Need to know: Where are Ofsted’s school inspection changes heading?

Consultation on the new Ofsted inspection framework closes on Friday, with more than 5,000 responses having been sent in so far. Tes reports.

The changes being proposed could alter the notice period, timing and nature of school inspection.

Ofsted is looking to promote the importance of curriculum through a new quality of education grade, which will replace pupils’ outcomes and teaching and learning as separate inspection judgements.

The inspectorate has said that its plans have been very well received across the education sector – although critics have included the NAHT heads’ unionthe Headteachers’ Roundtable and the WorthLess? campaign.

The idea of refocusing inspection away from just raw exam scores and towards what Ofsted describes as the real substance of education has beenlargely well received by the profession – even if there are concerns about how the inspectorate will assess the curriculum. 

A change to inspection categories – replacing pupil outcomes and teaching and learning with a quality of education grade – with a greater focus on curriculum is Ofsted’s big idea. And it is odds-on to be a reality in schools from September.

One of the most unpopular ideas in the consultation has been for Ofsted to arrive at a morning’s notice to begin on-site preparation. The inspectorate has been keen to stress that this would not be the start of inspection. It is also proposing to make the process less data-driven by allowing a conversation between lead inspector and school leaders.

Two other proposed changes in the new framework have led to some concerns during the consultation.

The first is that Ofsted will extend the length of section 8 inspections of “good” schools to two days in order to allow inspectors more time.

Last month Ofsted’s national director of education, Sean Harford,acknowledged that a two-day inspection of a small primary school could be “overkill”.

Read the full article Need to know: Where are Ofsted’s school inspection changes heading?

Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter – Tamsin

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