Friday Update – 11 July 2014

This week we highlight great news about the North East LEP and Schools Challenge, the changes to Ofsted from September and a briefing note from Ofsted about life after assessment levels.

North East LEP and Schools Challenge

On Monday, the announcement of the North East LEP growth deal brought the Challenge a step closer to becoming a reality.  The Growth Deal includes a commitment from Government to work with partners in the region on the development of the challenge and activities to strengthen careers education and business engagement with schools.  The North East LEP was handed the third highest allocation of funding nationally with a £290m investment, supporting projects set out in the NE LEP’s North East Strategic Economic Plan ‘More and Better Jobs’.

Ofsted letter and note to inspectors

Sir Michael Wilshaw, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Schools, has written to Headteachers about changes to inspections from September this year.  Major shifts include a separate judgement for early years and sixth form, and the removal of National Curriculum levels.

The letter says that inspectors will:

  • spend more time looking at pupils’ work to consider how much progress they are making in different areas of the curriculum;
  • talk to school leaders about the school’s use of formative and summative assessment and how this improves teaching and raises achievement;
  • evaluate how well the pupils are doing against age-related expectations, as set out by the school and the National Curriculum (where this applies);
  • consider how the school uses assessment information to identify pupils who are falling behind in their learning or who need additional support to reach their full potential, including those who are the most able;
  • assess whether reports help parents to understand how their children are doing in relation to the standards expected.

While no notice inspections are still being considered, Michael Wilshaw is broadening the criteria which determine whether an unannounced inspection is required. For example, concerns about standards of leadership and management and/or concerns about the breadth and balance of the curriculum.

Assessing without levels

A briefing note for Ofsted’s inspectors has been released detailing what they should expect from schools before, during and after changes to the national curriculum assessment criteria. It says:

  • Inspectors may find that schools are tracking attainment and progress using a mixture of measures for some, or all, year groups and subjects;
  • Inspectors will not expect to see a particular assessment system in place and will recognise that schools are still working towards full implementation of their preferred approach;
  • In evaluating the accuracy of assessment, inspectors will usually consider how well governors assure themselves of the rigour of the assessment process.