Ofsted 'to mark down exam-factory schools'

New inspection framework could introduce new 'quality of education' measure

Exam Hall Editorial

Ofsted is to downgrade the use of exam results as a measure of school quality, it was reported today.

The watchdog is due to publish its new inspection framework for consultation in the next few months.

But the Sunday Times is reporting that leaked details show that exam results or “outcomes” will be replaced with a measure called “quality of education”.

The newspaper says that “exam factory” schools that narrow the curriculum will be marked down.

“Schools where teachers just think about how you get exam results and not what is best for the children to learn will be marked down,” an anonymous source told the Sunday Times. “The chief inspector wants to shift a culture that is betraying a generation.”

Amanda Spielman, the chief inspector, chose to review the curriculum as her first priority after taking the job in 2017.

Research by the inspectorate, published last year, found that secondary schools often shorten key stage 3; low-attaining pupils are deterred from doing EBacc subjects at GCSE to take qualifications that score more highly in league tables; and some primary schools place too great a focus on practice Sats.

Commenting on the research at the time, Ms Spielman said: “School leaders need to recognise how easy it is to focus on the performance of the school and lose sight of the pupil. I acknowledge that inspection may well have helped to tip this balance in the past.”

A spokesman for Ofsted said the watchdog would not comment on leaks.

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