DfE: Ofsted reform could give schools ‘more challenges’

Civil servant says DfE ‘not complacent’ about implementation of new inspection framework

Martin George

A DfE official warned about 'a really big implementation challenge' introducing that new Ofsted inspection framework.

The Department for Education is still worried that Ofsted’s new inspection regime could cause workload for schools and teachers.

The inspectorate is introducing its new framework, which puts more focus on curriculum and less on data, in September.

Last year, education secretary Damian Hinds warned that plans to overhaul the framework needed to be balanced against the effect it would have on teacher workload, although he later described the fact it addresses workload as “a hugely positive step forward”.

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Now, the head of the DfE’s teacher recruitment and retention strategy team has said that while the framework has “a lot of good intentions and sounds good”, there will be a “really big implementation challenge”.

Speaking at a Westminster Education Forum conference today, Emma Hubball raised the concerns during a section of her speech about teacher workload.

She told the event that the DfE has been working closely with Ofsted to ensure the new framework “helps this problem rather than hinders it”.

She said: “We think there is some promising stuff in the new framework in terms of commitments they have made not to demand internal data tracking systems, and to look at things that we think schools also think are really, really important, and also their commitment to look unfavourably on schools that have excessively high workloads.

“We are clear that from our perspective that is a lot of good intentions and sounds good, and we think it’s an important part of the strategy, but there will be a really big implementation challenge there introducing that new framework and making sure it delivers benefits for schools and teachers rather than more challenges, so we are not complacent about that.”

Ms Hubball also talked more widely about the issue of teacher workload.

She said that “intensive interviews” the DfE conducted with 165 teachers last summer confirmed how important the issue was in driving people out of the profession.

Ms Hubball said the DfE was “tackling that as a more nuanced issue”. She added: “The amount of hours is important and obviously we compare not that well internationally on the amount of hours that teachers are working, but it’s also about the nature of that work - whether it is meaningful, whether people feel they have agency over it, whether people feel they have got the resources to do that work.”

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Martin George

Martin George

Martin George is a reporter at Tes

Find me on Twitter @geomr

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