A break from tradition

3rd August 2012 at 01:00

I hear people say two things about the summer holidays: first, that teachers don't do any work for six weeks; second, that nobody reads TES. Neither of these are true.

I have never known August to be anything other than a busy month for schools and teachers. A-level and GCSE results, together with preparations for the new academic year, occupy most of teachers' time.

It is also going to be a busy time for Ofsted, as we prepare for the new inspection framework that comes into being in September.

The priority of the framework is to ensure that every pupil, regardless of their background, receives a good education. Good will be the only acceptable form of provision.

A reminder of the key elements of the new inspection framework: first, outstanding schools and colleges must have outstanding teaching as a means of delivering sustained and rapid progress. This does not mean every lesson has to be outstanding, but overall it should be so.

Second, inspectors will not have a preconceived view of teaching style or preferred methodologies, but will judge the quality of teaching on the basis of the quality of learning taking place in lessons and the progress pupils are making.

Third, Ofsted will look at outcomes in relation to the progress that pupils are making from entry points. Inspectors will want to see that schools and colleges are aware of the assessment data and are tracking progress to ensure that all pupils are fulfilling their potential.

Fourth, inspectors will focus on the robustness of performance management and its correlation to pay. It is important that inspectors see that teachers are recognised and rewarded for good teaching and their wider commitment to young people.

Fifth, Ofsted will look at governance to ensure that leadership is properly held to account for the performance of the school or college. Inspectors will also make a judgement on whether the governing body is giving adequate support to a headteacher or principal who is making an effort to improve the school or college.

This month, TES contains advertisements for eight Ofsted regional directors. These regional directors will work with senior HMIs and HMIs in each region to ensure that inspection is driving improvement in these areas. Regional directors will ensure that HMIs monitor, challenge and support institutions between inspections so that they make the necessary improvements.

In addition, they will assess whether local authorities, diocesan authorities, academy chains and federations have adequate oversight of performance and are intervening in inverse proportion to success.

Information and data from the eight regions will provide the necessary evidence for my annual report, which this year will focus more on area-wide performance. We will particularly question why parts of our country with similar demographics perform so differently.

This year marks 20 years since Ofsted's inception. Inspection has been a powerful accountability lever in improving standards. But we need to go further, and I have no doubt that the inspection frameworks we are introducing will provide the impetus for greater improvements in our education and care systems.

Sir Michael Wilshaw is Her Majesty's Chief Inspector.

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