What are inspectors looking for in ISI personal development?

The current ISI inspection framework places a significant emphasis on pupils personal development and how the school and its curriculum contributes to this.

In ISI personal development inspectors are particularly looking for the following:

  • the school’s curriculum extends beyond the academic
  • the curriculum and the school’s wider work support pupils personal development
  • developing responsible, respectful and active citizens
  • promoting equality of opportunity
  • promoting an inclusive environment
  • developing pupils’ self-understanding, giving them qualities they need to flourish in society
  • developing pupils’ self-confidence and resilience so that they can keep themselves mentally healthy
  • preparing pupils for the next stage of their lives

“To flourish in this turbulent and tricky world, a strong, agile, curious mind is an essential.”

Guy Claxton, Powering Up Children: The Learning Power Approach to Primary Teaching

Independent school’s must extend the traditional curriculum beyond academic education to offer a curriculum which promotes the learning behaviours of independence, resilience and self-confidence. But many teachers do not feel confident in how to explicitly support pupils’ ‘personal development ’ in schools. As we teach these, developing and strengthening learning behaviours in our pupils, not only do we see improvements in wellbeing and mental health, but also in students’ academic performance. This approach aims to provide students with the assistance and structure for attaining long-term success in all areas of their life, preparing children and young people for future roles as parents, employees and leaders.

ISI Personal Development : the Research

In the UK the EEF have identified effective learning behaviours in their guidance reports on improving behaviourmetacognition and self-regulated learning and special educational needs in mainstream schools .

Development of these behaviours is fundamental for students to develop an awareness of the way they learn and establish forward-facing attitudes to learning, critical if they are to be able to become lifelong learners.

Some commonly identified behaviours that are particularly important for ensuring students are prepared to thrive in their futures include:

  • Resilience & Perseverance
  • Self-motivation and Confidence
  • Metacognition (thinking about thinking)
  • Independence & Problem-solving

This INSET will examine how the research from across the globe into personal development and learning behaviours can be put into practice in the classroom, packed with strategies to train or coach your students to improve their intellectual behaviours and subsequently their personal development and learning outcomes.

You may also be interested in our INSET courses on Metacognition – click here

Ofsted Personal development INSET Outline

Cultivating Resilience & Perseverance

  • Building pupils resilience to setbacks
  • Incorporating opportunities for children to experience failure
  • Teaching children to persevere in a world of ‘virtual stone-throwers’ and against a backdrop of increasing mental health problems

Training pupils to be more independent & better Problem Solvers

  • How do we best install strategies for problem-solving?
  • How can we use different thinking taxonomies to increase our student’s depth of thinking?
  • Self-regulation and its role in learning
  • Helping pupils understand the power of taking charge of their own learning and performance

Coaching Self-Confidence & Self- Motivation

  • Top 10 inspirational self-motivation tips for pupils
  • Developing self-awareness and self-confidence

Developing Metacognitive Skills

  • Turning pupils into metacognitive experts
  • 5 powerful ways to promote metacognitive awareness in the classroom
  • Developing reflective learners



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