Commenting on the new framework, Youth Sport Trust Schools Director Stuart Kay said:
“By placing a greater focus on a broad and balanced curriculum, Ofsted’s new framework offers some encouraging signs that the important role of Physical Education in schools will be given greater recognition.
“We know that, in recent years, PE has been a victim of inspections placing too much weight on exam results. Our own research found that almost two-in-five secondary schools have cut time for PE since 2012.
“This new framework makes explicit that inspectors will be looking to see students taught the full curriculum. It states that they will be alert to curriculum narrowing and will be clamping down on school leaders gaming the system.
“As a charity which has campaigned against students being taken out of curriculum PE to make time for other subjects, we’re encouraged by the clear message this sends.
“While Ofsted does not go into specifics about the role of PE, we’re pleased that it is giving schools permission to re-evaluate the intent of the curriculum they teach. With headteachers given the opportunity to influence which subjects are inspected, it will be more important than ever that schools are able to articulate the position of PE and sport in their curriculum and their intended impact on pupils.
“We would urge schools to use this opportunity to re-evaluate the wider outcomes PE should be delivering for every pupil, with a focus on wider wellbeing outcomes and character development.
“This framework does not, however, focus as explicitly as we would have liked on schools’ role supporting young people’s mental health and wellbeing. Poor mental health is a fundamental barrier to learning and schools have an incredibly important role to play in helping to develop young people’s wellbeing. This is something we and other charities like Young Minds will continue to champion.
“Overall, we are encouraged by this new inspection framework’s focus on quality of education and personal development, but the key test will be how it is implemented. From September, we hope to see inspectors being more specific in their reports on how a broader range of subjects, including PE, are supporting the quality of young people’s education.”