• Daniel O'Brien

The new ‘personal development’ judgement in the 2019 Ofsted education inspection framework

The 2019 Ofsted inspection framework for the first time has a separate judgement of ‘personal development’.


According to Ofsted, this is to acknowledge the importance of “pupils’ wider personal development and their opportunities to grow as active, healthy and engaged citizens.”

For most schools this good news. It allows Ofsted to recognise schools’ efforts to look after pupils’ broader development and prepare them for life outside of education.

Personal development is familiar territory for schools as it includes:


  • Spiritual, moral, social and cultural (SMSC) development

  • Personal, social, and health education (PSHE) education

  • Careers information, education, advice and guidance


The challenge for schools will be to quickly and easily provide evidence for inspectors on how they support personal development.


What will inspectors look for? According to the inspection handbook, inspectors will evaluate the quality and intent of what a school provides, rather than impact – this is also a change from previous frameworks which very much focused on impact.


The framework states that inspectors will look specifically at how:


  • the curriculum addresses learners’ broader development, enabling them to develop and discover their interests and talents

  • schools support learners in developing ‘character’ traits such as resilience, confidence and independence

  • schools help learners to understand how to keep physically and mentally healthy

  • learners are prepared for success in the next step of their education journey

  • learners are prepared for life in modern Britain; specifically, whether they:

  • are responsible, respectful, active citizens who contribute positively to society

  • understand fundamental British values

  • appreciate diversity and respect people different from themselves

The inspection handbook goes on to say that inspectors will draw from range of evidence to make their judgement, including:


  • the quality, range and take-up of extra-curricular activities

  • the impact of personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education, and relationship and sex education on learners’ personal development

  • how leaders promote British values through visits, discussions, assemblies, and wider opportunities

  • how well leaders develop pupils’ character through the quality of education

  • the quality of debate and discussions that pupils have, where appropriate

  • how well learners understand protected characteristics; how equality is promoted, and diversity is celebrated

  • the quality of careers information, education, advice and guidance


The challenge for schools will be to quickly and easily provide evidence for inspectors on how they support personal development.


The GridMaker is an online audit tool that enables schools to easily identify strengths, weaknesses and gaps in provision. It can be downloaded into a report that can be shared with inspectors, or used for self-evaluation and improvement planning internally.



© 2020 GridMaker is an OPEUS product by TDK Business Technologies Ltd

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