern Britain
  3. Knowledge of Britain’s democratic parliamentary system and its central role in shaping our history and values, and in continuing to develop Britain
  4. Willingness to participate in and respond positively to artistic, musical, sporting and cultural opportunities
  5. Interest in exploring, improving understanding of and showing respect for different faiths and cultural diversity and the extent to which they understand, accept, respect and celebrate diversity, as shown by their tolerance and attitudes towards different religious, ethnic and socio-economic groups in the local, national and global communities.

Leadership and management

Under the leadership and management criteria of the framework, the inspectors will consider the following aspects of relevance to LOtC…

  1. The design, implementation and evaluation of the curriculum, ensuring breadth and balance
  2. How the school supplements the formal curriculum with extra-curricular opportunities for pupils to extend their knowledge and understanding and to improve their skills in a range of artistic, creative and sporting activities
  3. How effectively leaders use the PE and sport premium and measure its impact on outcomes for pupils, and how effectively governors hold them to account for this
  4. How the school prepares pupils positively for life in modern Britain and promotes the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect for and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs and for those without faith.

Whilst it is disappointing that LOtC opportunities offered as part of core curriculum delivery are not explicitly mentioned as a way of helping pupils to extend their knowledge and understanding and to improve their skills, nonetheless we hope that the role of LOtC in helping schools to achieve the criteria is implicit in the above, and we hope inspectors will recognise the role of LOtC in ensuring breadth in the curriculum and acknowledge good practice when writing their reports.

One of the grade descriptors for outstanding leadership and management is as follows:

“Staff reflect on and debate the way they teach. They feel deeply involved in their own professional development. Leaders have created a climate in which teachers are motivated and trusted to take risks and innovate in ways that are right for their pupils.”

We believe that a strong learning outside the classroom offer will demonstrate outstanding practice in this area.

Finally, we feel that the criteria for personal development could be more detailed and explicit with regard to the development of skills that will enable pupils to succeed at school, in later life and in employment.

However, the following grade descriptor for outstanding should be helpful in encouraging schools to broaden the horizons of their students through real world learning and experiences:

“Pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development equips them to be thoughtful, caring and active citizens in school and in wider society”.

To read the full Maintained Schools and Academies inspection handbook visit the government website.

 

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