Consultation on the removal of the outstanding exemption – Friday 10 January 2020

This week I highlight a new Government consultation on removing the Ofsted outstanding exemption, the announcement of six new Teaching School hubs and the latest Ofsted blog focusing on making curriculum decisions in the best interests of children.

Government consultation on the removal of the outstanding exemption
Some schools and colleges delivering publicly-funded education and training, which were rated outstanding by Ofsted at their last inspection, are legally exempt from further routine Ofsted inspection. In some cases this has meant that some schools and colleges have not been inspected for over a decade.

Today the DfE has opened a consultation seeking views on the removal of the exemption and under the proposals all outstanding schools and colleges will be brought back into a regular inspection cycle, with Ofsted visiting every 4 to 5 years. The consultation closes on 24 February 2020 and subject to the outcome, the Government intends to remove the exemption with effect from September 2020.

Announcement of six new Teaching School Hubs
On Tuesday the Schools Minister announced six successful new Teaching School Hubs to support struggling schools. Schools will benefit from a three-year programme of support, with each of the six successful schools acting as a regional hub and will receive funding to support between 200 to 300 other schools in the local area.

The aim is to give struggling schools direct access to expertise from school leaders with a track record of improving challenging schools. Support could include delivering tailored professional development for teachers, hosting observations and visits or deploying system leaders to offer advice and guidance to local schools.

The six successful new Teaching School Hubs are:

  • North: Harrogate Grammar School and Red Kite Learning Trust
  • Lancashire and West Yorkshire: Copthorne Primary School and Exceed Academies Trust
  • East Midlands and Humber: Silverdale School and Chorus Education Trust
  • East of England and North East London: Harris Academy Chafford Hundred and Harris Federation
  • East of England and North East London: Saffron Walden County High School and Saffron Academy Trust
  • South West: Kingsbridge Community College

Latest Ofsted blog on making curriculum decisions in the best interests of children
In a blog published on the Ofsted website today, Sean Harford, Ofsted’s national director for education discusses how inspectors will be judging the curriculum and whether length of key stage matters. He said it was “simply not the case” that Ofsted was opposed to lengthened key stage fours, and schools “do not automatically get marked down if their Key Stage 3 is less than three academic years long”.