Ofsted's response to the Sixth Report from the
Children, Schools and Families Committee, Session 2009-10
Recommendation 5. We recommend that Ofsted include
learning outside the classroom provisionas part of the
curriculumin its inspection framework, and that the Department
include pupils' access to such activities in the School Report
Card. (Paragraph 25)
We welcome the Committee's report and are grateful
for the opportunity to respond to the recommendation about learning
outside the classroom. The Committee will be aware that the proposals
for a school report card have been dropped.
We agree with the emphasis that the Committee gives
to the importance of education outside the classroom. Our survey
report, 'Learning outside the Classroom'
which was quoted in the Committee's report, evaluated the
importance of such learning in primary and secondary schools and
colleges. It identified strengths and weaknesses in practice and
showed how schools and colleges overcome common barriers that
can limit successful learning outside the classroom.
The Ofsted survey report made the following key points.
- When planned and implemented
well, learning outside the classroom contributed significantly
to the raising of standards and improvements to pupils' personal,
social and emotional development.
- Learning outside the classroom
was most successful when it was an integral element of long-term
curriculum planning and closely linked to classroom activities.
- The schools in the survey relied
very heavily on contributions from parents and carers to meet
the costs of residential and other visits and had given very little
thought to alternative ways of financing them.
- The schools and colleges inspected
had worked hard and successfully to overcome the barriers to learning
outside the classroom, including those relating to health and
safety, pupils' behaviour and teachers' workload.
Amongst other recommendations, Ofsted's report indicated
that schools and colleges should ensure their curriculum planning
includes sufficient, well-structured opportunities for all learners
to engage in learning outside the classroom. It is also crucial
that equal and full access to learning outside the classroom is
ensured for all learners.
The revised school inspection arrangements introduced
in September 2009 require
inspectors to evaluate the extent to which pupils' enjoy their
learning and achieve well. Education outside the classroom, in
its various forms, contributes to an enjoyable and enriching education.
When inspecting a school's provision, inspectors are required
to evaluate the impact that its curriculum and teaching have on
pupils' outcomes. Specifically, inspectors are required to take
account of the extent to which a broad and balanced curriculum
is designed and modified to meet the needs of individuals and
groups of pupils, and the design, range and depth of the curriculum
from the pupils' perspective. Clearly, a curriculum is only likely
to have these qualities or attributes if it provides substantial
opportunities for pupils to learn outside the classroom.
In addition, since September inspectors have been
required to evaluate the extent and impact of a school's external
partnerships and links, especially those that impact on pupils'
learning. For example, when scrutinising leadership and management,
inspectors make a specific judgement about the effectiveness of
partnerships in promoting learning and well-being. They also review
the extent to which pupils adopt healthy lifestyles, and consider
the extent to which all groups participate in physical education
and in extra-curricular activities such as dance, sport, music
and other constructive leisure activities. Again, this provision
is only likely to be evident where there are opportunities for
learning outside the classroom.
2 Learning Outside the Classroom, ref. no 070219
published in October 2008 Back
The evaluation schedule for schools Back