The Tes reports that this morning, Ofsted chief inspector Amanda Spielman appeared in front of MPs at the education select committee. Here’s what we learned from her appearance:
- She is uncertain whether the “outstanding” grade should stay or go
In response to questions pointing out that headteachers and schools do not find the grade useful, Ofsted chief inspector Amanda Spielman said: “I’m in the same situation, of having some level of discomfort. Because the noise from the sector is clear, but the noise from parents is very different… I don’t have an easy answer.”
- She does not think that early years settings – even the ones rated “good” or “outstanding” – necessarily prepare children well for primary school
Asked why 93 per cent of early years settings are now rated “good” or “outstanding”, while huge gaps in outcomes remain, Ms Spielman said: “Our view is that the looking-after-children side of things is very good. The education side is not so good.
“Full compliance with the [early-years foundation stage] framework still doesn’t mean that children are well-prepared for primary school. We’ll be reporting on that soon, and hope that will lead to improvement on the education side.
- She will continue demanding the right to inspect multi-academy trusts, even if the education secretary denies Ofsted permission to do this
It is, she said, about “making sure that the accountability that we have fits how the sector actually operates, not how it did 25 years ago. The same is true with early years, where you see more and more chains… There are various places where children become units in a contract, rather than children”.
- She wants Ofsted to inspect more alternative providers
Ms Spielman says the watchdog should have new legal powers to inspect unregistered alternative providers, about which there is “great concern”.
Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin
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