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Sport and physical activity in the education inspection framework

20 January 2022

From September, colleges will be inspected under a new education inspection framework (EIF) which places a greater emphasis on curriculum intent, implementation and impact (the ‘three I’s’) and will grade personal development separately from behaviour and attitudes.

Eddie Playfair, Senior Policy Manager at AoC explains what it all means.

What does Ofsted mean by the curriculum?

Ofsted defines the curriculum as a framework which:

  • sets out the aims of a programme of education, including the knowledge and understanding to be gained at each stage (intent)
  • translates over time into a structure and narrative, within an institutional context (implementation), and
  • evaluates what knowledge and skills learners have gained against expectations (impact)

What is Personal and Social Development (PSD)?

In the new framework, the previous ‘personal development behaviour and welfare’ (‘PDBW’) area is split into two, allowing inspectors to distinguish between ‘behaviour and attitudes’ and ‘personal development’, which will mainly be about what the college has chosen to offer outside of taught courses, including: enrichment, health and wellbeing, amongst other things.

Starting from Ofsted’s definition of Personal Development, we have found it helpful to group this into 4 broad areas, one of which is ‘physical and mental health / wellbeing’.

What is enrichment?

Enrichment is voluntary extra-curricular activity which colleges organise for their students. We know that these activities can play a big part in keeping students in college and motivated. They add a great deal to their study programmes and contribute to their development. Unfortunately, there is no earmarked funding for enrichment, so provision is both variable and vulnerable.

Enrichment itself can also be subdivided, and we have suggested 7 categories, one of which is ‘sport, fitness, physical and mental health and wellbeing’.

PSD and enrichment in colleges

In our recent survey of PSD in colleges, we found that colleges really value this work and the positive impact it has on students and their development. The survey showed that 96% of colleges are educating about physical and sexual health, mental health and wellbeing and 89% are offering opportunities for competitive sports and 90% for non-competitive physical activity.

Evaluating impact

Colleges are in no doubt of the benefits of sports, physical activity and wellbeing activities, but will always be looking for the evidence of impact as part of making the case for this work and their self-assessment or pre-inspection documentation.

So it is important for college sports, physical activity and wellbeing teams to consider what evidence they have of the impact of what they do, the data and the narrative they can provide to support this. This needs be easy to access and not require lots of additional work to collect and collate.

The evidence could be about:

  • Quantity: how many students engage in particular activities and how sustained is that engagement?
  • Range: how broad is the choice of activity and how was this range decided?
  • Reach: how is the offer reaching the hardest to reach and engaging the least active?
  • Match: does the offer meet the full range of needs and interests of students and support new starters as well as offering progression opportunities?
  • Change: How is engagement changing those who participate – in terms of their all-round wellbeing, attitudes, behaviours and achievements?

AoC will continue to work with colleges to make the case for the benefits of PSD and enrichment and argue for dedicated funding and to support colleges in finding ways to enhance their offer and provide the evidence of its impact.