Ofsted not scrapping its current grading system – Friday 22 June 2018

This week I report on the Ofsted Chief Inspector’s confirmation that the existing grades in its new inspection framework due out next year will not change, the publication of updated statutory guidance on Early Education and Childcare for next academic year and new data on the mental health of young people due to be released in October.

Ofsted Framework from September 2019
This week Ofsted’s Chief Inspector of Schools, Amanda Spielman, confirmed in her keynote speech at the Festival of Education at Wellington College, that the existing inspection grades won’t change in the new inspection framework due out next year.

Following speculation about a move to a pass/fail system, persuasive lobbying by teachers and parents has convinced Ms Spielman to continue with the current system.  School leaders had argued that scrapping the ‘outstanding grade’ would “send the wrong message about aspiration and excellence in the system”.

Early Education and Childcare Statutory Guidance
The new guidance which will come into force from 1 September 2018 and applies to the free entitlements for two, three and four year olds; securing sufficient childcare for working parents; providing information advice and assistance to parents; and providing information, advice and training to childcare providers.

It supports the introduction of 30 hours free childcare for children in foster care, and makes clear that the eligibility of children in foster care will be determined by the responsible local authority. It provides more clarity on how local authorities should pay providers, updates content on charging to ensure that the guidance aligns with current policy (set out in the early years entitlements operational guidance published in 2017), and provides guidance for local authorities when parents have applied for 30 hours before the deadline and received their eligibility code after the deadline.

Publication of new data on the mental health of young people
Schools Week has revealed that the Government will publish new data on the mental health of young people in October.   No data on the prevalence of mental health issues among children has been collected since 2004, before which it was collated on a five yearly basis by the Office of National Statistics.

Back in 2015 the former Health Minister, Norman Lamb had confirmed that he had secured funding for a new prevalence study to be published in 2017, but it was pushed back after delays and the survey will finally see the light of day in October.

Since the general election last year, the Government has introduced new plans to tackle young people’s mental health issues and proposals released in a green paper said the Government would establish “senior mental health leads” to work in schools from 2019. However, a subsequent joint report between MPs on the education and health committee was critical of the proposals, insisting they would put additional pressure on teachers without providing schools with extra resources.