OFSTED and School's support for Health and Wellbeing

November 2010 saw the publication of the importance of teaching and Healthy lives, healthy people, the government white papers on schools and public health. This year we see OFSTED including the evaluation of health and safety in the new framework.

Swindon Healthy Schools are interested in seeing how health and wellbeing in the school settings will help improve grades, improve health outcomes, reduce inequalities across the town and improve the future of young people. We welcomed the new important message and were pleased to see that in all DFE documents, there is the recognition that schools will continue to have an important role to play in helping children to be happier, healthier and more ready to learn and meet their full potential.

“We expect excellent health and pastoral support to continue to be a hallmark of good schools.  Good schools understand well the connection between pupils’ physical and mental health, their safety and their educational attainment”.  (Public health white paper, section 3.14.)

The difference from previously, is a shift from central guidance and direction to a more local agenda based on local health need and firmly centred on the school community.

The big news for us is that: 

“The Healthy Schools programme will continue to be developed…” (3.15)

There is an emphasis on the key areas we already cover: PSHE (All schools should make provisions for PHSE education, drawing on good practice - National Curriculum Framework), Emotional Health, and Wellbeing, Healthy Eating, Sexual Relationship Education and Physical Activity. OFSTED inspections now take into account, if schools offer a broad and balanced PHSE / RSE programme which has been developed in partnership with the young persons views in mind.

There is also an emphasis on supporting families, for example through the Change4Life movement (which will be widened to include help for parents around other areas such as talking about mental wellbeing, smoking, drugs and alcohol and other areas of concern).

Another important theme for government is reduction of the burden of bureaucracy that schools have suffered; one significant change is the removal of the SEF. Nevertheless, schools still need to show how they are offering ‘...excellent health and pastoral support...' (3.14).

Responding Locally

We have developed a local, version of the audit so that schools can evidence their Healthy Schools work which can also support them during OFSTED inspections. The audit  includes the latest government requirements of British Values, extremism, radicalisation, CSE and relationships. The New Healthy Schools Award scheme recognises the work of schools that is above and beyond the local audit and meets the needs of Public Health and the local community, including initiatives such as  'food smart and sugar smart'.

Healthy Schools programme was trialled in Swindon over fifteen years ago, today it is a recognised award across the country and schools have embraced it with passion and imagination. We look forward to going forward together with you into the future and helping you build on your terrific achievements to date.

If you want to know more about the changes please contact us.