A view from the board: Ofsted’s new Education Inspection Framework

Ofsted research report front coverThis NGA study looks at the experiences and feedback from governors and trustees whose schools have recently undergone an Ofsted inspection to help identify the role governance plays and should play in the inspection process. Ofsted has a powerful sway over schools; what it says is listened to exceptionally closely and its influence over the direction of policy in the school sector is unique.

That unprecedented level of influence provides Ofsted with the ability to lead sector wide discussions on what is considered as important. Its messages can have a deep and lasting impact on the education offered to pupils, the livelihoods and wellbeing of school leaders and staff and in setting the agendas and decision-making topics for governing boards across the country.

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To support these findings and gain insight into how the new Education Inspection Framework (EIF) is engaging with governance on a larger scale, 844 Ofsted inspection reports released between September 2019 and January 2020 have been analysed as part of this work.

Sam Henson, director of policy and information at the National Governance Association comments: “On the whole the new framework has been positively received by those governing, but its potential in recognising the role of  governance and contributing to its improvement is limited by a lack of consistency and usefulness – both in the inspection process and report. Despite reassurances that changes to the inspection report would not reduce emphasis on governance, our evidence points to the contrary. Since the launch of our Visible Governance campaign, which has been warmly welcomed by the governance community, we are concerned that the new EIF has rendered governance less visible with the new process, albeit unintentionally. This can be rectified, and we are grateful to have a constructive and ongoing dialogue with Ofsted about how improvements which will benefit those governing and other stakeholders can be made. NGA has been keen to stress the key role governing boards need to play both in ensuring a broad and balanced curriculum and the inspection process itself.”

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