Ofsted Expectations

In the Ofsted inspection framework from September 2015, grade descriptors for outstanding overall effectiveness include:

The school’s thoughtful and wide-ranging promotion of pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development and their physical well-being enables pupils to thrive.

Grade descriptions for outstanding leadership and management include:

  • Pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development and, within this, the promotion of fundamental British values, are at the heart of the school’s work.
  • Leaders promote equality of opportunity and diversity exceptionally well, for pupils and staff, so that the ethos and culture of the whole school counters any form of direct or indirect discriminatory behaviour. Leaders, staff and pupils do not tolerate prejudiced behaviour.
  • Leaders’ work to protect pupils from radicalisation and extremism is exemplary. Leaders respond swiftly where pupils are vulnerable to these issues. High quality training develops staff’s vigilance, confidence and competency to challenge pupils’ views and encourage debate.

Excerpt from the School Inspection Handbook 2015

Defining spiritual, moral, social and cultural development

The spiritual development of  pupils is shown by their: 

  • 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
  • sense of enjoyment and fascination in learning about themselves, others and the world around them 
  • use of imagination and creativity in their learning 
  • willingness to reflect on their experiences.

The moral development of pupils is shown by their:

  • 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 
  • understanding of the consequences of their behaviours and actions.
  • 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:

  • 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 
  • 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
  • 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:

  • understanding and appreciation of the wide range of cultural influences that have shaped their own heritage and those of others
  • 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.
  • knowledge of Britain’s democratic parliamentary system and its central role in shaping our history and values, and in continuing to develop Britain
  • willingness to participate in and respond positively to artistic, musical, sporting and cultural opportunities
  • 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.

Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE)

According to Ofsted provision of PSHE is sub-standard in 40% of schools, and a recent Commons Education Committee inquiry into the subject, which took evidence from young people and youth organisations, concluded that standards were unacceptably low. The Committee’s landmark ‘Life Lessons’ report recommended the subject be made statutory to ensure high-quality lessons for every pupil.

A new survey of young people aged 12 to 15 shows that over 9 in 10 pupils who are taught PSHE education believe that all pupils should receive these lessons.

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