Ofsted: latest updates

Updated on 21 September 2018

September 2018

18 September: “Imperative” that new framework has curriculum as central focus, says HMCI

HMCI Amanda Spielman aims for Ofsted’s new inspection framework to place “much more emphasis” on the curriculum, which she terms “the substance of education”.

She emphasised this in discussing the findings of Ofsted’s recent curriculum research, and also said:

  • The research showed there are a range of approaches to curriculum design, and beyond the national curriculum, it’s up to school leaders to decide on the content and structure of knowledge and how this is delivered
  • Ofsted is investigating how it can consistently judge schools “taking radically different approaches to the curriculum” as part of its planning for the new framework
  • Inspecting the ‘how’ as well as the ‘what’ of curriculum will be important in the new framework

12 September: Headteachers call for Ofsted to ‘pause’ framework launch

Headteachers have urged Ofsted to “pause” the launch of its new inspection framework, citing concerns about the additional teacher workload it could bring. Tes (free sign up required)

7 September: MPs call for review of short inspection model

Ofsted’s short inspections don’t give inspectors enough time to “make a meaningful assessment of a school’s performance”, according to a new report from the public accounts committee.

It recommended that Ofsted and the DfE evaluate the costs and benefits of other options, such as undertaking more full inspections.

August 2018

20 August: New inspection report website to go live in September

Ofsted’s developed a new website for its inspection reports. It says the website:

  • Uses up-to-date technology
  • Is simpler to access on non-desktop devices
  • Makes it easier for you to find information, with more streamlined content

The new website will be fully live from the beginning of September, and the old website will be switched off.

20 August: Ofsted publishes findings of annual teachers survey 

54% of teachers belive Ofsted inspecting their school will mean a huge amount of unnecessary extra work, according to the findings of Ofsted’s 2018 teachers survey.

Other findings included:

  • Eight in 10 teachers:
    • Correctly identified that it was false that ‘as part of an inspection, Ofsted inspectors grade individual lessons’
    • Correctly think Ofsted does not require teachers to provide individual lesson plans for inspectors
  • Seven out of 10 teachers feel they had no or little opportunity to feed their views and contribute to the whole experience of their school being inspected
  • 62% of teachers whose school has been inspected by Ofsted feel the final judgement reached by the inspection team was a fair and accurate assessment, an increase of 5% since 2017
  • 21% of teachers have seen ‘off-rolling’ happen (a practice where pupils are excluded as a means of improving overall results).

15 August: New “quality of education” measure for 2019?

Ofsted is planning to combine the current teaching, learning and assessment rating with the pupil outcomes grade to create a new “quality of education” measure in its 2019 inspection framework, according to Tes.

July 2018

17 July: Updated School Inspection Handbook published 

Ofsted’s made some minor changes to its  School Inspection Handbook, which include:

  • Further clarification on the inspection of religious education and collective worship added to the annex
  • More points added to its clarification for schools about what inspectors look at (these points are also covered in its updated mythbusting guidance)
  • Further explanation about the implications for schools causing concern

Read more about these changes.

9 July: HMCI discusses promotion of British values

HMCI Amanda Spielman addressed teachers’ uncertainty about how schools are expected to teach British values. She said that in her view, teachers are expected to give children a “proper understanding” of:

  • British values
  • What these values have contributed (and continue to contribute) to the strength and success of British society

In her speech to the Policy Exchange think tank, she also:

  • Rejected the suggestion that Ofsted has “an anti-faith school bias”
  • Expressed hope that Ofsted’s renewed focus on curriculum will encourage schools to think more about what they’re teaching and what they aim to get from that teaching

5 July: “No major changes” to inspection handbooks for September 2018

Sean Harford has revealed that Ofsted’s section 5 and section 8 inspection handbooks, which cover full and short inspections respectively, will not have major changes for September 2018.

He explains this in his message to inspectors in the July 2018 school inspection update, and says that this is in view of Ofsted’s revised framework for 2019 (page 2).

The inspection update also sets out guidance on what inspectors should be looking at regarding the English Baccalaureate (EBacc) in schools (pages 5-7). It says that from September 2018 onwards, inspectors must ask school leaders:

  • Whether they are aware of the government’s ambition for the vast majority of pupils to study the EBacc
  • What they are planning and doing to reflect the EBacc subjects and ambition in their curriculum

However, inspectors won’t expect school leaders to:

  • Have developed or to present separate plans about the EBacc
  • Provide additional information outside of their normal curriculum planning

4 July: Ofsted trials new approach for inspections of MAT schools

Read about how Ofsted is revising its current practice for the inspection of schools in MATs, and how it hopes to improve the inspection experience for MAT leaders and their academies through a new approach it’s trialling this term.

HMCI Amanda Spielman revealed this in a speech at the Education Policy Institute conference. She’s also indicated that for its 2019 framework, Ofsted is considering how it can “take the inspection conversation even further on education itself and less on data”.

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