For those whom we serve

You will recall that I alluded in a bulletin before Easter to inspection in relation to the tragic death of Ruth Perry, Head of Caversham Primary School. Ofsted has again been in the spotlight this week after an interview with the Chief Inspector, Amanda Spielman.

At the same time, the Independent Schools Inspectorate has just published ‘Framework 23’, the new inspection regime that will be implemented from September, and I am glad to say that it appears to make good sense! A prime reason for this is that the inspectorate engaged in a thorough consultation, both with those of us who are inspectors and with schools themselves. Whilst none of us relishes the prospect of being inspected, there has always been a greater sense with ISI that we are working together to make our schools better, for the sake of our pupils.

The new framework centres on an evaluation of pupils’ wellbeing. It is the school’s responsibility to actively promote that wellbeing, which will be considered in relation to the following: Leadership and management, and governance; Pupils’ education, training and recreation; Pupils’ physical and mental health and emotional wellbeing; Pupils’ social and economic wellbeing and contribution to society; Safeguarding.

This thematic approach will also measure the school’s compliance with statutory regulations and the report will highlight strengths as well as areas for development. The focus is on impact and outcomes, so pupils’ views will be actively sought, and parents will be asked to complete a questionnaire.

We should not fear inspection if it is appropriately undertaken, with an understanding of a school’s unique culture. After all, no school is perfect, and we should always be looking for ways to better serve our children, to promote their wellbeing and safety, and to prepare them for a life of adventure and fulfilment.

Best wishes for a happy bank holiday weekend,

John Watson