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‘Big Listen’: Pupils asked for views on how Ofsted can improve

Ofsted has extended its Big Listen consultation so children can have their say on how to improve the watchdog.

The online survey, for primary and secondary school pupils aged up to 18, asks what they think inspectors should look at when they visit their school or social care setting.

The survey also seeks pupils’ views on how Ofsted can do its job better.

The inspectorate launched its main 12-week “Big Listen” consultation for school staff, education organisations and parents on March 8.

Views from schools, safeguarding, SEND, teacher training, social care and further education settings were sought.

The children’s survey includes an introductory video which explains it is anonymous and asks youngsters not to share personal information such as their name, school, or address.

It asks pupils what age bracket they fall into, but there is also an option for an “adult answering on behalf of a school-age child” to complete it.

The survey asks “what are the most important things you think Ofsted inspectors should look at when they inspect your school?”

Pupils can pick up to three answers from a list which includes how pupils behave at their school, or how happy they are or safe they feel, how well teachers teach and SEND pupils are supported, and how well pupils do in tests and exams.

There is also a blank text box where youngsters can share other suggested priorities for Ofsted.

It also asks pupils how Ofsted should find out what children think when they visit their schools, and if they or their family have ever been supported by a social worker.

The inspectorate said it is partnering with a number of organisations to hold a series of “Big Listen focus groups with care-experienced children and young people, including those in the youth justice system”.

The sessions will take place during May and June and involve children of different age ranges and diverse backgrounds, Ofsted said.

The children’s focus groups will complement other Ofsted-commissioned research, by independent organisations NatCen and IFF Research, which are supporting the Big Listen through surveys and focus groups with the public, parents and professionals.

The feedback will allow Ofsted to “make sure any future changes to inspection and regulation are focused on how well education and care providers help and support children”. 

Sir Martyn Oliver

Sir Martyn Oliver, Ofsted’s chief inspector, said: “We will always put the interests of children first, so we’re very keen to hear what they have to say about our work.

“Our job is to make sure all children are getting the high standards of education and care they deserve, and that disadvantage or vulnerability are never a barrier to new opportunities and better life chances.

“Feedback from children themselves will help us make sure that we are doing that job the best way we can. So I really hope as many as possible will get involved in the Big Listen and fill out the survey.”

Like the main consultation, the children’s survey will close on May 31.

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