Following a 3-month public consultation period that got more than 15,000 responses, Ofsted has published its new Education Inspection Framework. The new framework will apply from September 2019, but what’s changed and what does this mean for schools?
“Our goal is really simple: to be a force for improvement through our inspections. We want to provide parents with the assurance they need, support teachers and leaders to excel – and help make sure all children and learners to get the education they deserve.”HM Chief Inspector Amanda Spielman
Discouraging ‘teaching to the test’
The new framework aims to re-focus inspections to make sure that learners are receiving a high-quality education that sets them off on the path to success, whatever their background. Inspectors want to see a broadening of the curriculum that moves away from an emphasis on passing tests, and instead focuses on equipping pupils with the knowledge and skills that they need for success in their future life and work. This means that Ofsted inspectors will spend less time looking at test results, and more time considering how these results have been achieved: looking to see that they’ve been reached as the result of a rich curriculum, rather than ‘teaching to the test’. Inspectors will want to go into the classroom, to talk to pupils and teachers, and to look at examples of work – rather than spending their time trawling through spreadsheets full of test data.
Recognising schools doing the best for their pupils
To help inspectors recognise schools that are doing the best for their pupils, particularly in challenging circumstances, four new key judgements will be introduced, for which schools will receive a graded judgement, in addition to their overall effectiveness grade:
- Quality of education
Inspectors will be focusing on the ‘intent’, ‘implementation’ and ‘impact’ of a school’s curriculum, which needs to be ‘broad and rich’.
‘Intent’ looks for an ambitious curriculum for all learners, that is planned and sequenced towards a cumulative acquisition of knowledge and skills for future learning. This judgement also allows for schools that want to adjust their curriculum in response to the shift in focus, during a transition period up to Summer 2020, providing leaders can demonstrate a plan and show that they are taking action to implement changes.
‘Implementation’ considers teachers’ subject knowledge, teaching practice and use of assessment.
‘Impact’ reflects on learners’ achievements, their development of skills and knowledge ( including their results in national tests and assessments, where relevant), and their readiness for the next stage in their education.
- Behaviour and attitudes
This judgement will be based on whether school leaders are creating a calm and orderly environment, with high expectations for learners’ behavior and conduct, which are applied consistently and fairly.
- Personal development
Inspectors will consider how a school builds young people’s resilience and confidence for the future, for example, through sport, music and other extra-curricular activities.
- Leadership and management
Inspectors will evaluate the extent to which leaders have an ambitious vision for providing high-quality education for every pupil. As well as a responsibility for developing their staff, leaders will be judged on how they help them manage their workload and how they’re taking into account staff well-being.
These new judgements aim to provide a structure to help inspectors recognise and encourage those schools who put every child’s interests first, and to help them crack down on negative practices, such as ‘off-rolling’ or ‘gaming’, where schools remove pupils who aren’t performing.
Reducing unnecessary workload
The new framework has an increased awareness of staff workload and wellbeing, as emphasized in the new ‘Leadership and management’ judgement. Moreover, with the new ‘curriculum impact’ aspect of the ‘Quality of education’ judgement being based on pupil achievement as assessed by external test results, rather than by a school’s own data, there is less requirement for the production of large amounts of tracking and progress data. Responsibility lies with school leaders to ensure that assessment practices and creation of learning resources are not creating ‘unnecessary burdens’ for staff.
Reports will continue to be shared with parents at the end of an inspection, but will be redesigned and shortened to ensure that they are only given the key information that they need to know, in a digestible format. The aim is to make the report more engaging for parents by offering them an insight into how it feels to be a pupil at the school.
What’s staying the same?
The current grading system of overall effectiveness as outstanding; good; requires improvement; and inadequate will remain in place. Notice of inspection will remain at half a day, but inspectors will spend more time preparing off-site and have a longer, more in-depth pre-inspection phone call with school leaders.
Want more details? You can take a look at the full Ofsted Education Inspection Framework on the gov.uk website: