Accord welcomes Ofsted’s increased emphasis on inclusivity

May 14, 2019

The Accord Coalition has welcomed as a step forwards the greater emphasis on schools needing to be inclusive in Ofsted’s new inspection framework, released yesterday (Tuesday May 14th). Given the reduced focus on inclusivity in Ofsted school inspections that occurred back in 2012, this new framework marks some important progress.

Commenting, Chair of the Accord Coalition, the Reverend Stephen Terry, said “The new framework is not perfect and does not make up for the lower prioritisation given to inclusivity that followed changes in 2012. For example, until then schools were inspected on the extent to which they met their legal duty to promote community cohesion. Without schools being inspected on this measure, as the latest framework also does not propose, this important duty remains almost meaningless.”
“The framework is however a step in the right direction, with a renewed emphasis on things like schools advancing their responsibilities under the Public Sector Equality Duty, on tackling bullying, and providing all pupils with a broad curriculum. Overall, it should be welcomed as a step forwards by those who wish schools to be inclusive spaces.”
“This progress is all the more important given the current exemptions faith schools are currently granted to religiously discriminate and segregate pupils, and when Ofsted is barred from specifically inspecting the provision of Religious Education and Collective Worship in state funded faith schools. Whatever Ofsted’s role in the school system, factors such as these make it essential for it to take the promotion of inclusion more seriously.”
Alongside issuing relevant inspection guidance, Ofsted has emphasised the importance of ‘equality, diversity and inclusion’ yesterday by issuing a standalone statement regarding these topics. The statement stresses the obligation under the Public Sector Equality Duty for schools to tackle discrimination, advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations between people of different characteristics and backgrounds. The statement also places special emphasis on schools being attune to the needs and experiences of LGBT pupils, those with special educational needs, and on the grounds of sex and race.

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