Ofsted’s new inspection arrangements to focus on curriculum, behaviour and development

Ofsted has published the outcome of the consultation on its new education inspection framework, which will take effect from September 2019

Primary school children running outside

• Inspections to focus on what children actually learn, ahead of results
• Designed to discourage culture of ‘teaching to the test’
• New ‘behaviour’ judgement to give parents reassurance on bullying

From September 2019, Ofsted will refocus inspections of schools, early years settings and further education and skills providers, to make sure that learners are receiving a high-quality education that puts them on a path to future success.

Ofsted inspectors will spend less time looking at exam results and test data, and more time considering how a nursery, school, college or other education provider has achieved their results. That is, whether they are the outcome of a broad, rich curriculum and real learning, or of teaching to the test and exam cramming.

The changes follow a 3-month public consultation, which prompted more than 15,000 responses – the highest number Ofsted has ever received.

Read the consultation outcome report.

Ofsted confirmed today that it will proceed with its headline proposal for a new ‘quality of education’ judgement, after it received strong support from three-quarters of respondents.

More than three-quarters of respondents also supported plans to introduce 2 new key judgements, evaluating learners’ ‘behaviour and attitudes’ separately from their ‘personal development’.

The ‘behaviour and attitudes’ judgement will assess whether leaders are creating a calm and orderly environment, where bullying is tackled effectively by leaders when it occurs. While the ‘personal development’ judgement will recognise the work early years providers, schools and colleges do to build young people’s resilience and confidence in later life, including through participation in sport, music and extra-curricular activities.

Together, these changes will make it easier for Ofsted to recognise and reward early years providers, schools and colleges that are doing the best they can for their pupils, particularly those working in challenging circumstances.

Schools will be empowered to always put the child first and be actively discouraged from negative practices, such as ‘off-rolling’, where schools remove pupils in their own best interests, rather than that of the pupils. Such schools are likely to find their ‘leadership and management’ judged inadequate under the new framework.

All inspection judgements will continue to be awarded under the current 4-point grading scale: outstanding; good; requires improvement; and inadequate. Reports will be redesigned and shortened to give parents the key information they need to know about a school and a sense of how it feels to be a pupil there.

HM Chief Inspector Amanda Spielman said:

"This was the largest-ever consultation Ofsted has undertaken and I am very grateful to all those who took the time to respond.

"The new framework puts the real substance of education at the heart of inspection and supports leaders and teachers who act with integrity. We hope early years, schools and college leaders will no longer feel the need to generate and analyse masses of internal data for inspection. Instead, we want them to spend their time teaching and making a real difference to children’s lives, which is why they entered the profession in the first place.

"Our goal is really simple: to be a force for improvement through our inspections. We want to provide parents with the assurance they need, support teachers and leaders to excel – and help make sure all children and learners to get the education they deserve."

The consultation was the result of nearly 2 years of research and engagement with teachers, headteachers, unions, academics and parents. The new framework and inspection handbooks, published today, will be used across all education inspections from September 2019.

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