Think tank praises Ofsted's changes but says more can be done

Issue date: 18 January 2019


Members of a pioneering institute set up to shape national education policy on enterprise skills has welcomed The Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills (Ofsted) new draft inspection framework. However it believes some of the new measures should be more ambitious.

The Aldridge Institute for Enterprise and Entrepreneurship, based at the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol), develops innovative approaches to the teaching and learning of enterprise skills, and acts as a national think tank, lobbying government on how enterprise education can transform students' futures and boost the economy.

This week Ofsted published a draft framework on how it plans to change the way in which it assesses and rates schools. It plans to focus on how results are achieved – which it says reflects good education – as opposed to focusing solely on pupils' marks and exam results.

Professor Gurpreet Jagpal, Director of the Aldridge Institute, said: “We welcome this new framework, as well as Ofsted's desire to focus on how results are achieved.

“We strongly advocate the positive value of enterprise and entrepreneurship in education, the need for equal opportunity and young people equipped with future-proofed skills – the proposed framework begins to take some steps to recognise the voice for enterprise and entrepreneurship teaching and learning.

“However, we believe it needs to be more ambitious and should look forward to the needs of young people beyond their time in education, to focus on knowledge and skills.”

The education watchdog's draft set out that school pupils' personal development and behaviour should be separated when a school is assessed. Referring to this, Professor Jagpal said: “We commend Ofsted's focus on personal development and behaviour, but the two should not be separated.

“Behaviour is about more than classroom discipline or bullying. It's about the enterprising skills needed to succeed – in education, in employment and in society – such as teamwork.

“As a result, we would encourage the 'embedding' of such attributes in all aspects of learners' education interaction.”

Ofsted's Chief Investigator Amanda Spielman said in her speech announcing the framework that she summed up her ambition for the framework using the words 'substance' and 'integrity'.

In response to this, Professor Jagpal said: “Integrity is an education system that equips young people with the skills to succeed in our rapidly changing society and economy. This is a chance to change not just an inspection regime, but a culture that exam results are the only success criteria. Enterprise skills must be a key part of this.”

The Aldridge Institute is a partnership between The Aldridge Foundation charity and UWE Bristol. Made up of a team of researchers and lecturers, the Institute is based at the University's new £55 million Bristol Business School building. Academics from across the Faculty of Business and Law collaborate with the Institute to strengthen its impact.

Professor Jagpal said: “To solve the biggest challenges the world is facing, we need to think about educating our young people differently and break away from traditional teaching models – any new inspection model needs to support this and over the coming months we look forward to engaging with Ofsted to see how the proposed framework will ensure that young people are equipped not just with academic qualifications, but also with enterprising skills and attributes.

The Institute is currently developing measures that will help schools, colleges and universities assess the impact of personal development of enterprising skills and behaviours.

It is also pulling together input from leaders in enterprise skills and entrepreneurship education to fully respond to Ofsted's framework draft, which is open to consultation until April.

The Aldridge Foundation is a charity that supports ten schools across Britain in communities with levels of high unemployment and income deprivation. These Aldridge Academies have pioneered the implementation of an education approach that encourages teamwork, problem-solving, creativity, risk-taking, determination and passion.

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