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Ofsted to talk to pupils to help judge a school's curriculum

New inspection framework will also allow more time for talking to classroom teachers

The Westminster Education Forum discussed Ofsted's new inspection framework.

Ofsted will use conversations with children to help judge the effectiveness of a school’s curriculum under reformed inspections, one of its senior leaders has said.

Matthew Purves, the inspectorate's deputy schools director, also told attendees at a Westminster Education Forum meeting this morning that conversation with teachers was “integral” to the new approach.

He said that pilots of the new framework had shown “the new approach gives a lot more space to sit down and talk to classroom teachers”.


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Mr Purves said that, in polling and research, school leaders had told Ofsted that they saw inspectors often enough. But he added: “Teachers essentially said, ‘We don’t see you very much. We know you are in the school and we hear about what you have said and then the head or the senior leaders mediate what you have said and we can’t quite tell whether that’s what you’ve said or whether that’s what they would like us to do in school’.”

He then moved on to pupils, saying: “And then let’s talk to the pupils. We do that in inspection all the time anyway, but if I’m honest, I think a lot of the conversation in recent years has focused around the personal development side, it has focused on ‘Do you feel happy and safe? What’s it like to be at this school?’

“That’s really important [and] that’s got to stay, but actually we want some of the conversations to be around ‘What are you learning at the moment? What subjects are you taking? What have you dropped and what options did you have?' And, in class, 'Can you tell us what happened in that lesson?’ – an actual educational conversation with children.”

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