What inspectors expect

28th April 1995 at 01:00
In evaluating the quality of spiritual education and development OFSTED says inspectors should consider:

* the extent to which the school's aims promote spiritual development;

* whether the school has an agreed approach to the ways in which spiritual issues should be addressed consistently through all the subjects of thecurriculum and the life of the school;

* the extent to which the arrangements for acts of collective worship promote pupils' spiritual development;

* whether spiritual development isadequately supported by the provision of religious education;

* whether collective worship isappropriate to the age, aptitude and family background of pupils;

* whether it takes place in an appropriate setting, challenges pupils, enriches their experience and provides opportunityfor them to participate;

* whether, for those schools in whichcollective worship is to be inspected, provision meets statutory requirements and, if not, the school's stated reasonswhy not;

* how well the school promotes opportunities for pupils to reflect on aspects of their lives and the human condition through, for example, literature, music, art, science, RE and collective worship and how well the pupils respond;

* whether pupils are encouraged, and show a capacity, to reflect on theexperiences of life and to seekexplanations for events in the physical and natural world;

* whether pupils are developing their own personal values and are learning to appreciate the beliefs and practices of others;

* whether there is an ethos which values imagination, inspiration and contemplation and encourages pupils to askquestions about meaning and purpose;

* whether pupils are developing knowledge which helps to develop their understanding of spiritual issues.

OFSTED poses a series of questions in a February 1994 discussion document on spiritual, moral, social and cultural development:

* Is it reasonable to attempt to define spiritual development in a way which is acceptable to those with a non-religious perspective and to those withreligious beliefs?

* Are there some aspects of spiritual development which are the prerogative of religious education, and others which are a 'whole school' responsibility?

* To what extent is it possible to gain evidence of spiritual development through the demonstration of:

knowledge of the central beliefs, ideas and practices of major world religions and philosophies;

an understanding of how people have sought to explain the universe through myths and stories, including religious, historical and scientific interpretations;

beliefs which are held personally, and the ability to give some account of these and to derive values from them;

behaviour and attitudes which derive from such knowledge and understanding and from personal conviction, and which show awareness of the relationship between belief and action:

personal response to questions about the purpose of life, and to the experience of, for example, beauty and love or pain and suffering.

What other outcomes might be sought?

* Do all subjects in the curriculum have some responsibility for contributing to pupils' spiritual development?

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