The Ofsted Consultation
The consultation document proposes the following key changes to the way we inspect from September 2015.
- Proposal 1: a common inspection framework for all early years settings on the Early Years Register, maintained schools, academies, non-association independent schools and FE and skills providers. This framework will mean that the same judgements will apply in each of these remits.
- Proposal 2: introducing shorter inspections for maintained schools, academies and FE and skills providers that were judged good at their previous inspection. These short inspections, conducted approximately every three years, will report on whether or not a provider has maintained its overall effectiveness but will not provide a full set of graded judgements.
- Proposal 3: conducting a full inspection of non-association independent schools within a three-year period.
Proposal 1: A Common Inspection Framework
Proposal 1 is mainly about a tidying up and aligning of the different inspection schedules. It probably matters more to Ofsted and other providers than schools or academies. There is the retention of an ‘Overall Effectiveness’ judgement and judgements on the four areas:
- Effectiveness of leadership and management
- Quality of teaching, learning and assessment
- Personal development, behaviour and welfare
- Outcomes for children and learners.
The four point grading scale is retained.
“Under the new framework, there will be greater emphasis on: safeguarding, the suitability of the curriculum and the type and range of courses and opportunities offered by providers and preparation for life and work in Britain today, including in relation to personal development, behaviour and welfare.”
Proposal 2: Short inspections
It is proposed that from September 2015, schools, academies and FE and skills providers who were previously judged to be good will usually receive a short inspection once every three years. The exception seems to be if their performance has “dropped markedly”. The Ofsted website will have an annual school performance data dashboard. I’m assuming this will be the same as the data dashboard currently used or the revised ones proposed when the new performance measures come into place. For secondary schools the new dashboards will have a Progress 8, Attainment 8, percentage attaining English & Maths and percentage attaining the E-Bacc along with the new destinations measure (the detail of which is still to be worked out).
These short inspections will usually be carried out by one or two inspectors in a day. Inspectors will look at the school’s performance, its leadership and management, including the teaching, curriculum and ethos. If the school continues to provide a good education then it will conclude with a letter that sets out the inspection’s main findings.
The proposal has an option of recommending a full inspection if the school or academy could be graded outstanding. There is also provision for a full inspection if there are significant concerns.
In a report in the TES on the 5th October 2014, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw said:
“There’s no point in sending teams of inspectors to inspect when we have all the data and information on those schools,” he said. “We will go into good schools more regularly and have a dialogue with the heads and the teachers, but we’ll have masses of data, which will tell us about progress and outcomes and performance-related pay.”
However, potentially more interesting, he also stated,
“Where we see a steep decline, where things are really unravelling, then we’ll call for a full section 5 inspection. But if the head is aware there’s a problem and has a plan to sort it out, then it won’t go into ‘requires improvement’. There will be a lot less boom-and-bust, cliff-edge inspection.”
The full consultation document and questionnaire link is below