Assessing the quality of your school’s educational enrichment strategies involves working alongside other governors to collect accurate information from staff members. To help you gather valuable information that drives productive board discussions and improves educational provisions, we’ve put together some questions you may wish to pose to senior school leaders.
To help you gather valuable information that drives productive board discussions and improves educational provisions, we’ve put together some examples of questions you can pose to senior school leaders. The questions are split into six sub-categories to help you get to grips with the different aspects of educational enrichment. While some of these topics overlap, dividing the questions in this way will ensure you cover as many relevant themes as possible. We’ve also added a host of follow-up questions under main questions to help you dig down into important topics.
Before discussing enrichment
Prior to discussions around enrichment, governors should read the School Development Plan, the School Improvement Plan and curriculum map so they can understand where these topics sit within the school planning and strategy. This can help steer the line of questioning.
Providing effective challenge around enrichment does not need to be a single conversation, but can form the basis of a series of conversations with school leaders about what educational enrichment looks like in your school and the impact this has on your students.
Before a board meeting, it can be helpful to consider what the Ofsted education inspection framework ‘three I’s’ look like with regards to student enrichment.
- How will we know it is having an impact?
- What is our intention?
- What does implementation look like?
Topic area 1: Cultural capital
- Are school leaders and staff members aware of Ofsted’s inclusion of ‘cultural capital’ in their inspection framework?
If so, how are they working to fulfil this requirement? Can we see progress in the SDP? If not, how will they address this knowledge gap? Do teachers have the resources they need to understand how ‘cultural capital’ benefits students? Educators can learn more about cultural capital enrichment via our recent articles or this free resource from GovernorHub and The Key for School Governors.
- How will schools measure the impact of their cultural enrichment opportunities?
Are schools collecting feedback from pupils, parents, and teachers about the quality of cultural enrichment schemes? If so, how are they organising data collection? Have any surveys been conducted? Are student voices prioritised and accounted for?
- Is there a set budget for the purpose of building cultural capital?
If so, is it adequate? If not, why not? How are leaders ensuring sufficient funds are going towards cultural enrichment and not toward other areas of school life? How will they address any disparities?
- Could any members of the governing board help build cultural links?
Are there any governors with contacts and connections the school could use to strengthen their cultural provisions? Perhaps they work within cultural institutions themselves?
Topic area 2: Student enrichment
- Does the school have a policy for incorporating enrichment experiences into the curriculum?
If so, do they cover every year group? Are these experiences age-appropriate? How will we establish whether programmes are having an impact? What does it enrichment look like in practice?
- How do schools celebrate student successes? Do they celebrate a diverse range of skills?
How are student successes celebrated? Are there, for example, displays celebrating students’ artwork, reward assemblies, or school plays? Is every child acknowledged and included? How can schools ensure that every child is praised for getting involved and trying their best?
- Are there appropriate schemes in place for pupils interested in pursuing creative careers?
Are young people encouraged to follow their passions through careers-based arts schemes? Do children have the opportunity to indicate their desire to enter creative professions? If so, how do schools go about supporting these children and directing them towards life-changing creative programmes? Have you had conversations with the Careers Link governor about this topic? Can they offer any additional support?
Topic area 3: Cultural enrichment
- Does the school offer a broad range of culturally enriching experiences?
Are there activities to suit every student’s passion (including, for example, extracurricular music lessons, art classes, creative writing programmes, drama classes, or foreign language lessons)? If there are gaps, how will school leaders address these in cost-effective ways?
- Does the school have links with any local or national cultural organisations?
If so, are these links beneficial? What kind of programmes do they offer? Have schools considered reaching out to other organisations to improve their enrichment strategies? Are these organisations geared towards children in secondary schools environments? Are teachers supported to build links with cultural institutions? Are they empowered and given sufficient time to do so? Schools and governors will find a list of excellent organisations on our resources page.
Topic area 4: Learning outside the classroom
- What kinds of school trips take place throughout the year?
Are trips spread equally among year groups and do all children have the opportunity to attend? Are trips wide-ranging? Do they expose children to a diverse range of cultures and help them understand the world outside of school? Do children in the higher years have the opportunity to go on overnight trips.
- Are there any factors limiting schools’ ability to run field trips?
Are there funding issues? Do teachers struggle to find the time to organise trips? Are there enough staff members and helpers available to go on school trips? Are there any safeguarding concerns preventing trips from going ahead? How can school leaders address these problems? What has gone wrong in the past and how can schools learn from their mistakes?
Topic area 5: Accessibility of opportunities
- Are culturally enriching experiences such as school trips affordable and accessible for all students?
Is the school making the most of discounts offered to schools by cultural institutions? Are Pupil Premium funds going towards schemes and experiences that enrich educational experiences for underprivileged pupils? How are schools ensuring no child is excluded from school trips?
- Are all pupils able to take part in cultural opportunities, regardless of ability or special needs?
Are there any factors limiting certain students’ ability to get involved with cultural opportunities? Do staff members remember to assess organisations and programmes for accessibility before pressing ahead with their plans? Are there any schemes or initiatives available that could help children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) get involved with cultural life and develop their soft skills?
Read more about enriching education
To find out more about enriching education and helping schools deliver valuable opportunities to young people, don’t forget to engage with published and upcoming resources for our ‘All pupils, every ambition’ campaign.