The well-being of learners has always been the focus of the inspection process but assumed an even greater significance following the Children Act 2004. In the aftermath of the Victoria Climbie enquiry, there was recognition of the need to bring more coherence to the inspection of services for children. The Act places a duty on children’s services authorities to make arrangements through which key partners work collaboratively to improve the well-being of local children. Joint area reviews, led by Ofsted, evaluate how well services, taken together, improve the well-being of children and young people in the local area. Where relevant, inspections of individual providers contribute to joint area reviews. Reviews evaluate the extent to which the following five outcomes for children and young people are being met:

1. Being healthy - this outcome deals with the extent to which providers contribute to the development of healthy lifestyles in children. Evidence will include ways in which providers promote the following: physical, mental, emotional and sexual health; participation in sport and exercise; healthy eating and the drinking of water; the ability to recognise and combat personal stress; having self-esteem; and the avoidance of drug taking including smoking and alcohol. There should also be assessment of the extent to which appropriate support is available for both students and staff to help achieve these positive outcomes.

2. Staying safe - this outcome is principally about the extent to which providers contribute to ensuring that ‘children’ stay safe from harm. Evidence includes complying with child protection legislation, undertaking CRB checks, protecting young people and vulnerable adults from bullying, harassment and other forms of maltreatment, discrimination, crime, anti-social behaviour, sexual exploitation, exposure to violence and other dangers. Ensuring that all relevant staff are appropriately trained.

3. Enjoying and achieving - this outcome includes attending and enjoying education and training, and the extent to which learners make progress with regard to their learning and their personal development. Evidence to evaluate this includes arrangements to assess and monitor learners’ progress, support learners with poor attendance and behaviour, and meet the needs of potentially underachieving groups. Also relevant will be the extent and effectiveness of the ‘enrichment’ of provision by promoting social, cultural, sporting and recreational activities. Learners’ views about the degree to which they enjoy their ‘learning life’ are taken into account here.

4. Making a positive contribution - this outcome includes the development of self-confidence and enterprising behaviour in learners, together with their understanding of rights and responsibilities, and their active participation in community life. Evidence includes measures to ensure understanding of rights and responsibilities, the extent to which learners are consulted about key decisions, and the provision of opportunities for learners to develop and lead provider and community activities. There should also be a focus on enabling young people to develop appropriate independent behaviour and to avoid engaging in antisocial behaviour.

5. Achieving economic well-being - this outcome includes the effectiveness of the ways in which the provider prepares learners for the acquisition of the skills and knowledge needed for employment and for economically independent living. Evidence includes arrangements for developing self-confidence, enterprise and teamwork, the provision of good careers advice and training for financial competence, and the accessibility of opportunities for work experience and work-based learning.

Where the work of a provider includes provision for young people up to the age of 19, or those up to the age of 25 who are vulnerable through the residential nature of their provision, or because they are physically, mentally or socially disadvantaged, inspectors will evaluate the quality of the provision in relation to the five outcomes.

How does your strategy and delivery of the five Every Child Matters outcomes compare with that of the most effective provision seen on inspection?

The following strengths and areas for improvement have been taken from recent inspection reports across the Ofsted Learning and Skills remit.

Common inspection strengths

  • Clear learner-centred development strategy with a thorough implementation plan
  • Well-managed and effective school links programme
  • Wide range of curriculum enhancement activities for learners
  • Good initial advice and guidance

Common inspection areas for improvement

  • Insufficient initial advice and guidance

If you were given a similar area for improvement bullet at the end of your last inspection, self assessed this area as an area for improvement, or want to work to avoid such areas for improvement, then consider what inspectors judge to be key.

