Latest DfE and Ofsted updates – Friday 8 November 2019

This week I highlight the latest Governance update from the DfE, information from Ofsted on minor changes to Section 5 and 8 handbooks, publication of a non-statutory Character Education Framework and new School Security guidance to help schools to produce a security policy and plan.

Latest DfE Governance update
In September the DfE launched its new monthly Governance update designed to support those involved in the work of governing schools. The November edition has been published this week and provides information on:

  • A new DfE Governance research project – the National Foundation for Educational Research has been commissioned to conduct a research project to look in greater depth at governance practice and the challenges faced in the governance sector.
  • A funding fact sheet for governors/trustees – funding for each local authority will be updated in December with the latest pupil numbers. Pupil premium guidance has been updated and new templates provided to help schools plan how best to use it to support the children who most need it.
  • Financial planning training – a fully funded short course on integrated curriculum and financial planning (ICFP) available for all school business professionals and school leaders, including governors.
  • Teacher retention and retention strategy – the workload reduction toolkit has been updated with a section specifically for governors, a video on recruitment and retention, and flexible working resources, including case studies.
  • Career guidance for young people – the Careers and Guidance Company’s Guide for Governors provides information for governing bodies on their responsibility to provide clear advice and guidance to help schools meet their statutory requirements on providing career guidance.

Ofsted Inspection update
The November edition from Ofsted is the first since the roll out of the Education Inspection Framework (EIF) and focuses on minor changes to Section 5 and 8 handbooks following the first two months under the EIF. Changes of particular note include:

Section 5 Handbook
*Para 110 – only if appropriate will the report contain a separate paragraph that addresses the governance of the school.
*Para 118 – at the final feedback meeting for maintained schools, the chair of the school’s governing body, as many governors as possible and the clerk of governors, or their delegate, may also attend to take notes.
*Para 119 – at the final feedback meeting the lead inspector will ensure that the headteacher, those responsible for governance and all attendees are clear about the key findings from the inspection as summarised in the final summary evaluation card. Also if the school is being placed in a category of concern then the Headteacher and those responsible for governance may make comments both on the judgements and on factual accuracy in the draft report during quality assurance.
*Grade Descriptors – Para 223 regarding an Inadequate judgement – removal of the word ‘celebrate’ in relation to accepting and respecting diversity. Para 228 regarding a Good judgement – removal of the description of fundamental British values – replaced with ‘The school promotes equality of opportunity and diversity effectively. As a result, pupils understand, appreciate and respect difference in the world and its people, celebrating the things we share in common across cultural, religious, ethnic and socioeconomic communities.’

Section 8 Handbook
*Para 24 – the clerk of governors or their delegate may also attend final feedback meetings for maintained schools to take notes.
*Para 53 – inspectors will always carry out a deep dive in reading; they may choose to carry out a deep dive in mathematics, but this is at the lead inspector’s discretion.’
*Para 79 – the school will now receive a report not a letter setting out what the school is doing well and what it needs to improve.
*Para 122 – removal of a potential section 5 re-inspection within 30 months after the publication of the previous section 5 report.

Publication of Character Education Framework
New non statutory guidance for school leaders and teachers considering the rationale for character education and personal development, and the practicalities of provision and delivery. The guidance will support schools as they consider:

  • the 2019 Ofsted inspection framework
  • the social, moral, cultural and spiritual development of pupils
  • preparations for the introduction of ‘Relationships education’ and ‘Health education’ in primary schools, and ‘Relationships, sex and health education’ in secondary schools

The guidance provides schools with 6 benchmarking questions to support reflection and the self-evaluation of current provision.

School Security draft guidance
In November 2018 the DfE published a consultation on proposed new School security guidance for educational establishments in England. This week the DfE published its response to the consultation and new guidance which aims to provide schools with access to a range of information sources and tools that will help them to develop sensible and proportionate policies and plans to meet their security needs.