Ofsted and community cohesion

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According to ‘The Evaluation Schedule for Schools’ January 2010, Inspectors should evaluate:

·      the extent to which the school has developed an understanding of the religious, ethnic and socio-economic characteristics of its community in a local, national and global context

·      the extent to which the school has taken an appropriate set of planned actions based on an analysis of its context and is evaluating the impact of its work

·      the extent to which the school’s actions have a positive impact on community cohesion within the school and beyond.

The guidance inspectors are asked to take account of includes the extent to which the school:

·      the quality of the school’s analysis of its context

·      the extent to which leaders and managers have placed due emphasis on each of the three strands of religion, ethnicity and the socio-economic dimension in shaping the school’s response to its analysis.

·      the extent to which the school has taken appropriate actions to contribute to community cohesion within the school and beyond

·      the quality, and use made, of the school’s evaluation of its work across the three strands

·      evidence of the impact of the school’s work on outcomes, for instance in the quality of the pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development

·      evidence of the impact of the school’s work in the local community.

In order to help self-evaluate prior to inspection schools might ask themselves:

·       has the school completed an analysis of its context?

·      Does this analysis include the needs of the communities it serves?

·      Is there an appropriate action plan in place that includes the three strands of religion, ethnicity and the socio-economic dimension?

·      How does the school enable pupils to work together, particularly those from different groups?

·      Does the school ethos promote shared values?

·      Are pupils encouraged to challenge prejudice, discrimination and stereotyping?

·      How well do pupils with different backgrounds mix within the school?

·      To what extent does the school share it facilities with the local community?

·      How does the school involve the local community in the curriculum?

·      How does the school reach out into the local community?

·      How does the school ensure that all groups within the community feel welcome?

·      How does the curriculum reflect the school, local and national context?

·      What links has the school made with other schools in Britain working in a different context?

·      What links has the school made with schools in other countries?

·      How does the curriculum enable pupils to develop the global dimension?

·      How does the curriculum help pupils to understand the rich and diverse nature of the British community?

·      How does the school evaluate the impact of actions to promote community cohesion?

·      Does the school consult effectively with all groups of parents?

·      Do extra-curricular clubs reflect the diversity of groups within the school?

·      Do the staff and members of the governing body reflect the school’s catchment? 

·      How are different groups within the school performing? Is every attempt being made to address any trends or anomalies?

·      Are there high expectations for all groups of students?

·      Are any groups of students over-represented in exclusion figures?

·      Is assessment used to track the performance of different groups?

·      Are meaningful intercultural activities organised within the school?

·      How effectively does the school engage with its hard-to-reach parents?

 

When completing the SEF schools no longer have prompts to help them. Instead it is expected that schools use the grade descriptors as a guide:

 

Outstanding
(1)

 

The school acts vigorously and successfully, using information from an incisive analysis of its religious, ethnic and socio-economic context at local and national levels to focus its exceptional contribution to community cohesion. It evaluates its work rigorously in order to build on its many strengths. The school’s actions have a markedly beneficial impact on community cohesion within its local community and beyond. The school community is highly cohesive and the pupils have a strong understanding of what is required to maintain this state.

Good
(2)

 

The school demonstrates that it makes a strong contribution to promoting community cohesion based on a clear analysis of its religious, ethnic and socio-economic context. It evaluates its contribution to community cohesion and can identify clear impact but this may be uneven across the three strands. There are effective plans that promote engagement with a range of community groups beyond the school and the immediate community. The impact of its work is felt strongly within the school and pupils from different backgrounds get on noticeably well with each other.

Satisfactory
(3)

The school has taken a set of actions based on an informed understanding of its religious, ethnic and socio-economic context. It is actively promoting community cohesion within the school community and is reaching out to other communities. Its work has a generally positive impact within the school, which is a largely cohesive community, but there may be only limited evidence of its success in promoting community cohesion beyond the school. Evaluation of its work is patchy but provides some relevant information.

Inadequate
(4)

 

The school has an inadequate understanding of the religious, ethnic or socio-economic factors which define its context.

or

·       It does not plan or evaluate its contribution to community cohesion either within or beyond the school.

or

·      The school’s work makes little effective contribution to community cohesion so that the school itself is not a cohesive community.

 

Different strands can be tracked within these grade descriptors. Identifying these can help schools decide on their grading as well as helping them to determine what actions are necessary to move to the next level.

Strand 1: school understanding of context  

 

Outstanding (1)

The school acts vigorously and successfully, using information from an incisive analysis of its religious, ethnic and socio-economic context at local and national levels to focus its exceptional contribution to community cohesion

Good (2)

The school demonstrates that it makes a strong contribution to promoting community cohesion based on a clear analysis of its religious, ethnic and socio-economic context.

