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Ofsted asks children for their help with the Big Listen

Ofsted has today extended its Big Listen consultation to hear directly from children, seeking their views on how Ofsted can improve.

  • Online consultation aimed at children of all ages and backgrounds.

  • Their views on what’s important will help shape Ofsted’s future direction.

  • Focus groups will hear directly from children in care and care leavers.

The online consultation gives children (up to age 18) the chance to tell Ofsted what they think inspectors should look at when they visit their school or social care setting, and how Ofsted can do its job better.

The children’s consultation aligns with the main Big Listen consultation, which opened on 8 March for parents, carers and professionals working in education and social care.

The children’s consultation asks a series of short questions for children to answer anonymously, without revealing any personal details. There are questions for all children to answer about how Ofsted should inspect schools and other education providers, followed by a section about social care providers, for children who have experience of being in care.  

Alongside the consultation, Ofsted 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. The views and feedback collected will help Ofsted make sure that any future changes to inspection and regulation are focused on how well education and care providers help and support children. 

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.

Ofsted Chief Inspector, Sir Martyn Oliver 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. We want to know what is important to them about their school or care provider, and what they think we should be looking at when we inspect.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. And I’d encourage children to ask their parents and carers to do the same. We work for all of them – and we need to get it right.

Adults can fill in the consultation on behalf of children, and it will take just a few minutes to complete. Like the wider Big Listen consultation, the children’s version will close on 31 May 2024.



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