We heard at Real 2015 from David Brown HMI about some of the latest Ofsted reforms and how they will affect you; here's a rundown of some of the planned changes that have taken place this September:
1: Reforms to raise education and inspection standards
Consultations in spring 2015 have led to a number of changes to the way Ofsted inspects schools, academies and Further Education providers from autumn 2015. The changes are the most significant so far and are about changing Ofsted's inspection methods and its workforce to drive greater consistency and quality in inspection; increasing standards in education across the country.
2: A standardised inspection framework
The main change is to adopt a standardised inspection framework for all areas of education. This single common inspection framework will apply to all maintained schools and academies, FE providers and non-association independent schools. This is designed to enable all settings to be inspected to a similar set of standards, create closer comparison between inspections (i.e. a sixth form in a school and a sixth form in an FE setting) and ultimately make inspections fairer and more consistent.
3: Shorter and more frequent inspections
Previously, it could be five years between inspections and this is too long, not only for parents and learners but for inspectors to spot decline or identify an improving school. Therefore, Ofsted plan to deliver frequent, shorter inspections which will take place every three years and focus on whether the quality of the curriculum is being sustained. This will enable Ofsted to inspect schools before any decline becomes entrenched and give the schools the opportunity to show improvement.
4: Clear outcomes of shorter inspections
There will be three likely outcomes from these shorter Ofsted inspections; firstly, if there is an indication that the provision has improved to outstanding, HMI will then conduct full inspection to confirm that. Secondly, if the provision remains good, a letter will be written and published which may contain minor areas of improvement but if HMI are happy with the existing provision, and are confident providers can tackle improvements, schools will not be revisited for another three years; Ofsted are expecting this outcome in the majority of cases. The final outcome depends on whether there have been significant concerns or a notable decline in performance, at which point the short inspection would be immediately converted into a full inspection which would probably take place the following day.
5: Adopting a more proportionate approach
More schools and providers than ever are now rated as 'good' or 'better than before'; although this isn't always widely reflected in the media, around 80 per cent of schools are currently in this category. Ofsted believe that it is important to take a much more proportionate approach for inspections to many of these providers.
6: Improving the standard of Ofsted's inspectors
Ofsted are also changing the way they work and are aware of previous criticisms of the reliability of their inspectors. All inspections have been brought in-house and conducted solely by Ofsted. This will enable them to better control the quality of the training they provide and the reliability of their inspections.
7: Providing better value to parents and teachers
Providing timely, comparable and reliable information for parents, carers, learners and employers that enables them to compare schools and make better informed choices about education, will be a key focus for Ofsted.
Real 2016 is on the 27th April 2016 and we would love for you to join us. To register for your free place or see for further notes on what happened in FY15 please visit rm.com/events/real