Ofsted: a step in the right direction

Ofsted’s new inspection framework is stronger on children’s mental health – but doesn’t go far enough.

While there have been some improvements, Ofsted's new inspection framework still does not go far enough on mental health. 

Following a public consultation, Ofsted have published their new schools inspection framework, which will come into force later this year.

The new framework is a big improvement on the current version, with a far greater focus on the ‘personal development’ of students and much less emphasis on academic performance. But it still does not suggest strongly enough that mental health should be a priority for schools.

While there will be a greater focus on personal development and less emphasis on grades, Ofsted have missed the opportunity to make changes that could have benefited hundreds of thousands of children.
Emma Thomas, our Chief Executive
This is at a time when the government is investing in mental health support in schools, to meet the growing demand. As the new framework is implemented, inspectors must make sure that they value the work schools are doing in this area.
Emma Thomas, our Chief Executive

Our #TellOfsted Campaign

We have been campaigning on mental health in schools for more than three years, and thousands of young people, parents and teachers have lobbied the government and Ofsted to make wellbeing and mental health a priority.

During that time, we have seen real improvements to mental health support in schools, including the introduction of Mental Health Support Teams that will work with schools, improved teacher training and compulsory lessons on mental health as part of the curriculum.

More than 22,000 people signed our open letter to Ofsted in 2018, and more than 5,000 YoungMinds supporters took part in Ofsted’s consultation on their draft framework – around a third of the total responses. The new framework no longer has a section on academic ‘outcomes’, and is much stronger on personal development, mental health education and teacher wellbeing.

Ofsted acknowledged our #TellOfsted campaign in their response to the consultation, and pointed to changes they had made to reflect the importance of pastoral support and to ensure that school leaders create an inclusive culture. But the framework does not include a specific reference to schools taking a ‘whole-school’ approach to mental health, and it does not refer directly enough to the links between mental health and behaviour. As the new framework is implemented, it’s vital that inspectors  value the work that schools are doing in this area.

Please join us as we continue to fight for better mental health support for children and young people across the country.

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