New Ofsted Inspection Framework is published – Friday 17 May 2019

This week I report on the publication of the new Ofsted Inspection Framework that comes into force in September this year and changes to assessment in primary schools with the introduction of the new Reception Baseline Assessment from September 2020.

Changes to Ofsted Inspections from September 2019
This week Ofsted published the finalised version of its new inspection framework, which will govern school inspections from this September. The key changes from the draft version are as follows:

  • On-site preparation plans have been scrapped – Ofsted had proposed that the lead inspector would arrive the afternoon before an inspection to do their preparation on-site. This has been replaced with a 90-minute phone call between the lead inspector and headteacher the day before an inspection begins.
  • ‘Good’ small schools avoid two-day inspections – plans to increase the length of time inspectors spend in previously ‘good’-rated schools will go ahead, however ‘good’ or non-exempt schools with 150 or fewer pupils on roll will continue to receive a one-day inspection.
  • Schools will get time to shake up their curriculums – Ofsted’s new “quality of education” judgement will be implemented as planned but it’s proposing to phase in part of the new framework which looks at the “intent” of schools’ curriculums. The transitional phase will be reviewed in the summer of 2020.
  • Separate judgements for ‘behaviour and attitudes’ and ‘personal development – clarifying amendments have been made to the ‘behaviour and attitudes’ grade criteria to better reflect the realities of providers working in challenging circumstances. The absence of bullying is no longer focused on instead, emphasis is now placed on whether or not providers tolerate bullying and how swiftly and effectively they take action if issues occur. Changes have been made to the ‘personal development’ grade criteria to allow inspectors to properly recognise the importance of high-quality pastoral support.
  • Headteachers use of internal data will not be assessed – inspectors will not look at schools’ internal data during inspections and has made some amendments and clarification to its inspection handbook “to try to ease concerns” raised by those who objected. The clarification recognises that school leaders draw on “a variety of sources when considering pupil performance, including internal assessment information”. It explains that inspectors will consider “the actions taken by schools in response to whatever internal assessment information they have”. Inspectors will review the impact of those actions without reviewing the assessment information itself.
  • Up-to-date private school judgements delayed to 2020 – Ofsted will issue up-to-date judgements following emergency “additional inspections” of the private schools it inspects, but this will not commence until September 2020.

Changes to assessment in primary schools

All state-funded primary schools with a reception cohort will need to carry out the Reception Baseline Assessment (RBA) scheduled for introduction in September 2020. This year over 9,600 schools are participating in the RBA pilot in autumn 2019. Schools will no longer have to carry out Key Stage 1 assessments from September 2022, following the scheduled statutory introduction of the RBA.

The RBA is a short assessment carried out by a teacher in the first 6 weeks of reception. Teaching assistants and other qualified school staff, such as early years leads and special educational needs co-ordinators, can also carry out the assessment with individual pupils.

It is similar to the on-entry checks that many schools already conduct when children start school. The RBA takes about 20 minutes per child and is not a timed assessment. It is an assessment of a child’s early language, communication, literacy and mathematics. Children will provide answers by speaking, pointing or moving objects. The teacher inputs yes or no answers onto an online system for each task.

Teachers will receive a series of short, narrative statements that will tell them how the children performed in the assessment. The DfE will collect the data from the assessments to create school-level progress measures for primary schools, showing the progress schools make with their pupils from reception to the end of Year 6. The DfE will use the data at the end of Year 6 to measure pupils’ progress from reception to the end of Key Stage 2. The RBA will not be used to track individual pupils or as a performance measure for early years providers.

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