Ofsted herald new focus on “the curriculum, SMSC and governance” and “preparing pupils for life in modern Britain”

Tuesday 1st July 2014

The following note – about the soon-to-be-published inspection framework – has just been circulated to inspectors who have been told to expect summer training in anticipation of a September launch:

“The revised (inspection) handbook will … place a greater importance on the curriculum, SMSC development and governance, with the expectation that inspectors really understand how schools are tackling these areas, developing their pupils and preparing them for life in modern Britain. Much more robust evidence will need to be gathered so inspection teams are in the position of being able to make secure judgements on these essential aspects of the evaluation schedule.”

Those of us who have campaigned for SMSC, Citizenship, PSHE and Community Cohesion or who have warned about the risk of an emerging governing gap in our schools in the Academy and Free School era will allow ourselves a wry smile; the long overdue focus on “preparing (pupils) for life in modern Britain” is precisely what effective Citizenship Education is all about.

Perhaps Michael Gove might now acknowledge that marginalising areas like Citizenship in the curriculum and Community Cohesion in the inspection framework was an error of judgement and policy. He could go further and recognise that through building inclusion in our classrooms and our school communities, these areas of activity are not a distraction from the achievement, standards and school improvement agendas; they are the foundations – the social glue – that creates the environment in which the achievement of a much wider group can and should be built.

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