Will Ofsted allow schools a curriculum extension?

Watchdog expected to reveal whether it will extend year-long 'transition period' that offers schools still developing their curriculum some latitude when they go through new style inspection

Ofsted is in discussions about extending the time schools will get to develop their curriculum.

Ofsted is about to reveal whether it will extend the year-long "transition period" that offers schools still developing their curriculum some latitude when they go through new style inspections.

The special arrangements were due to end in the summer. But Tes has learned that Ofsted board members have been in discussions about whether to extend them.

Emma Ing, Ofsted’s regional director for the North East, Yorkshire and the Humber told school leaders today that an announcement was expected soon.

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At a Schools North East conference in Newcastle, school leaders asked Ms Ing whether a year’s transition period was long enough to allow schools to move to a new way of working and  whether it could be extended.

“We discussed this at executive board recently and I can’t give you the answer because it hasn’t been made public but it is being discussed,” she said. “It will come out very soon."

Ofsted’s new inspection framework has made the curriculum a major focus as part of its new quality of education judgement.

Inspection teams look at the intent, implementation and impact of the school curriculum in reaching a decision.

During the year-long transition period Ofsted inspectors considering a school’s quality of education are allowed to be more generous to schools still in the early stages of developing their curriculum.

They can rate the quality of education as "good" even if it is not there yet, providing it has taken "appropriate actions...likely to result in a 'good' quality of education judgement within two years". 

But the transition period is only used by inspectors to reach a verdict of "good" when considering a school's curriculum and quality of education.

Tes revealed last year that the inspectorate would consider extending the transition period beyond a year.

Separately, Ofsted also committed to keeping the overall proportion of school inspection grades broadly the same under the new inspection framework.

This commitment was made before the government announced plans to end the exemption on the routine inspection of "outstanding" schools.

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