The new iteration of Ofsted’s Education Inspection Framework, which will take effect from September 2019, has been published today (14 May). It was the largest consultation undertaken by Ofsted with over 15,000 submissions, and school governors and trustees made up the third largest group of respondents. NGA submitted a response on behalf members in March, a round-up of which can be accessed in the latest edition of Governing Matters magazine.

The key changes outlines in the new Framework include:

  • A single ‘quality of education’ judgement will replace the existing ‘quality of teaching, learning and assessment’ and ‘outcomes for pupils’ categories. Inspectors will consider whether the school offers a “broad and rich learning experience” which gives all learners – particularly the most disadvantaged or those with special educational needs and /or disabilities (SEND) – access to the knowledge and cultural capital they need to fulfil their potential.  Pupil attainment will be assessed in the context of the school and inspectors will also consider whether schools are narrowing the curriculum or ‘teaching to the test’.
  • The current judgement for ‘personal development, behaviour and welfare’ will be split in to two separate categories – ‘behaviour and attitudes’ and ‘personal development’. Inspectors will consider how the school sets high expectations for learners’ behaviour and conduct, including how bullying is managed.
  • To allow inspectors’ sufficient time to gather evidence during section 8 inspections (currently a one day ‘short’ inspection of good and non-exempt outstanding schools), the time inspectors’ spend on site will be extended to two days for the majority of schools, apart from small schools (150 pupils of fewer on roll) where inspection will remain at one day.
  • Inspectors will not use internal data as evidence during inspection. Following feedback about the potential negative consequences of not considering internal information, Ofsted have clarified that inspectors “will be interested in the conclusions drawn and actions taken from any internal assessment information, but they will not examine or verify that information first hand”. National performance data will be continue to be used as a starting point on inspection.
  • The proposal to carry out preparation onsite on the afternoon prior to the inspection visit has been scrapped following negative feedback. Ofsted will instead enhance inspectors’ off-site preparation and contact with the school by introducing “a 90-minute phone call between the lead inspector and the headteacher (or their nominated delegate) on the afternoon before inspection begins.”

Commenting on the new framework, Emma Knights, chief executive of the NGA said:

“The new framework is a step in the right direction in ensuring that Ofsted’s approach focuses on what is most valuable about the quality of the education offer. Ensuring a broad and balanced curriculum offer is a key duty of the governing board and we are pleased that the new framework reflects the importance of delivering a well-planned curriculum which prepares all young people for adult life, not just passing the test. Governing boards will look over the changes carefully and NGA will support them with updated guidance in the coming weeks. Ofsted’s thoughtful consideration of feedback from governing boards has led to changes in the new Framework, particularly around section 8 inspections in smaller schools, the prospect of perceived ‘no notice’ inspections and the significance of internal data to effective governance practice. Thank you to the hundreds of dedicated governors and trustees who shared their insights and knowledge with NGA and Ofsted during the consultation period, proving time and time again your commitment to improving the quality of education for all children and young people.”

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