Ofsted could give schools extra time to develop curriculum

Ofsted head of research says a transition period for its new inspection regime could be extended beyond 12 months

John Roberts

Prof Daniel Muijs outlined plans to Ofsted's new framework at a conference today

Ofsted could give schools more than a year to develop curriculum plans under its new inspection regime, it has been revealed.

The inspectorate’s head of research, Prof Daniel Muijs, told a conference today that a transition period, which will be in place for the first 12 months of the new inspection framework to allow schools to think about their curriculum, could be extended.

This period is designed to ensure that inspectors recognise that schools could be changing their curriculum rather than expecting them to have everything in place by September this year. 

Quick read: 24 slides set out Ofsted's new regime

Need to know: Ofsted's planned inspection changes

Profile: Muijs: 'We need to show robust research'

But Prof Muijs indicated today that this transition will be reviewed after a year and could be extended.

He acknowledged that Ofsted’s plans for a new inspection regime had led to a lot of activity, “with schools looking at their curriculum”.  

Speaking at the Westminster Insight conference, in London, he said: “We appreciate, of course, that because there hasn’t been a particularly strong focus on curriculum in the accountability system over the last decade or so that a lot of people are going through that process now.

Ofsted: 'Schools are on a curriculum journey' 

“Therefore, what we are not expecting is that in September 2019, when we start inspection under the new framework, that everybody has got that fully ready.

"We are expecting to see schools that are on a journey of curriculum development and, therefore, we are building in a transition period where inspectors will be expected to make a judgement based on where you are in the journey of curriculum rather than expecting you to be fully ready with that.

“We will review that after one year and look at our overall evidence from the system and make a decision as to whether we need to extend the transitional period.”

Prof Muijs also suggested that Ofsted will take a school’s intake into account when looking at what progress it is making towards the government’s EBacc target of having 75 per cent of pupils studying the necessary subjects by 2022.

Ofsted is consulting on plans to make the school curriculum more important in inspection. It is proposing to create a new overall quality of education inspection judgement, which will take into account the intent, implementation and impact of the curriculum.

Prof Muijs added: "It is important to say that what we are not doing is grading lessons. A lesson for us is an indicator which might give us more of an insight into the curriculum.”

Ofsted is proposing to drop inspection grades on both pupil outcomes and teaching and learning and replace these with an overall quality of education grade.

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John Roberts

John Roberts

John Roberts is North of England reporter for Tes

Find me on Twitter @JohnGRoberts

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