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Last updated on 19 September 2019
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Stay up to date with all things Ofsted, including changes to the inspection handbooks and any murmurings about the new framework.

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What the 2019 inspection framework means for you

Find out what the new framework will mean for your school here.

Sep 19: 'Outstanding' schools no longer exempt from inspection

The BBC report that the DfE has ended the exemption from routine inspection for 'outstanding' schools. This announcement comes after Ofsted raised concerns about the low number of 'outstanding' schools that keep their high rating when they're next inspected.

No further details about the change have been announced.

Ofsted may rate schools on financial management

Schools Week reports that the DfE has announced that it is currently working with Ofsted to determine whether inspections might include judgements on financial management and oversight. The discussions on this are in the early stages, and no changes to inspection are planned immediately. 

Nick Brook, the deputy general secretary of NAHT, says Ofsted is incapable of making robust judgements in this area.

July 19: Ofsted research shows teachers feel unsupported when dealing with classroom behaviour

The research report shows that there's a perceived lack of support from leaders to address poor behaviour, and that this leads to low morale.

 Ofsted calls for MAT-inspection remit

In a report published in July, Ofsted recommended that it should be allowed to inspect both individual schools within a MAT and the MAT itself. This would be a change from the current system, where Ofsted is only allowed to conduct summary evaluations of MATs.

June 19: Labour Party considering changes to inspection system  

Tes has reported that Labour's policy chiefs have been in talks over how to change the current inspection system. They have concerns over reliability, impact on workload and teacher retention.

Union pressure has prompted Labour to look at the issue of Ofsted in detail. Tes says that Labour are considering inspection options as part of their National Policy Forum.

June 19: HMCI calls to lift exemption of outstanding schools 

Ofsted: we've got you covered

Ofsted have substantially increased the number of outstanding schools (who are exempt from routine inspections) they inspected this year.

Between 1 September 2018 and 31 March 2019, Ofsted inspected 8% (305) of all exempt schools. They found:

  • Only 49 remained outstanding (16%)
  • 166 were judged to be ‘good’ (54%)
  • 76 were found to require improvement (25%)
  • 14 were rated inadequate (5%)
  • More primary schools than secondary schools lost their outstanding grade

HMCI Amanda Spielman, said the results should ‘set alarm bells ringing’ and that ‘the exemption should be lifted and Ofsted resourced to routinely inspect these schools.’

June 19: Role of governance under the new Ofsted framework

In a speech to the National Governors Association, HMCI Amanda Spielman spoke about the role of governors under the new Ofsted framework.

She advised how governors can hold the school to account for the quality and shape of the curriculum, and how governors can help ensure that all pupils (including those with SEND or from disadvantaged backgrounds) receive the benefits of the school's full curriculum offer. 

She also spoke about how inspectors will take delegated responsibilities within MATs into account when inspecting governance.

Mar 19: 85% of schools inspected between 1 April and 31 December 2018 graded 'good' or 'outstanding', findings from pilot inspections

Data released by Ofsted also shows that the percentage of schools who improve in the inspection following a 'requires improvement' judgement has fallen. This means a school rated as 'requires improvement' is less likely to get a 'good' or 'outstanding' judgement at its next inspection compared to previous years. 

Information obtained by Schools Week also shows that none of the 'oustanding' schools inspected by Ofsted between 9 January and 1 February retained their 'outstanding' rating.

Osted publishes findings from new framework pilot inspections

On their blog, Ofsted discusses responses to on-site inspection preparation, 2-day section 8 inspections, and how inspectors will consider internal performance data. 

The blog points out that 2-day section 8 inspections may be overkill for very small primary schools, and that they're considering how to address this.

Off-rolling schools likely to be judged inadequate under new inspection framework

Leadership and management in schools that remove pupils from the roll to improve exam results ('off-rolling') is likely to be judged 'inadequate', Ofsted told the TES. According to the draft inspection handbook for September 2019, schools whose leadership and management is judged to be 'inadequate' is likely to be judged 'inadequate' overall.

Schools not responsible for knife crime, Ofsted says

Amanda Spielman, head of Ofsted, says that school's can't be held responsible for dealing with knife crime in the absence of properly funded local services. 

Read more about this on the BBC.

