Ofsted pilot to look at whether the framework requires tweaks – Friday 19 March 2021

This week I highlight an Ofsted pilot to look at whether the inspection framework requires tweaks ahead of full inspections resuming from September, the impact of changes to pupil premium funding from April and implementation of the new EYFS Framework from September.

Ofsted pilot to look at whether framework tweaks are needed ahead of full inspections
This morning Schools Week is reporting that Ofsted will conduct full on-site inspections at about 25 schools over the next fortnight to assess whether its framework needs to be tweaked ahead of a return to graded inspections in September.

Amanda Spielman, the Chief Inspector, speaking at ASCL’s annual conference this week advised that full inspections would not return until the new academic year, instead plans would be announced shortly for a “sensible and proportionate next step” as part of its phased return during the summer term.

It will use the pilots to examine how it can reintroduce the inspection framework during the pandemic, including how it inspects in line with safety measures.  Ofsted will also use the trial to look at whether it needs to tweak the framework to reflect changes over pupil attendance and the lack of exams data.

The pilots are optional, with some schools being approached and others volunteering to take part. They will not result in a published report or grade for schools. 

Impact of pupil premium loss
On the final day of the autumn term the DfE stated it would be calculating the number of children eligible for pupil premium funding from April 2021 based on the October census, rather than using the January census as usual.  As a result any disadvantaged pupils who became eligible for free school meals between October and January would not be factored into pupil premium funding schools would ordinarily have been entitled to.

Last month the government introduced a new £302 million Covid recovery premium which would be allocated to schools on the same basis as pupil premium. It said the average primary school would receive £6k in funding.  However, a recent NAHT survey of primary school leaders indicated that the majority of primary schools in England would have all of their Covid recovery funding swallowed up by the loss of pupil premium funding.

Changes to the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Framework
From September 2021 there are changes to the EYFS statutory framework to improve outcomes at age 5, particularly in early language and literacy and to reduce workload such as unnecessary paperwork, so that staff can spend more time with the children in their care.

Some schools, known as early adopter schools, are already using a new early adopter framework as part of the EYFS reforms this academic year.  The new framework will be published for all schools later this academic year and a new version of the ‘development matters’ non-statutory curriculum guidance is already available on the early adopter page of the DfE’s website.