What’s changing in the new Ofsted framework?

14 May 2019

Find out about the key changes to Ofsted’s inspection framework, which comes into force in September 2019.

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New ‘quality of education’ judgement

This judgement will have the curriculum at its heart. It replaces the ‘quality of teaching, learning and assessment’ and ‘outcomes’ judgements from the current framework.

What will inspectors look at? 

  • The extent to which your curriculum sets out the knowledge and skills pupils will gain at each stage (intent)
  • The way you teach and assess your selected curriculum, to support pupils to build their knowledge and to apply that knowledge as skills (implementation)
  • The outcomes pupils achieve as a result of the education they’ve received (impact)

See paragraph 168 of the inspection handbook for maintained schools and academies (linked above). 

Ofsted says this judgement will place more focus on the “substance of education” and less on performance data.

Separate judgements for ‘personal development’ and ‘behaviour and attitudes’

Behaviour and attitudes

Ofsted’s created a separate behaviour judgement to give parents reassurance about how well behaviour is managed in your school.

It’ll assess:

  • Whether you’re creating a safe, calm, orderly and positive environment free from bullying
  • The impact this has on the behaviour and attitudes of your pupils

See paragraphs 198 and 199 of the inspection handbook.

Personal development 

The ‘personal development’ judgement will recognise the work you do to build pupils’ resilience and confidence in later life. It’ll evaluate: 

  • Your school’s intent to provide for the personal development of pupils
  • The quality with which you implement this work

See paragraph 212.

Ofsted says separating these judgements will help enhance the inspection focus on each area and enable clearer reporting on both areas.

Section 8 inspections of ‘good’ schools to happen over 2 days

Section 8 inspections for ‘good’ schools (formerly ‘short’ inspections) will be extended to 2 days (except for the smallest schools – 150 or fewer pupils on roll). Ofsted says this is so:

  • Inspectors have enough time to gather sufficient evidence
  • Schools have the opportunity to provide evidence they believe is relevant

A section 8 inspection of a ‘good’ school will focus on particular aspects of the school’s provision (principally quality of education and safeguarding).

See part 2 of the section 8 inspection handbook.

Longer initial phone calls with the lead inspector

Ofsted inspectors will “considerably” increase the amount of time they spend speaking to school leaders during the normal pre-inspection phone call.

These phone calls will include:

  • A reflective conversation focused on the school’s progress since the last inspection
  • A shorter, inspection-planning conversation that focuses on practical and logistical issues

These conversations will likely last 90 minutes

See paragraphs 54 and 55 of the inspection handbook.

Internal performance data no longer used as inspection evidence

Inspectors won’t look at non-statutory internal progress and attainment data. This is to help make sure inspection doesn’t create unnecessary work for any school staff.

Inspectors will:

  • Gather direct evidence of quality of education in your school
  • Have meaningful discussions with you about how you know the curriculum is having an impact
  • Ask you to explain:
    • Why you’ve decided to collect the assessment information you collect
    • What you’re drawing from this information
    • How that informs your curriculum and teaching

What’s staying the same?

Speculation over the past year hinted at the possibility of some other changes. However, the outcome shows:  

  • The existing ‘overall effectiveness’ and ‘leadership and management’ judgements will remain
  • The ‘outstanding’ grade has been kept and the current 4-point grading scale will continue
  • ‘Outstanding’ schools (other than special schools, pupil referral units and maintained nursery schools) continue to be exempt from routine inspections under section 5
  • There’s no suggestion that full inspections of multi-academy trusts (MATs) will be carried out by Ofsted and no separate framework for inspections of MATs 
  • There will be no on-site preparation time for inspectors (despite initial consultation proposals)


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