Ofsted to offer secondments to middle leaders

Ofsted told the Association of School and College Leaders' annual conference that they plan to offer middle leaders 1-year secondments as full-time inspectors, Schools Week reports

Ofsted says this will allow school leaders to access training and development, and equip them with knowledge of the wide range of good practice taking place in schools around the country, that they can then take back to their schools to help them improve.

Mar 19: Ofsted may rethink plans for on-site inspection preparation, plans to extend transition period

Ofsted has revealed that responses to proposals for on-site inspection preparation have been overwhelmingly negative. 

Matthew Purves, Ofsted's deputy director for schools, told the Tes that he still believes on-site preparation is a good idea. But Ofsted is taking all of the negative feedback into account and considering whether to move forward with the proposal.

Transition period under new inspection framework could be extended

A 12-month transition period will be in place from September 2019 to allow schools time to think about and develop their curriculums in light of the new inspection framework. 

Ofsted's head of research, Professor Daniel Muijs, suggested that Ofsted may extend this period based on the outcomes of inspections in the first 12 months.

Read more about this in TES.

Ofsted calls legal challenges to inspection results a 'waste of money'

Some schools have launched legal challenges to have their inspection results amended. 

Ofsted's Matthew Purves said such actions were 'foolhardy' and a waste of taxpayer money, according to Schools Week.

Feb 19: Ofsted publishes first MAT summary evaluation, head of NAHT questions new Ofsted framework

Ofsted's first MAT summary evaluation was for Truro and Penwith Academy Trust, which has 25 schools. 

Ofsted inspected 6 of the trusts schools, interviewed members of the central team, and spoke to senior leaders in 10 schools about the support they receive from the trust.

They also scrutinised trust documents, such as strategic plans and minutes from meetings. 

Read more about it in Schools Week.

Head of NAHT criticises new 'quality of education judgement'

In statements obtained by the TES, the head of the NAHT says the new judgement tries to cover too much ground, and that it could end up promoting just as much fear and perverse incentives as previous frameworks. 


Dec 18: HMCI's annual report, DfE tells Ofsted to inspect more ‘outstanding’ schools

New videos explain Ofsted's curriculum research

18 December: Ofsted's published videos covering areas including:

  • Planning and sequencing a curriculum
  • Curriculum flexibility
  • Data in the context of the curriculum

There’s also a video of one of the curriculum workshops Ofsted ran in autumn 2018. It’s published the presentation slides from the workshops, which look at:

  • What is meant by ‘curriculum’
  • How to distinguish curriculum from teaching and assessment
  • Why a focus on the curriculum is necessary

You’ll also find examples of questions inspectors might ask about curriculum quality (see slide 21).

Figure out your curriculum's intent, implementation and impact with our prompts, and find out more about what the new framework means for your school. 

‘Don’t create undue burdens with new MAT evaluations’, Hinds tells Ofsted

13 December: Ofsted's guidance on its new summary evaluations of multi-academy trusts (MATs) explains:

  • These are not inspections, and Ofsted won’t carry them out in every MAT, with most MATs unlikely to undergo them
  • There are 2 stages to the process:
    • Stage 1: batched inspections, where Ofsted carries out section 5 and section 8 inspections in a number of a MAT's academies, usually over a period of up to 2 terms
    • Stage 2: summary evaluation, where over a week inspectors meet MAT leaders and discuss the findings of the individual inspections and overall educational quality across the MAT
  • During stage 2 of the process, with the MAT’s agreement, inspectors can carry out on-site visits at the MAT’s academies (including those not inspected in stage 1)

Education secretary Damian Hinds acknowledged the new approach in a letter to HMCI Amanda Spielman, and urged her to ensure the visits in stage 2 of the process “do not create undue burdens on the schools or MAT”.

He’s called for consistent use of the term ‘MAT summary evaluation’ to describe this process, and wants to avoid these evaluations being described as ‘MAT inspections’.   

'150 minutes’ notice' for inspections under new framework?

12 December: Tes is reporting that inspectors could give just over 2 hours warning before arriving the same day under the new framework. Inspectors would arrive at the school to prepare and discuss plans with leaders, before beginning a formal inspection the next day.

Ofsted itself says it has "no plans to reduce the formal notice period", but Tes suggests that this proposal wouldn't be an adjustment to the notice period, as the actual inspection wouldn't begin until the next day.