Particularly effective practice identified in inspections includes:

  • Including ECM outcomes in quality improvement activities. These include the observations of lessons and other training activities, reviews of programmes/courses and self-assessment reporting.
  • Areas of learning including ECM outcomes as part of their curriculum delivery planning.
  • Working closely with partner schools in delivery of school link/diploma programmes to ensure ECM is taken into account (this may be having teachers accompany pupils or pupils taking part in college or provider health weeks).
  • Providing a safe and welcoming learning environment.
  • Ensuring that curriculum enhancements are available to all learners
Being Healthy
  • Having health events such as a ‘healthy college week’ with health checks, dietary advice, quitting smoking help, etc.
  • Green travel projects such as encouraging cycling or walking to providers; providing adequate bicycle storage facilities.
  • Anti-teenage pregnancy initiatives such as free contraception, advice lines, leaflets, visiting health workers.
  • Providing counselling services (sometimes with accreditation) in colleges or facilitating their use with external services.
  • Self-help groups for staff and learners to stop smoking or control the use of other harmful substances such as drugs or alcohol.
  • Providing a completely smoke-free environment.
  • Encouraging awareness of sexual health such as access to STD testing and awareness days.
  • Working with local Primary Care Trusts to promote AIDS awareness.
  • Secondment of sexual health advisers in larger providers.
  • Providing healthy food options such as salad bars and discouraging unhealthy food and snacks.
  • Having healthy drinks rather than carbonated sugary ones.
  • Having easy access to drinking water – some providers provide refillable drinks containers as drinking water helps learning. Arranging sports clubs, fitness facilities and subsidising use of external facilities and arranging sports tournaments with other providers.
  • Helping learners to recognise signs of personal stress and develop strategies to manage it – particularly at examination times.
  • Ensuring that staff are advised and supported in identifying and appropriately referring learners with possible physical and mental health problems.
  • Providing appropriate support for learners who are concerned about any aspect of their health or welfare.
Staying safe
  • Having policies and procedures that clearly demonstrate an ethos of zero tolerance to bullying and harassment.
  • Having clear procedures for dealing with anti-social behaviour and adequate security to prevent it.
  • Fully complying with legislation on safeguarding such as CRB checks and looking for good practice from other providers and organisations.
  • Maintaining a ‘serious incident' log.
  • Training staff to identify and manage risks especially in relation to young people who may be staying away from home.
  • Having appropriate disaster plans.
  • Continually promoting safety to both staff and learners starting from induction onwards.
  • Having a “Personal safety day” - awareness about date-rape drugs, mobile phone theft, or increased vulnerability from the effects of alcohol, drugs or substance abuse.
  • Having a child and vulnerable adult protection group includes named staff to be contacted for all incidents with annual summary reporting.
  • Maintaining accident books and reviewing incidents in order to minimise future occurrence, including the workplace or subcontractors premises.
  • Providing ‘lone worker' training for those who might be at risk.
  • Providing personal safety alarms.
  • Ensuring adequate lighting of all areas of delivery sites.
  • Carrying out adequate fire or bomb evacuation procedures.
  • Ensuring that any organised trips take account of the possibility of accidents/incidents.
  • Having community policing links/presence. Local community police holding awareness events on personal safety.
  • Making learners aware of the risks of internet grooming.
Enjoying and achieving
  • Holding at least an annual ‘celebrating success' event, with some providers doing so on a monthly basis.
  • Some providers have prestigious award presentation events in external venues with well-known personalities attending.
  • Publishing success stories as posters or as part of publicity materials/prospectuses.
  • Awarding certificates or badges/pins for milestones reached, particularly for Foundation learners
  • Supporting learners with poor behaviour and attendance.
  • Planning and monitoring learners' personal and academic development.
  • Planning effectively to meet the needs of potentially underachieving groups.
  • Displays of the work of learners on walls or exhibitions towards the end of an academic year, including art, photographic and fashion shows.
  • Having individual reward schemes for exemplary attendance and punctuality such as book or cinema tokens or presents of pieces of equipment.
  • Having an enrichment programme such as organising external speakers or trips.
Making a positive contribution
  • More experienced learners participating with newer ones in mentoring or ‘buddy' schemes, particularly in their first six to 12 weeks.
  • Taking part in schemes such as the Duke of Edinburgh awards.
  • Learners converting waste ground into a sports area, gardens or allotments.
  • Fund-raising for local charities, often with health or disability aims that learners can strongly associate with.
  • Participation in fund-raising or help for national or international charities, including hosting learners with disabilities or from poorer countries.
  • Establishing links with providers in other countries including exchange visits.
  • Providing opportunities to volunteer for work in community/charity events including working in foreign countries.
  • Taking an active part in events celebrating cultural diversity, for example, learners bring in examples of traditional food representative of different cultures.
  • Sports learners coaching youngsters in schools or within their own environment.
  • Consulting learners about key decisions that affect them and taking account of their views.
Achieving economic well-being
  • Colleges including a financial literacy module in tutorial programmes
  • Including preparation for budgeting in Entry to Employment programmes
  • Foundation learners running college catering outlets or shops selling their craft work.
  • Foundation students learning independent living skills such as time-keeping, learning to shop/budget and to travel independently.
  • Providing opportunities for work-based learning for all young people in a range of occupational areas.
  • Providing opportunities for real work-experience by developing a database of suitable employers and investing resources to improve employer engagement.
  • Developing the skills and behaviour needed for economic well-being, such as skills to ensure effective studying or working life - e.g. - financial literacy, wider key skills, punctuality or team-working opportunities
  • Young enterprise activities such as running a small business with a £100 start-up fund.
  • Design or marketing learners taking on real work for local companies such as advertising campaigns or publicity materials.
  • Running an employment service to help facilitate part-time work for learners by advertising job vacancies. One beauty provider matches part-time work to the skills levels of learners according to which NVQ units they have completed using an electronic consul that learners have ready access to.
  • Providing access to good, impartial careers and higher education advice - allowing space for external careers specialists to have a permanent presence or to facilitate their working with learners at crucial times.
  • Having an up-to-date careers and higher education resource bank available to learners.
  • Supporting learners in their applications and providing CV and interview training.
  • Providing learners who require it practical support to help them succeed in interviews, such as providing smart/business clothing.
  • Establishing links with higher education institutions to promote progression.

