Updated Ofsted School inspection handbook – Friday 11 March 2022

This week I highlight changes in the Ofsted School inspection handbook in relation to harmful sexual behaviour and new DfE funding to provide opportunities for girls to access competitive sport.

Updated School inspection handbook
In February Ofsted updated their School inspection handbook. The changes relate to Ofsted’s approach to harmful sexual behaviour with new paragraphs (67, 236 and 252) inserted on sexual harassment, online sexual abuse and sexual violence. Inspectors will consider how schools handle such allegations and staff should have appropriate knowledge of part 5 of the statutory guidance ‘Keeping children safe in education’. They should also have good awareness of the signs that a child is being neglected or abused, as described in ‘What to do if you’re worried a child is being abused’ and the barriers that could prevent a pupil from making a disclosure e.g. communication needs and that these have been addressed.

Staff should be confident and well trained in handling reports of sexual harassment, abuse or violence in line with the DfE’s guidance, including incidents between children and those off school premises. That all allegations are taken seriously, comprehensively recorded and dealt with swiftly and appropriately, and pupils are confident that this is the case. If schools do not have adequate processes in place, it is likely that safeguarding will be considered ineffective.

DfE funding to provide opportunities for girls to access competitive sport
At least 50 schools across England are being sought to take part in a programme aimed at giving girls more opportunities to access competitive sport. The DfE has announced up to £980,000 in funding for its “Your Time” programme, which is being led by the Sports Leaders Qualifications (SLQ) awarding organisation.

The three year programme aims to increase opportunities for thousands of girls aged eight to 16 to access competitive sport and sport leadership opportunities. Schools will receive programme orientation sessions, access to learning modules and packs containing promotional materials for teachers and branded equipment items for leaders and participants. The programme will also signpost pupils to extra-curricular activities so they can continue to pursue sports outside school and once the scheme comes to an end.

Schools interested in joining the programme should contact SLQ directly for further information.