According to TES, school leaders are worried that the widespread practice of starting GCSE courses before Year 10 will be penalised by Ofsted under its new inspection plans.
Chief Inspector Amanda Spielman has warned that shortening key stage 3 in order to allow more time for GCSEs can narrow the curriculum.
Mr Rollett, ASCL’s inspection and accountability specialist, said Ofsted’s view that a shortened key stage 3 could narrow the curriculum has caused concern for headteachers.
“I don’t expect that Ofsted would give an automatic negative judgement for schools with shortened key stage 3 and, given the number of schools who do this, I don’t think they could.”
However, he said that the number of schools running a longer key stage 4 could now drop because of fears about what Ofsted’s new inspection framework might mean for them.
An Ofsted spokesperson said: “Ofsted does not intend to dictate the length of key stages in schools. Inspectors will be particularly alert, however, to signs of narrowing in the key stage 3 curriculums.
“If a school has shortened key stage 3, inspectors will look to see that the school has made provision to ensure that pupils still have the opportunity to study a broad range of subjects in Years 7 to 9.
“Rather, our new inspection framework will reward those schools that provide a broad and rich curriculum for their pupils at all of the key stages of primary and secondary school.”
Read more here Exclusive: Heads fear Ofsted will penalise three-year GCSEs
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