This is a very brief update about my initial thoughts on the new OFSTED Framework announced on Monday and the implications for HWCS. There is still a significant amount of detail in the actual inspection framework that I intend to spend the next week or so digesting. I guess we will have to wait and see how these changes map out over the coming days and weeks but I am not sure that this new OFSTED approach and framework does provide us with ‘A New Hope’. ‘It’s helpful to remember that the OFSTED Inspection Handbook is a guide as to how to inspect a school, not a guide to how to run a school.’
Yesterday’s announcement contains the most fundamental shift in the inspection process since the inception of OFSTED and is premised on a number of key features:
There is a change in the focus of areas that schools will be judged on:
Overall effectiveness, Effectiveness of Leadership and Management, Personal development, behaviour and welfare, Quality of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and Outcomes for pupils. Greater focus on the effectiveness of safeguarding with a written judgement (not grading).
Short inspections for providers graded ‘Good’
- One day with two HMIs focusing on the impact and capacity of leadership in sustaining and continuing to provide a good quality of education.
- Emphasis on professional dialogue with leaders to evaluate the effectiveness of the school and assess leaders’ capacity to drive through improvements.
- Where the outcome of the short inspection is that the school continues to provide a good quality of education, the outcome will be an 800-word narrative reflecting the progress and strengths of the school and agreed areas for further development, as well as a judgement on safeguarding.
- Where the HMIs are unable to gather sufficient evidence that the school remains ‘good’, the short inspection can be converted to a full section 5 with a set of graded judgements (within 48 hours).
- Where there is compelling evidence of rapid improvement, the short inspection can similarly be converted to a full section 5.
- Short inspections will take place every three years for schools deemed ‘good’.
The new framework from September 2015
- The new framework builds on all the recent changes introduced in the last couple of years to successive updated handbooks.
Effectiveness of leadership and management
There is increased focus on the following:
- The impact of leadership in creating an ambitious vision and culture of high expectations.
- The accuracy of the school’s evaluation that takes account of the views of all stakeholders and is key to securing continual improvement.
- A broad and balanced curriculum including the impact of extra-curricular activities in the development of pupils.
- Leaders’ focus on improving the quality of teaching and the impact of professional development.
- Leaders’ focus on tracking the progress of groups of pupils to ensure none underachieves and the effectiveness of governors in holding leaders to account for this.
- The culture of safeguarding and the prominence of this in everyone’s day to day work.
Teaching, learning and assessment
This judgement will be primarily reached through the following:
- Inspectors’ visits lessons to validate the school’s own evaluations of the quality of teaching and learning.
- Assessing the impact teachers and support assistants are having on pupils’ progress.
- Assessing the gains in knowledge in what pupils know, understand and can do through discussions with pupils and scrutiny of their work.
- Assessing the effectiveness of feedback to pupils in enabling pupils to progress.
There is increased focus on the following:
- How information at transition points is used to meet pupils’’ needs – particularly between Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 3.
- The challenge of work given to pupils in Key Stage 3.
- Discussions with a range of staff about the quality of teaching at the school.
- Parents’ views about the quality of teaching.
- The consistency of assessment across the school.
Personal development, behaviour and welfare
Inspectors will write a separate judgement for behaviour and a separate judgement for personal development and welfare and the lower of the two will determine the overall judgement. In addition to familiar aspects in reaching a judgement on behaviour, this new judgement will focus additionally on:
- pupils ‘confidence and self-assurance as learners
- pupils commitment to their learning and their pride in their achievement
- the impact poor behaviour may have on outcomes
- the support given to pupils to enable them to make choices for the next stage of their education
- pupils’ knowledge of how to keep themselves healthy
Outcomes for pupils
- The key significant change here is that there will be more weight attached to the current progress of all groups across all subjects and all year groups and less reliance on the historic published data.
- Inspectors will continue to focus on the progress of different groups from their starting points (disadvantaged and more able in particular).
- The relevance of qualifications in enabling pupils to progress to their next stage of their education will be taken into account.
- Evidence for this judgement area will be through observations in lessons, discussion with pupils, scrutiny of pupils’ work and the rigour of the school’s own assessment data.
- Consideration will also be given to aspirational target setting and robust monitoring of pupil progress