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Need to know: Having your say on Ofsted's new inspection plans

Inspectorate will set out its plans to change the way it inspects schools

Ofsted is to consult on new inspection framework

Inspectorate will set out its plans to change the way it inspects schools

This week Ofsted will announce its plans to change the way it inspects schools from this September with a much greater emphasis on curriculum.

Chief inspector Amanda Spielman will officially launch the consultation on plans for the new inspection framework in a speech to the Sixth Form College Association's Winter Conference on Wednesday.

Here is everything you need to know.

Hasn’t Ofsted already announced this?

It is true that Ofsted has been talking about the importance of curriculum for a long time. In her first year in the job, Ms Spielman warned that expertise and focus on the curriculum had waned in schools. She has also warned of schools narrowing the curriculum to focus on Sats and GCSEs.

The inspectorate has signalled that it intends to address this by putting the curriculum at the heart of the inspection process. Ms Spielman said Ofsted wants to give more weight to the decisions a school makes on curriculum and the overall quality of education a school provides and less weight to raw exam data.

What do we already know?

Ofsted has already revealed some of its plans. To shift the emphasis away from exam data the inspectorate plans to change the inspection categories.

Schools will no longer get a judgement for the outcomes of pupils or for teaching, learning and assessment. Instead Ofsted will create an overall quality of education grade to replace both.

Ofsted is also proposing to split the "personal development, welfare and behaviour" judgement in the current framework into two areas focused on pupil development and behaviour separately. Schools will still get an overall inspection grade and be judged on their leadership and management.

The inspectorate is not proposing to change the four inspection grades – despite some calls for the "outstanding" grade to be scrapped.

What might we find out this week?

Ofsted has said that it intends to inspect the curriculum and that it will do so by looking at its intent, implementation and impact. But it is not yet known exactly how it will do this or what indicators it will use.

Ofsted published a list of indicators it had used for its own research into the curriculum but it has said it won’t be using all of these in inspection. Schools will be looking at this week’s launch for more information about how Ofsted will assess a school’s curriculum.

Ofsted have also said the new framework handbook will show the research that underpins its inspection criteria.


What might schools get asked about?

One area Tes understands Ofsted is looking at is the amount of notice a school gets before inspectors visit. A draft version of the handbook for the new framework said that under the new system inspectors could call a school before 10am and arrive just after 12.30pm on the same day to begin preparations for formal inspection the next day.

It remains to be seen if this remains part of Ofsted’s plans and if it is how school leaders will react to the prospect of having little more than 150 minutes' notice of the inspectorate's arrival.

How can schools find out more and have their say?

Ofsted has indicated that the consultation period for its plans will last for 12 weeks.

Luke Tryl, the inspectorate’s director of corporate strategy, has said there will be “lots of regional events, slides, pre myth-busting and more with the consultation”.

Ofsted has already produced a range of slides and videos which outline its plans for the new framework.

And Tes will have rolling coverage of the announcement throughout this week. The consultation will be published here.

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