The new Ofsted framework is a big step in the right direction towards a more holistic approach to education and away from a narrow focus on exam results. Good environmental education can be used as evidence for many aspects of the new framework, but we think it would be a game changer if it was explicit about actively looking for and reporting on students contributing positively to the natural world.

We are submitting the following response, if you feel that it is important schools educate students about climate change and show them how they can play a role in protecting the living planet we encourage you to submit a response along these lines to: inspection.consultation@ofsted.gov.uk . The deadline for submission is Friday 5th April.

If you don’t have time to edit and submit a response yourself please send a quick email to henry@greenschoolsproject.org.uk with your name and/or organisation and I will add you to our response.

Green Schools Project Consultation Response

We feel that it is vital Ofsted includes a reference to pupils making a contribution to the natural world in the framework. In the handbooks this should be expanded upon by encouraging schools to enable their pupils to recognise the impact of climate change and enabling their students to play an active role in protecting the living planet.

When inspections take place under the new framework it is essential that where schools do this well, it is explicitly mentioned in the reports.

The need for this mention of climate change, the natural world and the living planet is clearly demonstrated by the school climate strikes attended by tens of thousands of students across the country that have taken place this year.

There is no issue of greater importance to young people as it is something that threatens their very future, as one banner at the strike in February put it: ‘Why are we studying for a future we don’t even have?’ Schools that provide opportunities for young people to learn about and become actively involved in these issues will have more engaged pupils.

These are our recommendations:

In the inspection framework, personal development section, we would like the last bullet point in section 27 to add reference to the natural world:

  1. Inspectors will make a judgement on the personal development of learners by evaluating the extent to which:
  • the provider prepares learners for life in modern Britain by: equipping them to be responsible, respectful, active citizens who contribute positively to society and the natural world; developing their understanding of fundamental British values; developing their understanding and appreciation of diversity; celebrating what we have in common and promoting respect for the different protected characteristics as defined in law.

This should be backed up by a bullet point in the maintained schools and academies handbook in section 202 (and corresponding sections in the other handbooks):

  1. This judgement focuses on the dimensions of the personal development of pupils that our education system has agreed, either by consensus or statute, are the most significant:
  • Contributing positively to the natural world by understanding the impact of climate change and playing an active role in protecting the living planet.

For more information about the new framework and the consultation, see this webpage.

New Ofsted Framework Consultation

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