Satisfactory (3)

The school has taken a set of actions based on an informed understanding of its religious, ethnic and socio-economic context.

Inadequate (4)

The school has an inadequate understanding of the religious, ethnic or socio-economic factors which define its context.

 

 

Strand 2: evaluation and impact   

 

Outstanding (1)

It evaluates its work rigorously in order to build on its many strengths. The school’s actions have a markedly beneficial impact on community cohesion within its local community and beyond.

Good (2)

 It evaluates its contribution to community cohesion and can identify clear impact but this may be uneven across the three strands. There are effective plans that promote engagement with a range of community groups beyond the school and the immediate community.

Satisfactory (3)

Its work has a generally positive impact within the school… Evaluation of its work is patchy but provides some relevant information.

Inadequate (4)

 It does not plan or evaluate its contribution to community cohesion either within or beyond the school.

 

 

Strand 3: the school community    

 

Outstanding (1)

The school community is highly cohesive and the pupils have a strong understanding of what is required to maintain this state.

Good (2)

The school community is highly cohesive and the pupils have a strong understanding of what is required to maintain this state.

Satisfactory (3)

Its work has a generally positive impact within the school, which is a largely cohesive community, but there may be only limited evidence of its success in promoting community cohesion beyond the school

Inadequate (4)

The school’s work makes little effective contribution to community cohesion so that the school itself is not a cohesive community.

 

What might this judgement look like on your SEF? Below are some suggestions for statements you might want to include:

 

 School dimension

 The school completed an audit into community cohesion in December 2009. This identified the main groups within its catchment including   religious, ethnic, and socio-economic characteristics. It looked at the current practice within the school, the results of local consultations and data from RAISonline to put together a clear picture of current provision (see File A)

 

From this audit the school has now a clear action plan which includes as its priorities:

·      The development of links with a school in Britain with a contrasting catchment

·      Increased involvement of the Bangladeshi community within the school

·      Higher attainment for Bangladeshi children

These actions are also included in the overall school improvement plan. Clear success criteria have been established for measuring the success of actions against these priorities (see SIP). We acknowledge that there is still work to be done in ensuring the full integration and high expectations for our Bangladeshi pupils. Additional support has been commissioned from the Local Authority and a neighbouring school with higher attainment for its Bangladeshi pupils (to begin summer term). Our tracking systems and progress meetings now allow for a much quicker response rate to identified issues.

Every attempt is made to ensure that staff and governors include members of the Bangladeshi community. This has currently been achieved in the governing body and support staff but the community is still under represented amongst the teaching staff.

Local community dimension

The school provides a range of extended services and monitors the involvement of different groups within the community. (record B) The learning mentor is currently engaged in working with local community leaders to encourage Bangladeshi parents to access and request services.

Pupils regularly visit local community building and facilities including the museum, arts centre, parks, shops and businesses. All curriculum units in humanities include a section relating to one of the dimensions. Visitors are regularly invited into school e.g. during industry week 15 local businesses and organisations were represented.

The impact of the school’s work in the community is seen in many local venues e.g. art display in local supermarket, newsletters and art work in community centres, choir in local residential homes

During the first week of term a ‘freshers’ week’ enables pupils to find out about extra-curricular activities and their links to local clubs and societies. Take up of these activities is monitored and any trends addressed (record C).

We maintain strong links with the local police, health service, social care and youth services. The local police are currently planning to use our external classrooms as a base for community officers.

Local charities are supported. Children propose charities and a working party comprising children and staff identify methods of raising money.

UK community

The need to develop a link with another school with a contrasting catchment is recognised. The school is currently discussing opportunities with a school in Castleton.

Curriculum plans incorporate resources and examples from a range of cultures and religions. (see curriculum plans A) . Pupils have indicated  in school council discussions that they enjoy the range and diversity of the topics studied and the resources used (schools council meeting 25th January). A diverse range of festivals are celebrated and acknowledged (assembly plans A). 

Each year group visits at least two places of worship during the year. Visit evaluations show that pupils feel they learn more from these visits than study in the classroom (pupil surveys File D).

We include a residential visit for all year 5 and 6 pupils. Pupil evaluations demonstrate that these are extremely effective in enabling pupils to develop greater understanding of the environment (pupil surveys File D).

Global community

We have now well-established links with schools in Mirpur and Madrid. This includes e-mail contact, shared projects (e.g. working on a prospectus for partner schools), research projects.

Every term at least one unit of work studied in each year groups includes a global dimension (see curriculum plans B). A ‘current affairs’ bulletin in assembly has encouraged pupils to listen to the news and contribute information. Classes take it in turns to present this. (assembly plans A).

Fund raising has included a number of initiatives to support projects in different countries across the world e.g. the Haiti earthquake

 

 

 

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