We welcome the determination of Ofsted to look at the broader educational outcomes of our schools. This is particularly true given that the vast majority of Jewish schools look to deliver a curriculum which incorporates academic standards and values and morals in order to build a firm foundation for our children.
However, despite some reassurances from Ofsted we still have some concerns about the subjectivity of this judgement. Schools should also be aware of the enormous challenge facing the school leadership in understanding the requirements of the new inspection framework and ensuring that schools can achieve the best possible results. This is going to be increasingly challenging given that Ofsted will generally not use internal data in assessing school achievements.
From a faith perspective we are still cautious about the practicality of using Jewish studies in assessing overall quality of education, whilst there is no question that the values taught within these lessons are an essential part of the outcomes of the school, even with the use of specialist inspectors this may be a difficult area to evidence.
We have received assurances from Ofsted with regard to the inspection of SRE that they will be incorporating the recent guidance from DfE. All schools that follow the recently issued PaJeS guidance should be able to ensure compliance in this area.
We will continue to support all Jewish schools as they experience inspections under this new framework and ensure continued dialogue and feedback to Ofsted as and when necessary.