Friday Update – 26 June 2015

This week I provide a summary of the changes to Ofsted Inspection from September and the Government’s response to the Education Select Committee Report on Extremism in Schools.

Following its consultation earlier this year, Ofsted has released its new inspection handbook and framework which will come into effect from September. The significant changes are:

  • A Common inspection framework: aligning inspection across early years settings, maintained schools and academies, non-association independent schools and further education and skills providers. While each remit will continue to have an individual inspection handbook which applies the principles of the common framework, the change is designed to provide consistency and comparability across Ofsted’s education inspections.
  • Short inspections for ‘good’ schools: from September, schools that were judged ‘good’ at their most recent inspection will receive a short inspection approximately every 3 years. Inspectors carrying out short inspections will start from the assumption that the school remains good, and will only make judgements on whether this is the case and whether safeguarding is effective. Where the inspectors believe the school may no longer be ‘good’ (either due to improvement or decline), these will be converted into full inspections.
  • Changes to the inspector workforce: Ofsted will contract directly with inspectors (rather than outsourcing) and bring training and quality assurance in-house. The majority of Ofsted Inspectors will be current leaders of ‘good’ and ‘outstanding’ education providers.

Outstanding schools will continue to be exempt from routine inspection, but Ofsted will retain the power to inspect if performance drops or other concerns are raised. The exemption from routine inspection does not apply to ‘outstanding’ Special schools, PRUs and maintained Nursery schools. However, under the new CIF, these settings will have the short inspection if they have been rated ‘outstanding’ or ‘good’.

Key judgements
Ofsted will make graded judgements in the following areas:

  • Overall effectiveness;
  • Effectiveness of leadership and management;
  • Quality of teaching, learning and assessment;
  • Personal development, behaviour and welfare;
  • Outcomes for children and learners;
  • The effectiveness of Early Years and Sixth form provision, where applicable.

Ofsted will report on the curriculum under the judgement of leadership and management.

Inspection of governance
In the new inspection handbook, governance will still be evaluated as part of ‘leadership and management’ and inspectors will consider:

  • The leaders’ and governors’ vision and ambition for the school and how these are communicated to staff, parents and pupils;
  • The effectiveness of governors in discharging their core statutory functions.

Ofsted has produced a short guide to the new framework which you might find useful.

Today the Government published its response to the Education Select Committee’s Report on Extremism in Schools. It acknowledged that the risk of young people being radicalised or drawn into terrorism has risen. ISIL and others were using social media to radicalise and recruit young people, and young people formed a growing proportion of those travelling to Syria and Iraq.

It states schools have a vital role to play in protecting pupils from the risks of extremism and radicalisation, underpinned by the new duty in the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 “to have due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism”, which comes into force on 1 July. This reinforces the safeguarding role that schools already play in this area. Schools should also prepare young people for life in modern Britain. At the heart of this is their responsibility to promote the fundamental values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs.

To help address the problems that emerged in Birmingham schools a new national database of school governors will be created requiring schools to publish the identities of their governors. Requirements on all state funded schools through both statutory guidance and the Academies Financial Handbook will be strengthened and schools will have to publish details of their governors and where they serve on governing bodies of schools elsewhere, to increase transparency to parents and wider communities and enable more effective oversight.