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Ofsted plans to double length of 'good' school inspections

Watchdog also wants inspectors to arrive at school at a morning's notice to begin 'onsite preparations' before starting inspection next day.

Ofsted wants to double the length of good school inspections to two days

Watchdog also wants inspectors to arrive at school at a morning's notice to begin 'onsite preparations' before starting inspection next day.

Ofsted is planning to double the length of inspections for schools with 'good' ratings to two days under its new framework.

The watchdog is consulting on plans to extend the inspections to allow inspectors to gather enough evidence to show that schools remain good.

Ofsted is also proposing that inspectors arrive in all schools the day before inspections start to begin onsite preparations.

As Tes revealed last month, this could mean that schools would get little more than 150 minutes’ notice from Ofsted calling to an inspector arriving.

The changes are being proposed in a draft new inspection framework being published today which places an increased emphasis on the curriculum.

It says: “Currently section 8 inspections of good schools last for one day. We want to ensure that there is an opportunity to gather sufficient evidence while on inspection to confirm that a school remains good under the new criteria. Therefore we are proposing to increase the time for which the lead inspector is on site to two days.”

Nick Brook, the deputy general secretary of the NAHT headteachers' union, has questioned the change.

He said: “In our accountability commission report last year we called on Ofsted to focus its resources spending time on the schools which most needed it to support their improvement but this looks like the opposite. Instead, Ofsted is proposing that its inspectors spend more time in good schools.”

He also warned that school leaders will see an inspector arriving at school for on-site preparations as the start of an Ofsted inspection.

“Schools will absolutely not accept Ofsted’s assurances that this is not the beginning of the inspection. They will see this as a move towards a no-notice regime of inspection,” he added.

However, Ofsted's deputy director of schools policy, Matthew Purves, said that feedback from pilot inspections showed schools welcomed the on site preparation. He said it made the first day of inspection feel "less like a cliff edge." 

Ofsted is also consulting on plans to no longer look at school’s internal data during its inspection as part of an attempt to ensure inspection does not create unnecessary work for teachers.

And it will ask teachers' views on creating a new quality of education grade to replace both teaching and learning and also outcomes for pupils.

It is also proposing to separate pupil’s personal development and behaviour into separate judgements to recognise the importance of both areas.

Under the plans, schools will still get an overall effectiveness grade and the grades are remaining the same: outstanding; good, requires improvement and inadequate.

Launching the consultation today, chief inspector Amanda Spielman will say: “The new quality of education judgement will look at how providers are deciding what to teach and why, how well they are doing it and whether it is leading to strong outcomes for young people.

"This will reward those who are ambitious and make sure that young people accumulate rich, well-connected knowledge and develop strong skills using this knowledge.

“This is all about raising true standards. Nothing is more pernicious to these than a culture of curriculum narrowing and teaching to the test.”

“Two words sum up my ambition for the framework: substance and integrity. The substance that has all children and young people exposed to the best that has been thought and said, achieve highly and set up to succeed.

“And the integrity that makes sure every child and young person is treated as an individual with potential to be unlocked, and staff as experts in their subject or field, not just as data gatherers and process managers. And above all that you are rewarded for doing the right thing."

Ofsted’s consultation on the new framework has been launched today and will last 12 weeks.



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