Chief Inspector sets out vision for new Education Inspection Framework

Published
18th October 2018
Written by
Energise Me

Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector, Amanda Spielman announced details of planned changes to the way Ofsted inspects schools, colleges, further education institutions and early years settings from September 2019. These changes will move Ofsted’s focus away from headline data to look instead at how schools are achieving these results, and whether they are offering a curriculum that is broad, rich and deep, or simply teaching to the test.

Ms Spielman said:

“For a long time, our inspections have looked hardest at outcomes, placing too much weight on test and exam results when we consider the overall effectiveness of schools. The cumulative impact of performance tables and inspections, and the consequences that are hung on them, has increased the pressure on school leaders, teachers and indirectly on pupils to deliver perfect data above all else.

But we know that focusing too narrowly on test and exam results can often leave little time or energy for hard thinking about the curriculum, and in fact can sometimes end up making a casualty of it. The bottom line is that we must make sure that we, as an inspectorate, complement rather than intensify performance data.

Because our curriculum research, and a vast amount of sector feedback, have told us that a focus on performance data is coming at the expense of what is taught in schools. Our new focus will change that, bringing the inspection conversation back to the substance of young people’s learning and treating teachers as experts in their field, not just data managers. I don’t know a single teacher who went into teaching to get the perfect progress eight score. They go into it because they love what they teach and want children to love it too. That is where the inspection conversation should start and with the new framework we have an opportunity to do just that.”

Ms Spielman announced that Ofsted will consult on the introduction of a new judgement for ‘quality of education’. This will replace the current ‘outcomes for pupils’ and ‘teaching, learning and assessment’ judgements with a broader, single judgement.

This new judgement will allow Ofsted to recognise primary schools that, for example, prioritise phonics and the transition into early reading, and which encourage older pupils to read widely and deeply. And it will make it easier for secondary schools to do the right thing, offering children a broad range of subjects and encouraging the take up of core EBacc subjects at GCSE, such as the humanities and languages, alongside the arts and creative subjects.

At the same time, Ofsted will challenge those schools where too much time is spent on preparation for tests at the expense of teaching, where pupils’ choices are narrowed, or where children are pushed into less rigorous qualifications purely to boost league table positions.

 

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