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Ofsted’s new inspection regime is a missed opportunity to improve mental health in schools

14 May 2019

Ofsted’s new education inspection framework, published this morning, continues to lack a strong enough focus on mental health and wellbeing, the British Psychological Society (BPS) has said today.

We developed a robust response to the consultation on the new framework calling for the introduction of new mental health and wellbeing measures into the school inspection regime.

This should be accompanied by the provision of additional psychological support and guidance for schools by the Department for Education (DfE).

While Ofsted has developed the framework to include some further references to mental health and wellbeing, this has not been widely embedded across the new framework and inspection process.

Sarb Bajwa, chief executive of the BPS, said:

“While we are pleased to see more references to mental health throughout the inspection framework following the consultation, we are disappointed the reforms have not gone further. Ofsted has missed an opportunity to turn school inspections into a mechanism to inspire real change for children and young people’s mental health and psychological wellbeing.

“At a time when one in eight children and young people have a diagnosable mental health condition, with many more experiencing stress and pressures both in and outside of school, it is more important than ever that effective mental health and wellbeing support is embedded in all schools.

“We are concerned that some key terms such as ‘resilience’ and ‘fundamental British Values’ still lack clear, accessible definitions that are valid, reliable and measurable, and that inspectors themselves are not being appropriately supported to take a psychologically informed approach to inspections.

“The BPS is keen to work closely with both Ofsted and the DfE to address these issues and deliver real change in children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing”.

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