In this blog we'll be looking at some of the details around the Ofsted Inspection Framework and how it relates on school website requirements. On the 16th January 2019, Ofsted published their new draft inspection framework along with supporting documents, including inspection handbooks. Currently the framework is in draft with no changes taking effect until September 2019. Ofsted are currently taking feedback on the draft until April 5th. Anyone is free to provide feedback to Ofsted either by email, in writing, or via an online questionnaire.
One of the key statements that Ofsted are keen to emphasise is that “…this will be the most evidence-based, researched and transparent framework in our history.” By way of support of this statement, they have also published a document which identifies the research evidence underpinning the new proposed education inspection framework.
Throughout the framework some key themes emerge: reducing teachers workload, emphasis on good character and resilience among pupils, tackling off-rolling and a broad, well-balanced, knowledge-rich curriculum. Along with these key themes there are some other key information to be aware of.
- Change in timings.
- Gradings will stay the same.
- Judgement categories revised.
- Data will not be completely ignored by Inspectors, but will look at how it is used internally.
Amanda Spielman said "Two words sum up my ambition for the framework and which underlie everything we have published today: substance and integrity".
Timings - when will an inspection take place?
The handbook states:
- Inspections can take place at any point from 5 school days after the first day pupils attend that term.
- A Section 8 'short inspection' is proposed to be lengthened to 2 days rather than 1 to ensure 'good' schools are 'good'.
- Ofsted could arrive within 2.5 hours. They will contact school by 10am via telephone and will arrive at 12.30pm the day before the inspection is due to take place.
- On the afternoon prior to inspection, the lead inspector will have an on-site conversation with school leaders and will complete certain preparations on-site. They must leave by 5pm.
It also clarifies that Ofsted may conduct inspections without notice. When this happens, the lead inspector "will normally telephone the school about 15 minutes before arriving on site".
You will notice that the judgement categories have changed. Based on the experience of inspections and research, Ofsted are keen to make schools aware that the framework is about evolution not revolution. The new 'Quality of Education' category combines 'Teaching, Learning and Assessment' and 'Outcomes'. 'Behaviour and Attitudes' and 'Personal Development' replaces 'Personal Development, Behaviour and Welfare' as two new categories. Remaining unchanged is 'Leadership and Management' . Encompassing all of the four categories is 'Overall Effectiveness'.
Displaying your curriculum content is already a website requirement. However, the curriculum will be at the heart of the new framework. Unfortunately an industry has arisen around data and many teachers have become data managers rather than what they went into the job to do - teach. What children and young people learn has often come second to that of performance table data. This in turn leads to unnecessary workload for teachers. Teaching to the test and narrowing have also become a factor for disadvantaged pupils and the least able. Ofsted are to stop making judgements about pupil outcomes and include this area in the bigger picture of the quality of education that pupils receive. Hence the change in this judgement category.
Curriculum leadership and how this is implemented across school will be a primary focus for Inspectors. The framework states that pupils should be delivered a curriculum that enables them to achieve highly and that will give them knowledge and skills to use in later life.
So what next?
- Tailor the curriculum to your school. It would be good practice to show this on your website either through a curriculum map or an explanation of how you deliver the curriculum in your setting. Ofsted inspections haven’t “placed enough emphasis on the curriculum” according to Amanda Spielman.
- Take time to read the framework especially if your area of responsibility is curriculum design or development.
- Ofsted "expects heads" to have "strong policies that support staff in tackling poor behaviour".
- Review your behaviour policy and update on your website.
- Offer a wide range of extra-curricular opportunities that enhance pupils' cultural development, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds.
- Evidence this through a page on your website.
- Ofsted are to retain their focus on safeguarding - keep policies up to date!
It is clear that Ofsted are keen to bring "the inspection conversation back to the substance of young people’s learning and treating teachers like the experts in their field, not just data managers.”