Ofsted and Personal Development

Thenew Ofsted assessment framework, published in September 2019, explains that inspectors will be looking to see that: 

  • The school’s curriculum extends beyond the academic, technical or vocational. It provides for learners’ broader development, enabling them to develop and discover their interests and talents.
  • At each stage of education, the school prepares learners for future success in their next steps.
  • The curriculum and the school’s wider work support learners to develop their character – including their resilience, confidence and independence – and help them know how to keep physically and mentally healthy 
  • The school prepares learners for life in modern Britain by: 
    • Equipping them to be responsible, respectful, active citizens who contribute positively to society. 
    • Developing their understanding of fundamental British values and appreciation of diversity. 
    • Celebrating what we have in common and promoting respect for the different protected characteristics as defined in law. 

These features are collectively covered by Personal Development 

Amanda Spielman, OFSTED’s chief inspector, has said that these new criteria are designed to emphasise to headteachers that building resilience in young people is an integral part of education. 
“It’s about making clear that education is not just about teaching a good set of academic subjects really well. There is something a bit intangible and bigger than that, and it is making sure they recognise that. It’s not about any one thing, it’s about having a range of opportunities so people can discover their talents and interests.” 


Inspectors will get their evidence through observations and discussions with pupils and staff, as well as evaluating the curriculum. 

Inspectors will be looking at factors like: 

  • The range, quality and take-up of extra-curricular activities offered  
  • How curriculum subjects like citizenship, RE, and other areas such as personal, social, health and economic education, and relationship and sex education, contribute to pupils’ personal development 
  • How well leaders promote British values through the curriculum, assemblies, wider opportunities, visits, discussions and literature 
  • How well leaders develop pupils’ character through the education that they provide  
  • Where appropriate, the quality of debate and discussions that pupils have 
  • Pupils’ understanding of the protected characteristics and how equality and diversity are promoted 
  • The quality of careers information, education, advice and guidance, and how well it benefits pupils in choosing and deciding on their next steps 

A more useful summary of the areas of Personal Development maybe that Ofsted is particularly looking for include the following: 

  • Developing responsible, respectful and active citizens 
  • Promoting equality of opportunity 
  • Promoting an inclusive environment 
  • Developing pupils’ character, giving them qualities they need to flourish in society 
  • Developing pupils’ confidence and resilience so that they can keep themselves mentally healthy 
  • Preparing pupils for the next phase of education 

In terms of evidence, Inspectors will be looking for: 

  • The range, quality and take-up of extracurricular activities 
  • How the education provided develops pupils’ character 
  • How curriculum subjects contribute to pupils’ personal development 
  • The quality of careers information and guidance 

To demonstrate Outstanding Personal Development, schools must give pupils access to a wide, rich set of experiences in a coherently planned way. Opportunities for pupils to develop their talents and interests are of exceptional quality, and there is strong take-up by pupils. In particularly disadvantaged pupils benefit from this support and provision. 

The below extract from the Ofsted Inspection Framework shows the paramount importance of personal development with education when considering if a school is inadequate. Indeed, a school could be giving a superb academic experience but be listed as inadequate if personal development is inadequate.  

As such, it is essential that SLT are able to track and evidence personal development to achieve a Good or Outstanding Ofsted rating.

Governors and Personal Development

Primary schools seem to have Governors responsible for Personal Development and/or Personal Development Subcommittees.  

A typical primary school may have the following sub-committees:

  • Attainment, Teaching, Learning & Assessment Committee 
  • Personal Development, Behaviour & Welfare Committee 
  • Pay Committee  
  • Business and Finance Committee 
  • Leadership Committee 

Again, this demonstrates the importance of Personal Development within the leadership of schools.