FOI release

Community cohesion

A Freedom of Information (FOI) request and disclosure about community cohesion.



  • Date requested: 31 January 2011
  • Publish date: 28 February 2011
  • Updated: 17 May 2011


Can the department disclose details of the evidence which proves that the removal of the need to inspect community cohesion will have no impact on children from BME groups or on children that live in areas of deprivation?

Can it also provide evidence which proves that the removal of the need to inspect community cohesion will have no impact on children who attend schools where the community is predominantly white British?


It is important to note that while the explicit duty on Ofsted to report on schools’ contribution to community cohesion is to be removed, community cohesion will remain within the scope of inspection. In addition, the duty on schools to promote community cohesion remains in place.

The Education Bill takes forward the proposals for reforming inspection that were set out in the Schools White Paper that was published in November last year. It redefines the high level reporting areas that the Chief Inspector must cover in all school inspections. It is intended that inspections will be focused around four core areas, pupils’ achievement, the quality of teaching, leadership and management, and pupils’ behaviour and safety.
The Bill sets out two particular considerations which will underpin Ofsted’s reporting on those four core areas. Both of these are relevant to community cohesion and equality of opportunity for pupils. 
Firstly, Ofsted will be required to consider the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of pupils. This will provide an opportunity, where appropriate, for schools to demonstrate and inspectors to consider how wider links with the community contribute to pupils’ development in these areas.
Secondly, Ofsted will be required to consider how well the school meets the needs of the range of pupils at the school. Inspectors will therefore need to ask themselves whether the school is meeting the needs of, for example, girls and boys, pupils from different ethnic communities, those eligible for free school meals and the pupil premium, those who are disabled or have special educational needs, and looked after children. 
More generally, the government’s inspection reforms are aimed at increasing the impact that inspection has on raising standards and improving provision for all pupils. 
The government believes that there remains an unacceptable gap in achievement for different groups of children, including those from certain minority ethnic backgrounds, economically disadvantaged pupils and other vulnerable groups. Tackling this is a priority within the Government’s education reform programme, including the planned changes to school inspection. 

Ofsted, along with other public bodies, is subject to the requirements of the Equality Duty, the aim of which is to embed equality considerations into the day to day work of public bodies, so that they tackle discrimination and inequality and contribute to making society fairer. The proposed schools inspection arrangements will be consistent with this.

Published 28 February 2011