Secondary curricula score higher than primary in Ofsted study

11 December: Ofsted’s published the findings of phase 3 of its curriculum research:

  • Schools can produce equally strong curricula regardless of the amount of deprivation in their communities, suggesting that Ofsted’s proposed new approach could be fairer to schools in disadvantaged areas
  • Only 8 out of 33 primary schools sampled scored highly for their curriculum overall, compared with 16 out of 29 secondary schools
  • The quality of curriculum in foundation subjects in primary schools was rated poorly compared to that in core subjects

In her commentary, Amanda Spielman reiterated that Ofsted would try to keep the overall proportion of schools achieving each grade "roughly the same" between the old framework and new, and emphasised that Ofsted will better recognise schools in challenging circumstances. 

Parent View to be replaced

10 December: Ofsted’s working on a project to replace Parent View with a new service, HMCI Amanda Spielman has revealed in a letter to the Public Accounts Committee.

She said the new system is being designed to “increase the volume, quality and diversity of views” it gathers from parents.

She also said:

  • Ofsted’s been conducting focus groups with parents to find out how they’d like to share their views
  • Ofsted will be launching “new style reports” alongside its new framework, with the design informed by parent feedback to make sure they’re accessible and give parents the information they need
  • She is confident that Ofsted “will be able to allocate more inspector time to on site activities” in short inspections under the new inspection framework

‘Stuck’ schools highlighted in HMCI’s annual report

4 December: HMCI Amanda Spielman’s annual report for 2017/18 sets out “areas most of concern” including:

  • ‘Stuck’ schools which “haven’t improved enough over many years” – the report says around 490 schools have been judged ‘requires improvement’ or ‘inadequate’ in every inspection since 2005
  • The ‘outstanding’ school exemption from inspection – HMCI says that the exemption needs to be lifted and Ofsted given the resource to inspect ‘outstanding’ schools, so that the ‘outstanding’ grade can “maintain its reputation”
  • ‘Off-rolling’ – Ofsted’s identified about 300 schools with ‘exceptional levels’ of pupils coming off-roll between years 10 and 11
  • Rising exclusions among pupils with SEND

The report also gives some further pointers regarding the content of the proposed new inspection framework, which will:

  • Include changes which “strengthen the focus on early reading”
  • Allow Ofsted to identify and report on schools which use off-rolling to remove pupils who might achieve less well

Nov 18: DfE considers 'outstanding' exemption, more on curriculum research

DfE "considering" review of inspection exemption for 'outstanding' schools 

12 November: The DfE is "considering" the Public Accounts Committee's recommendation for the government to review the inspection exemption for 'outstanding' schools, schools minister Nick Gibb told the House of Commons. It'll be responding formally in December.  

Ofsted slideshow sets out new framework approach

8 November: A new series of slides from Ofsted covers points including:

  • The importance of curriculum in the new framework, and the findings of Ofsted’s curriculum research (slides 5-13)
  • How the current judgement areas map to the new proposed areas, and a more detailed breakdown of coverage for each area (slides 17-18)
  • Ofsted’s focus on safeguarding (slide 20)

The slideshow also sets out a time frame (slide 23):

  • Spring term 2019: consultation on the “substance and detail” of the framework
  • Summer 2019: final framework published
  • 1 September 2019: new framework goes live

Oct 18: new judgement areas focus on curriculum, new Ofsted website

Conversations with senior and middle leaders to play a bigger role in inspections

15 October: Inspectors will place greater emphasis on discussions with senior and middle leaders, and "away from teaching itself", under the new framework.

New judgement areas place curriculum centre stage

11 October: The proposed new judgement areas from 2019 will put less weight on test and exam results, and more focus on the curriculum. The judgements are:

  • Quality of education (to replace the current 'outcomes for pupils' and 'teaching, learning and assessment' judgements)
  • Personal development 
  • Behaviour and attitudes (the existing 'personal development, welfare and behaviour' judgement is split between 'behaviour and attitudes' and 'personal development')
  • Schools' leadership and management

The 'overall effectiveness' judgement and the current 4-point grading system, including the 'outstanding' grade, will remain the same. There'll be a consultation on the proposals in January.

Find out what the new inspection framework means for your school.

New inspection report website goes live

2 October: Ofsted has developed a new website for its inspection reports. It's simpler to access on non-desktop devices and makes it easier to find information.

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