Ofsted confirmation of changes to short inspections – Friday 8 December 2017

This week Ofsted confirmed changes to short inspections, the Government’s new Careers Strategy was launched, the green paper on children and young people’s mental health provision was published and consultations on eligibility for the free early years entitlement for 2 year olds under Universal Credit and Early Education and Childcare Workforce Level 2 qualifications opened.

Ofsted confirms changes to short inspections following consultation
Ofsted will go ahead with plans to change the way it carries out short inspections of good-rated schools from next month. Under the new plans inspectors will continue to convert short inspections into full inspections, usually within 48 hours, if they have serious concerns about safeguarding, behaviour or the quality of education provided.

However, if there are no “significant issues” with safeguarding or behaviour, but inspectors have concerns about the quality of education, leadership or management, instead of converting the inspection Ofsted will publish a letter outlining areas for improvement.  A full inspection will then take place within one to two years, to give the school time to address weaknesses. In the meantime, Ofsted’s letter will make it clear that the school’s overall rating has not changed.

If inspectors believe a school is moving towards an outstanding judgement, Ofsted will publish a letter confirming the school is still good and setting out how it can improve. A full inspection will then take place in one to two years, but these schools can apply for an early inspection.

Ofsted ran its consultation after receiving feedback that short inspections that immediately convert to full inspections were challenging for schools and inspectors.

New national Careers Strategy
Earlier this week the Skills Minister Anne Milton launched the long-awaited Careers Strategy which sets out how the Government intends to improve careers advice and guidance across the education system. With detailed plans to the end of 2020 the key actions by September next year are as follows:

By January 2018

  • Schools and colleges should use the Gatsby Benchmarks to improve careers provision, as set out in new statutory guidance.
  • Schools must give providers of technical education and apprenticeships the opportunity to talk to all pupils.
  • Ofsted must comment in college inspection reports on the careers guidance provided to young people.

By September 2018

  • The Careers Employment Company (CEC) will launch a new investment fund of £5 million to support the most disadvantaged pupils.
  • Schools and colleges are expected to publish details of their careers programme for young people and their parents.
  • Job specification and standards for Careers Leaders developed and started to be used by schools and colleges.
  • A named Careers Leader should lead the careers programme in every school and college.
  • The CEC will begin to take on a broader role across all the Gatsby Benchmarks.
  • 20 “careers hubs” will be funded by Government and supported by a coordinator from the CEC.
  • Government sponsors two UK Career Development Awards for 2018.

Children and Young People’s Mental Health Provision Green Paper
The Government is asking people for their views on a green paper setting out measures to improve mental health support for children and young people. The proposals include:

  • every school and college encouraged to appoint a designated lead for mental health;
  • creating a new mental health workforce of community-based mental health support teams;
  • a new 4-week waiting time for NHS children and young people’s mental health services to be piloted in some areas.

Consultation on eligibility for the free early years entitlement for two-year-olds under Universal Credit 
On Monday the Government launched a consultation inviting views on its proposed approach to setting eligibility for the free early education entitlement for two-year-olds under Universal Credit.  The consultation seeks views on the level at which to set a net earned income threshold under Universal Credit and explains the general principles the Government has taken into account in considering changes to the eligibility criteria in light of the introduction of Universal Credit and its plans for communicating these changes to parents, early years providers and local authorities, and the steps it will take to support their implementation.

Early education and childcare workforce level 2 qualifications consultation
The Government has also launched a 12 week consultation seeking views on the proposed early years assistant (level 2) criteria and their suitability for qualifications in early education and childcare.