Guidance from Ofsted to its inspectors warns that the key stage 2 writing results should be interpreted “carefully”.
The confirmation that Ofsted inspectors have been alerted to the potential difficulties in using this year’s data was welcomed on Twitter, where Sean Harford, the inspectorate's national director for education, joined in the discussion.
The note states that: “It may be that there is variability between schools in how they have interpreted the demand of the interim framework in this first year of its use. It may also be that there is variability in the way that local authorities (LA) have interpreted this demand when moderating against the interim framework for the first time.”
It adds that no single measure or indicator should determine judgements and no judgement should be based on only one year’s outcomes.
The guidance comes after the DfE gave way to an ultimatum from the NAHT headteachers’ union in February which said dramatic changes needed to be made to the teacher assessments. Nick Gibb said then that Ofsted, and the Regional Schools Commissioners, would be asked to be ‘mindful of the impact’ of the new arrangements when deciding whether to issue warning notices.
And the DfE Schools Causing Concern guidance issued in March said that “in 2016 only, if a school’s performance at KS2 has dropped below the floor standard based on performance in writing alone, and in the absence of any other factors, the local authority or RSC should not issue a warning notice, except where the extent of the change in performance cannot be explained by the impact of the changes to primary assessment arrangements in this transitional year.”