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CBI: Ofsted should focus on pupils' 'holistic' development

Ofsted inspections should place as much importance on students’ personal development as they do on exam results, according to the CBI.

The business lobby organisation has called for greater focus on the “holistic” development of pupils and for schools and colleges to be given a separate grade for "personal development".

In particular, the CBI wants greater focus on developing “determination, confidence and responsibility” among primary pupils.

The CBI was responding to Ofsted’s consultation on its plans to overhaul the inspection process. The watchdog has proposed subjecting good schools to a shorter monitoring inspection every three years.

This plan has been backed by the CBI, which argues that a “light touch” system would “better enable teachers to excel and to deliver the innovative, inspiring lessons that engage young people…without the perceived threat of an Ofsted inspection hanging over their head".

The CBI says that “a framework that places more equal weight on this wider personal development, as well as on academic progress and attainment, is needed to make this a priority in all schools and colleges”. This focus, it adds, “resonates well with business”.

The idea of schools developing character, grit and resilience in pupils has become increasingly popular; it has been backed by education secretary Nicky Morgan and by her Labour shadow Tristram Hunt.

The CBI also argues for clearer guidelines on how schools can work with businesses, and how this would be judged by Ofsted.

On Friday, the NAHT headteachers' union called for outstanding schools to receive short inspections every three years. At present, they are exempted from routine visits.

The consultation closed on Friday, and a final decision on the changes is expected in 2015.

Related stories:

Ofsted should inspect outstanding schools too, say heads – December 2014

Ofsted data reveals 'weakness and inconsistency' of inspections, headteachers say – November 2014

‘Ofsted and the DfE must take a look at themselves before analysing how we manage our workload’ – November 2014

Ofsted is 'unlikely to win any popularity contests', Wilshaw says – 31 October 2014

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