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01 Involving the School

Council in Ofsted Inspections
Activity Guide
School Councils UK
What is the new Ofsted • Learners are helped to develop
Framework? stable, positive relationships
The 2005 Inspection Framework
provides a radically different system • Learners, individually and
for school inspections. The main collectively, are consulted when
differences are: key decisions affecting them have
to be made and their views are
• Short inspections of no more than listened to
two days and smaller inspection
teams • Action is taken to reduce anti-
social behaviour, such as bullying
• Short notice (normally 2 days) of and racism
inspection to avoid unnecessary
preparation How can pupils help the school
• Three years as the usual period prepare for inspection?
between inspections Pupils can help assess levels of
• Strong emphasis on self evaluation
participation by looking at the criteria
above and organising a survey.
as the starting point for inspection
• Required input from pupils, parents Ofsted have provided some useful
and other stakeholders tools to evaluate participation. In the
new self evaluation forms, school
• A common inspection framework leaders are asked specific questions
for all schools and post-16 about how the views of learners are
colleges. obtained. In addition, they are asked
to give specific examples of how
What is being inspected? these views have affected decisions. It
Subject to legislation, inspectors must is suggested that the school
report on: development/improvement plan is
• the quality of the education communicated to students in a way
provided in the school they can understand and discuss.

• how far the education meets the Pupil questionnaires are also available
needs of the range of pupils at the which ask questions such as ‘do
school teachers listen to your ideas?’

(primary) and ‘is this school interested
the educational standards achieved in the views of its pupils?’ (secondary).
in the school
• the quality of the leadership in and
School Councils UK also have tools
available for assessing the
management of the school,
effectiveness of a school council.
including whether the financial
resources made available to the This information will be useful for
school are managed efficiently inspectors and will in itself show the
• the spiritual, moral, social and
school is serious about listening to the
views of learners.
cultural development of the pupils
at the school, and How will pupils be involved in
• the contribution made by the the inspection itself?
School Councils UK school to the well-being of those In addition to evidence above,
108-110 Camden High Street, pupils. inspectors will talk to pupils during
London NW1 0LU their visit. Ofsted have suggested that
0845 456 9428 What level of pupil participation inspectors meet with members of the are inspectors looking for? school council. The council could do one of the following:
Inspectors must evaluate the school
according to the five ‘Every Child • Take the inspector on a tour of the
Matters’ criteria. These include ‘The school, explaining what the council
extent to which learners make a has been doing
positive contribution’ and inspectors
are looking to see that:

© School Councils UK 2005. Please feel free to reproduce this resource with acknowledgement (non-commercial use only)
• Do a presentation for the
Activity Guide
School Councils UK
inspectors, explaining the structure Staying safe
and function of the council. • Are pupils taught about key risks
• Invite the inspectors to observe a and how to minimise them?
school council meeting, and ask • Are there things in or around
questions to council members school which make pupils feel
• Prepare a portfolio of evidence for unsafe?
inspectors such as minutes, letters,
surveys and photos outlining the Enjoying and achieving
work of the council • Is support given to pupils with poor
behaviour and attendance?
How can the council be • Do pupils feel that their personal
involved after the inspection? and academic development is
One of the most interesting aspects of monitored?
the new inspection framework is that
inspectors will be writing a brief letter • Are pupils fully involved in planning
to pupils giving the main findings of and evaluating citizenship
the inspection. This will be addressed education?
to the school council and written in a • Is there a system whereby pupils
language that is accessible to the can evaluate teaching and learning,
pupils. Ofsted expects schools to and make suggestions in
ensure that all pupils are made aware confidence about particular
of the findings of the inspection. lessons?
The school council could be asked to
present these findings to the rest of Making a positive contribution
the pupils. This could be done in • Are pupils helped to develop
classes by representatives, or in an stable, positive relationships?
assembly or through a special
newsletter. • Are pupils, individually and
collectively consulted when key
Pupils may also wish to respond decisions are made, through form
directly to the inspector on any councils, the school council or by
aspects of the report that they feel are other means?
• Does the council allow for pupils to
The work then begins for pupils to give their views and for these to be
help tackle some of the issues that taken into account?
inspectors have raised. Their views on
the inspection judgement can help to
• Has the school council reviewed
school policies such as behaviour
form part of any improvement plan and attendance?
which the governors may produce.
It may be helpful for pupils to look at Achieve economic well-being
the five criteria within ‘Every Child
Matters’ for schools and how things
• Are pupils given opportunities to
develop their enterprise and
could be improved: financial skills, and to work in
School Councils UK Being Healthy teams?
108-110 Camden High Street, • Are pupils encouraged and
London NW1 0LU enabled to take regular exercise?
0845 456 9428 • Are pupils discouraged from smoking and substance abuse? Further Information
• Do pupils know about sexual Copies of all Ofsted documents
health risks? available at
• Are pupils encouraged and
Gideon Lyons
enabled to eat and drink healthily?

© School Councils UK 2005. Please feel free to reproduce this resource with acknowledgement (non-commercial use only)