Ofsted consultation on short term inspections – Friday 29 September 2017

This week I report on Ofsted’s consultation on short inspections, the publication of its new 5 year corporate strategy and re-examination of the validity of its lesson observations; the publication of KS1 and Phonics Screening Check data and Governors responsibilities under the new General Data Protection Regulation.

Ofsted consults on short term inspections and publishes its new 5 year corporate strategy
Ofsted has launched a second consultation on short inspections which is “aimed at bringing greater clarity” to the process. Currently, during a short inspection, the lead inspector can call for a full inspection where they feel a school may not retain its ‘good’ rating, or where it could improve to ‘outstanding’ – the full inspection is normally conducted within 48 hours.  The proposals set out in the new consultation are that:

  • where short inspections pick up serious concerns, they will continue to convert to full inspections within 48 hours.
  • where, following a short inspection, inspectors are not confident that the school remains ‘good’ but “the standard of education remains acceptable, and there are no concerns about safeguarding or behaviour”, the inspection will not convert. The school will receive a letter setting out the inspection findings and a full inspection will take place within 1 to 2 years. It will remain a ‘good’ school.
  • where, following a short inspection, inspectors believe the school may be ‘outstanding’, the inspection will not convert. As above, the inspection findings will be set out in a letter, the school will remain ‘good’, and a full inspection will take place within 1 to 2 years.

Ofsted is also bringing back its “state-of-the-nation” reports and will inspect more ‘outstanding’ schools, according to a new corporate strategy released today on its 25th anniversary. In its new five year corporate strategy that will run until 2022, the inspectorate says it will publish more “national survey reports and research” that “aggregate the insights from inspections”.

Ofsted is looking to re-examine the validity of its lesson observations and is holding an international seminar at the start of November, bringing together experts in lesson observation from around the world. Ofsted will then look at the different systems being used, and debate which is the most valid, and how it might incorporate these systems into what it does.

Publication of Key Stage 1 and Phonics Screening Check data
Figures published yesterday indicated that 81% of pupils had met the expected standard at the end of Year 1 in 2017 – up from 58% in 2012. Those who did not reach the standard in Year 1 took the Phonics Check again in Year 2, with 92% of seven year olds then reaching the standard.

Alongside the results of the Phonics Screening Check, the DfE also published national data for Key Stage 1 (KS1), showing that the proportion of 7 year olds reaching the expected standard has increased across reading, writing and maths. This year, 76% of pupils reached the KS1 expected standard in reading, 68% of pupils in writing and 75% of pupils in maths.

Impact of the General Data Protection Regulation
From 25 May 2018, the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) will be replaced by the new more stringent General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). All governing bodies need to be aware of their obligations under the new regulation and will be required to show compliance with the GDPR. The key changes introduced by the GDPR include the following:

  • It will be mandatory for schools to appoint a designated Data Protection Officer.
  • Non-compliance will see tough penalties; school will face fines of up to £20 million or 4% of their turnover.
  • It is the school’s responsibility to ensure 3rd parties (i.e. catering services, software providers etc) that process data for them also comply with GDPR.

The GDPR is intended to strengthen and unify the safety and security of all data held by all types of organisations. The Information Commissioner’s Office has published a 12-step checklist to help prepare for the changes. In addition, the Local Authority’s Information Governance Team has introduced a Service Level Agreement that schools can purchase to assist them in implementing GDPR.