Inspection and Personal Development Education 2022 : How is PSHE being inspected?

Since the publication of the revised Ofsted Handbook for Schools in July 2022, and the annual update to Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSIE) in September, we’ve been on a mission to discover what the reality is in regard to Ofsted/Independent Schools Inspectorate inspections. This article combines information from our partner schools, intel from schools we’ve worked with at conferences and training events across the UK (Sept 22-Dec 22), and from a briefing we attended in November 22 with Chief HMI Roary Pownall who leads on PSHE, RSE and Citizenship for Ofsted.

Key points from briefing by Roary Pownall, Chief HMI for PSHCE, November 2022

  • Schools should focus on the Personal Development section in the Ofsted Handbook for Schools (sections 291-312) for both graded and ungraded inspections in order to adequately prepare for inspection.
  • PSHE is not just about coverage, it’s about good planning and having a spiral programme where pupils revisit and extend their learning in PSHE from year to year.
  • Schools are expected to allocate ‘proper’ time to PSHE.
  • There is an expectation for staff responsible for curriculum delivery to be well-trained.
  • School Leaders should be giving due consideration to PSHE as an important subject, and in particular its contribution to safeguarding.
  • Schools are expected to have statutory elements of Relationships, Sex and Health Education in place.
  • There should be a clarity of purpose. Staff and leaders should be able to explain what is taught, why it is taught and where it is taught, evidenced by pupil need.
  • There should be a coherent narrative across year groups about the inter-relationship between PSHE, Citizenship, SMSC, Careers, British values, RE (where applicable) as part of the whole-school approach to student Personal Development.

  • PSHE should be ambitious for pupils and provide appropriate challenge and be relevant.
  • Inspectors will look for evidence about how students with additional needs are being catered for and included within PSHE.
  • Pupil assessment should inform planning and teaching.
  • Inspectors will examine the links between PSHE, pupil values and behaviour.
  • Deep dive inspections in PSHE are unlikely as all schools will have PSHE looked at in more depth as part of both ungraded and graded inspections.
  • Personal Development will be a focus pre-inspection and during inspection. Inspectors will form a schedule based on information gathered pre-inspection e.g., website, documentation, policy, parent, pupil surveys and a discussion with leadership.

What’s happening in reality? What are schools who have been inspected telling us?

Basically, everything that Roary Pownall said at the briefing is happening on the ground. Schools have told us how surprised they’ve been at the depth of inspection around PSHE and its particular relevance for safeguarding pupils. Schools have also said they were often given one grade lower than they expected for their Personal Development judgement. From everything schools have told us we’ve been able to formulate these ‘Top Tips’. We can’t guarantee that your inspection will cover all of these points, but from the many schools we’ve spoken to, they have intimated these are likely to be included within any judgement for ‘Personal Development’.

  • You need to be able to show where PSHE delivers on Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSIE) and how they are an interlinked aspect of the school’s statutory safeguarding duties.

  • Any member of staff who teaches PSHE should be able to explain the ‘what, whens and hows’ of the PSHE curriculum.
  • Where there are large staff teams inspectors will look at consistency.
  • Inspectors will make a judgement based on triangulating your curriculum offer, safeguarding, behaviour, pupil attitude and values, and your whole school approach to student Personal Development.
  • Make it obvious to inspectors where statutory content is being taught.

  • Knowing the needs of your pupils is vital and have PSHE matched to this. (Chameleon partner schools will have access to the ‘How Are You?’ pupil survey which provides excellent evidence in this respect).
  • Leadership and management judgements are being affected in some schools if School Leaders are not giving sufficient attention to PSHE.
  • Where there have been parental challenges to the curriculum, schools have been asked to show their attempts to resolve the parent’s concerns (although it appears that schools are not being judged unfairly if they have made reasonable attempts to do this and the parent still disagrees). See our article on parental consultation here.
  • Staff should be familiar with updated language in KCSIE (e.g., child-on-child abuse) and be able to explain the links between this and the taught curriculum.

  • Assessment should include individual pupil assessment. It’s Ok to have group/ class assessments but inspectors are likely to ask about individual pupil progress and how this is tracked. They are also likely to focus on knowledge acquisition rather than skills in terms of pupil assessment. (Although this isn’t best practice in PSHE).
  • Your PSHE should be challenging and relevant for pupils. If you have lack-lustre resources and/or teachers who pay lip-service to PSHE then you need to make changes - quickly.
  • SEND inclusion has been a focus. Pupils with additional needs should be supported appropriately so they can understand and access PSHE.
  • If you’re using ‘off-the-peg’ resources from whatever source inspectors will expect to see adaptation based on the needs of the group being taught. (Schools using Chameleon PDE resources will be able to demonstrate this through the activity choices you have selected from each library pack and with your rationale as to why they have been chosen e.g., results from the ‘How Are You?’ survey, your own knowledge of your students or pupil assessments).

If you require any support with PSHE or are considering becoming a Chameleon PDE partner school we offer a free online consultation (with no obligation to purchase) about any aspect of PSHE. Email us to book your slot