Religious education council raised concern at recent Ofsted reports


An advisory committee has raised concerns that Ofsted inspectors are not always including children’s spiritual, moral, social and cultural education in their reports.

SMSC, as it is known, is a requirement all schools in England must include in their curriculum, showing how well their pupils have developed.

At a meeting of SACRE (Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education), in Chichester, members were told that a recent batch of Ofsted reports included three in which no mention of SMSC was made.

SACRE’s role is to advise the county council, as local education authority, on religious education and collective worship.

Salvation Army representative and former deputy head, Mike Warner, said: “I find it strange, having gone through the process many times, that a full inspection shouldn’t make a comment about the very subject that is compulsory.

“While that is better than having a comment where you know the school doesn’t do it, it almost begs a question do the inspectors look for that – which they should do?”

SACRE members wondered if the same group of inspectors was responsible for the reports in question – but a quick look showed this was not the case.

In September, Ofsted plans to change the way it inspects all schools, from nursery to further education, and has launched a consultation to ask for views on the proposals.

The SACRE members agreed that they would all complete the consultation – as individuals rather than a group – and make it clear that SMSC should be part of the inspectors’ remit.