PSHE Association response to Ofsted report on Birmingham Schools

Having not looked in detail at the Ofsted reports but being aware that the schools concerned are challenging Ofsted’s judgments, we cannot comment on the inspection reports released today. We are however clear about the standards of PSHE education we expect in all schools across the country.  This pedagogy is set out in our 10 principles of PSHE education and we also encourage schools to plan PSHE provision which meets the following standards relating to the values underpinning lessons:

  • that material used is accurate and balanced;
  • that it is taught in a way that is appropriate to the ages of pupils and to their religious and cultural backgrounds, and also reflects a reasonable range of religious, cultural and other perspectives;
  • that it endeavours to promote equality, encourages acceptance of diversity, and emphasises the importance of both rights and responsibilities.

These standards are very important to ensuring pupils receive a high-quality education and should therefore be independently monitored.

That is why we are calling on Ofsted to amend its inspection criteria so that one of its key judgments explicitly refers to Section 78 of the 2002 Education Act, which requires all schools to provide a balanced and broadly-based curriculum which:

  • promotes the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils at the school and of society, and
  • prepares pupils at the school for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life

This change would bring much needed balance to the Ofsted framework and ensure accountability for the breadth and balance of the curriculum in schools across the country. Ofsted’s call for the Department for Education to define a broad and balanced curriculum - set out in Sir Michael Wilshaw’s letter to Michael Gove - is a first step, but once a definition is agreed, there will be a clear need to update the Ofsted framework as we have set out.


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