How human stories help meet Ofsted's expectations for personal development

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As educators, we strive to provide students with holistic education that goes beyond academic achievements. Personal development plays a crucial role in nurturing well-rounded individuals who are prepared for the challenges of the future. Ofsted recognises the significance of personal development and includes it as a key area in their inspections.

In this blog, we will explore how Ofsted inspects personal development and will highlight how Lyfta’s immersive storytelling platform can help schools and trusts excel in this area.
Shanhaz from storyworld Summer village, Winter village
Shanhaz from storyworld Summer village, Winter village

What is personal development?

Personal development is one of the four key judgements that Ofsted makes when inspecting schools under the education inspection framework (EIF). It evaluates how well schools provide for the personal development of all students, and the quality with which they implement this work.
Personal development is not just about academic achievement, but also about developing character, confidence, resilience, mental health, physical health and citizenship skills. Promoting equality of opportunity, an inclusive environment and readiness for the next phase of education, training or employment is also key.

What Ofsted is looking for?

According to the school inspection handbook, Ofsted's judgements around personal development focus on the factors that research indicates contribute most strongly to students' personal development.
Lyfta can support schools in meeting Ofsted's expectations as set out in the framework for personal development across many areas:
Develop responsible, respectful and active citizens who are able to play their part and become actively involved in public life as adults.
Lyfta exposes pupils to different perspectives, cultures and values through the array of immersive human stories, and encourages them to reflect on their own identity and role in society.Lyfta also inspires students to take action on local and global issues that matter to them. Read how students were inspired at Djanogly Learning Trust to be active global citizens here.
Introduce diverse cultures and perspectives to the classroom with Lyfta
Promote equality of opportunity so that all pupils can thrive together, understanding that difference is a positive, not a negative, and that individual characteristics make people unique.
Lyfta celebrates diversity and inclusion through its human stories, which showcase people from different backgrounds, abilities, genders, sexual orientations and religions. Lyfta also challenges stereotypes and prejudices, and fosters respect, understanding and empathy among students. Read more about how Lyfta helps schools with their DEI journey here.
Promote an inclusive environment that meets the needs of all pupils, irrespective of age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation.
Lyfta is accessible and engaging for all students, regardless of their prior knowledge or experience. Lyfta also allows students to learn at their own pace and level of interest, and supports differentiation and personalisation of learning.
Develop pupils' character, which Ofsted defines as a set of positive personal traits, dispositions and virtues that informs their motivation and guides their conduct so that they reflect wisely, learn eagerly, behave with integrity and cooperate consistently well with others.
Lyfta inspires pupils to develop their character through its human stories, which demonstrate qualities such as courage, resilience, creativity, curiosity and kindness. Lyfta also provides opportunities for pupils to practise these qualities through collaborative tasks and projects. Read more about how Lyfta nurtures character and values here.
Develop pupils' confidence, resilience and knowledge so that they can keep themselves mentally healthy.
Lyfta supports pupils' mental health and wellbeing by providing them with positive role models, inspiring stories and safe spaces to explore their emotions and feelings. Lyfta also helps pupils to cope with challenges and setbacks by showing them how others have overcome difficulties and achieved their goals. Read more about how Lyfta supports mental health and wellbeing here.
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Develop pupils' understanding of how to keep physically healthy, eat healthily and maintain an active lifestyle, including giving ample opportunities for pupils to be active during the school day and through extra-curricular activities.
Lyfta promotes physical health and fitness by featuring stories of people who lead healthy lifestyles, such as athletes and dancers and explores healthy eating and wellbeing. Lyfta also encourages pupils to participate in new activities and hobbies that can improve their physical wellbeing. Primary schools can leverage their PE and Sport Premium in this area. Read more here.
Develop pupils' age-appropriate understanding of healthy relationships through appropriate relationships and sex education (RSE).
Lyfta supports RSE by providing stories of people who have different types of relationships, such as friendships, family bonds, romantic partnerships and professional collaborations.
Support readiness for the next phase of education, training or employment so that pupils are equipped to make the transition successfully.
Lyfta helps prepare students for the next phase of education, training or employment by exposing them to a variety of careers and pathways that they may not have considered before. Lyfta also helps pupils to develop the skills and competencies that they will need in the future, such as communication, collaboration, creativity and critical thinking.

Success Stories

Djanogly Sherwood Academy started using Lyfta in Sept 2021. Leaders at the school reported that Lyfta was used during an inspection and was noted in conversations with inspectors around personal development.
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"In January 2023, we achieved an Outstanding rating in Personal Development from Ofsted. According to their assessment, our students displayed remarkable growth in character, fuelled by engaging discussions and debates. It was stated that our children demonstrated a profound understanding of the significance of diversity within both their local community and the global context. We believe that our success in this area can be largely attributed to Lyfta, as our Lyfta assemblies provide our students with invaluable opportunities to explore a diverse range of individuals, empowering them to actively contribute towards improving their community."

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Upton Court Grammar School has been using Lyfta as part of their personal development programme and to support their mission to ensure all students fulfil their academic and personal aspirations and thrive on an intrapersonal, interpersonal, societal and global level. The school received an outstanding rating for personal development. Read the full report here.
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"School leaders are committed to supporting all pupils to thrive and succeed. Character education is a significant strength of the school. Pupils speak positively about the ways in which the school helps them to develop as individuals. They identify ways in which the school contributes to their confidence, resilience and initiative."

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The Challenge Academy Trust has implemented Lyfta across the trust and seen a transformative impact on both their students and teachers. The trust has been using Lyfta to broadened their students' global perspectives, nurture empathy, and provided a dynamic and engaging learning environment.
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"The lesson plans and resources provided are of the highest quality making it an excellent resource in terms of planning a wider Personal Development Curriculum.

I highly recommend Lyfta to any school looking to create a more inclusive, immersive, and enriching learning experience for their students."

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Personal development is a key aspect of Ofsted's inspection framework. It reflects Ofsted's guiding principle of being a force for improvement through intelligent, responsible and focused inspection and regulation.
School leaders should ensure that they provide a rich and varied personal development provision for all students, and that they can easily demonstrate how they do this to Ofsted. By doing so, they will not only meet Ofsted's expectations, but also help their pupils to flourish in their community and in the wider world.
If you are interested in finding out more about how Lyfta can support your school's personal development provision, you can book a short demo here.
Character & Values
Skills & Values
Social Emotional Learning
Human Stories
Personal Development
Diversity Equity Inclusion