      Healthcheck questions

      Health check

      Are the ECM outcomes included in policies and procedures?

      Do you meet current safeguarding requirements?

      How have your learners been involved in developing policies?

      How do you ensure that staff understand their role in promoting ECM through the curriculum?

      What examples have you of targets linked to ECM outcomes?

      What examples are there of enrichment activities/enhancements to the curriculum?

      How easily accessible to learners is drinking water?

      What opportunities do learners have to stay fit and healthy?

      What opportunities do learners have to volunteer?

      What opportunities do learners have to be ‘economically' active?

      Are there mechanisms to identify and spread good practice in relation to the ECM outcomes?

      How do your quality improvement procedures evaluate the ECM outcomes?


      What could you do next to improve your provision?

      • Read inspection reports to identify what the best providers are doing in your particular type of provision or area of learning (also check other types of provision as good practice is usually transferable between inspection contexts - adult and community learning, college, DWP, work-based, etc). As well as looking at providers with ‘outstanding’ aspects or monitoring visit reports with judgements of ‘significant progress’, look at providers who are similar to yourself in terms of remit, size and what they offer – Ofsted inspection reports
      • Get a clearer and richer understanding of what you need to do to improve – Learner-centred self-assessment
      • Use downloadable quality-improvement resources to develop your staff team and to focus on actions that will help to improve your provision – Actions for quality improvement
      • Adopt or adapt the best bits of other providers’ work that inspection has identified as being particularly effective – Ofsted good practice database examples
      • Measure just how effective your initial-assessment system is and if your quality-improvement initiatives are working – Data projects
      • Develop a blueprint for initial assessment of your learners – Initial assessment and support
      • Check whether your self-assessment report is fit for purpose – Self-assessment surgery projects
      • Use the guidance developed by Ofsted to know what to expect in order to prepare for inspection, look at the Ofsted inspection handbook for your remit or the inspection toolkit – use the search box if necessary - inspection handbooks and toolkit
      • Use the Excellence Gateway as a first ‘port of call’ when researching areas that you would like to improve. As well as the Ofsted-related area, simple word searches will bring you a variety of information about what others in the learning and skills sector are doing to improve their provision. This is particularly useful for any newer areas that you may wish to research.