Ofsted and the Global Dimension
Ofsted and other school inspectorates are paying attention to how schools use the global dimension; in fact, they have drawn attention to it in recent reports, commending schools for their global dimension initiatives, and encouraging further efforts in this area.
(We recognise that the following information is England-focused, and hope to collect similar material from Estyn, HM Inspectorate of Education in Scotland, and the Education Training Inspectorate of Northern Ireland, as well as more from England. Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org if you are aware of any Inspectorate reports recognising global dimension work at schools in your country.)
School Inspection Reports
Below are some excerpts taken from Ofsted reports of schools in the South West.
A primary school in Bath and Northeast Somerset
According to Ofsted, the school provides evidence for “outstanding practice” in areas covered by global education, eg. inclusion, citizenship, school links, global issues and diversity.
It received a “School Achievement Award” in 2002 in recognition of its ongoing rise in standards, which continues up to the present time. Year 6 SATs results in the three core subjects (English, Maths and Science) are “well above average” compared to similar schools. These results, matched with Ofsted’s comments about “outstanding practice” in pupils’ personal development regarding “the celebration of similarities and differences between themselves and others in different places and circumstances” suggest that global education is having a considerable impact on raising standards at the school.
A Primary School in Devon
Even prior to many global dimension initiatives, a 2003 Ofsted report of this school highlighted the positive benefits a global dimension can bring: “The provision for cultural development is good. Its strength lies in the fact that various subjects provide pupils with a fuller understanding of the world around them. The school provides many opportunities for pupils to learn about the lives of people around the world. At the same time, it enables them to appreciate the multicultural nature of British society. The school has developed good contacts with schools in various countries by means of the Internet as well as visits by staff.”
The global dimension can contribute towards generating attitudes of respect and tolerance and even addressing issues such as bullying. In this primary school for example, Ofsted observed that, “[pupils] are well mannered, polite to adults and to each other and welcoming to visitors…Pupils confirm that there is no bullying or aggression”. This is a school that regularly welcomes visitors from many different countries and cultural backgrounds and pupils have had opportunities to establish links with children and adults in other parts of the world.
A Primary School in Gloucestershire
An initial investigation into the school showed that this is a school with a sound ecological basis (the school has bronze Ecoschool status and is working towards silver) and developed global links, particularly one with Maliera school in Kenya and a primary school in France.
What was evident was that teachers were neither paying lip service to the Kenyan exchange nor sacrificing short term lesson planning and long term curriculum planning to the inclusion of it; on the contrary, the exchange programme which is described by Ofsted as a “particularly effective link” is recognised within the school as a way of enriching the learning of the children and enhancing the curriculum.
In discussions with children at Key Stage 2, the word “caring” predominated. Ofsted reported: “Pupils are very polite, friendly and caring and have a good sense of responsibility”. It also commented that, “pupils show respect for each other’s feelings and opinions”. This was underlined by the opinions of a regular supply teacher who felt that the children were more tolerant of diversity than in other primary schools in the area.
A Secondary School in Wiltshire
Ofsted praised the children’s empathy for social and cultural diversity.
Exploring local and global connections and investigating global issues have been part of the enriched curriculum and educational experience for pupils. Ofsted described the following as “outstanding”: Pupils’ sense of well being, how well they enjoy their education, the extent to which they adopt healthy lifestyles and the extent to which they make a positive contribution to the community. Ofsted added that: “Pupils learn effectively about children in other countries, which expands their horizons considerably”.
An important factor here is that Ofsted directly relates the outstanding personal development of pupils to achievement:
“The personal development of pupils and the high quality of the curriculum are major strengths. These are key factors in promoting pupils’ good achievement, and their high levels of enjoyment and self-esteem.”
One of the outstanding features of the school according to Ofsted, is: “How well equality of opportunity is promoted and discrimination tackled so that all learners achieve as well as they can”.
The global dimension also impacts on extra curricular activities involving local schools and parents. Pupils’ sense of responsibility and pride in the school environment is reflected in OFSTED’s comment that one of the things they liked most about the school was that pupils “make visitors feel very welcome,” and pupils are “proud” of their school. Displays throughout the school reflect the high priority placed on the global curriculum. As an example, the report mentioned a display about South Africa and apartheid.
The report states, “The school’s curriculum makes a good contribution to its ethos and standards. It is rich, varied…students are offered a curriculum that provides excellent opportunities for personal development as well as for achievement”.
Thanks to Ben Hartshorn, EES-SW Regional Co-ordinator, for compiling this information on schools in the South West.
A September 2006 Ofsted report on the Citizenship curriculum, titled
recognises the benefits of strong Citizenship programmes in schools, “where young people can flourish because they have opportunities to participate and are listened to”. However, according to the report, in spite of significant progress in implementing National Curriculum citizenship in many secondary schools, there is not yet a strong consensus about the aims of citizenship education or about how to incorporate it into the curriculum.
The report recommends specific actions the schools can take to establish Citizenship as a significant part of the curriculum, and analyses some of the barriers they face in doing so.
“Most teachers of citizenship are ‘non-specialists’; many work far from their normal comfort zone both in subject knowledge and teaching approaches, especially with regard to controversial and topical issues. Good citizenship teachers use a range of methods to ensure that pupils gain the knowledge and understanding they need to become involved in discussion and debate or to take action in the school or community.”
The report also mentions that, “standards tend to be higher in schools that have adopted citizenship GCSE courses”.
» Read the Towards Consensus report on the Ofsted website.
Evaluating Internationalism in Schools
This report examines schools that have recently received an International School Award. Although most schools included their international work in their Self-Evaluation Form, the key findings mention that: "The impact of the international work on children’s and young people’s enjoyment, achievement or development was evaluated only occasionally in the SEFs".
In a very small number of the schools in the sample, inspectors reported that not enough attention was paid to helping children and young people to understand the rich diversity of modern multicultural Britain.
» Read the Evaluating Internationalism in Schools report on the Ofsted website.
Schools and sustainability: A climate for change?
This survey assesses the extent to which schools teach their pupils about sustainability and the progress they are making towards meeting the expectations of the Government’s national framework for sustainable schools. It noted that "Schools were more successful in developing pupils’ understanding of local rather than global issues of sustainability" and recommended that the government should "give a higher priority to sustainable schools" and that schools should "give all pupils the opportunity to put their understanding of local issues into a global context, so that they see how their decisions can have an impact on others now and in the future".
» Read the Schools and Sustainability report on the Ofsted website.
Demonstrating the Global Dimension in Self-Evaluation Forms
The new Ofsted Self-Evaluation Form (SEF) has specifically added a section (1b) to assess whether your school is implementing the Sustainable Schools framework. The Teachernet website provides a Sustainable School Self-evaluation (S3) tool to help primary, middle and secondary schools with this. The tool enables those involved in sustainable development to document their efforts and report the improvements and benefits to the school and community. It helps schools organise the information they need to write evaluative statements and identify key priorities for development.
» Visit the Ofsted website for guidance on self-evaluation.
» Find out more about the S3 tool from the Teachernet website.
There are many opportunities within SEFs to demonstrate that your school implements global dimension work—in fact, almost every section has room for mentioning this.