Ofsted has decided to drop plans for inspectors to arrive at schools the day before an inspection to prepare, replacing this with a phone call, after 75% of respondents opposed the idea. In its report on responses to the Education Inspection Framework consultation, Ofsted said it made the change partly in response to concerns raised by us, and others, that it would be a ‘significant challenge for school leaders who provide support to other schools and might, therefore, not be in school on the day’.
Ofsted also committed to publish a summary of research on SEND, ‘in due course’ in response to concerns that the research overview used to develop the framework is entirely mainstream-based.
These were two areas we highlighted to Ofsted as part of our submission on the new framework. We are, however, disappointed that Ofsted have not taken up the suggestion to directly recognise the beneficial impact peer review and collaboration can have on school improvement and outcomes, nor to recognise those 'leading' schools with the capacity and willingness to improve not just themselves, but also other schools.
Challenge Partners also urged Ofsted to ensure all inspections are led by fully trained and experienced HMIs or practitioners, and to consider schools’ own evidence of progress, to ensure they can make nuanced judgments which are evidence-based and give schools greater assurance about their reliability. Ofsted committed to take internal data collected by schools into account when it is flagged up in relation to conclusions drawn and actions taken, though inspectors will not formally review such data.
In addition, Ofsted said quality of education judgements will be phased in over a longer period. Good small schools will continue to have a one-day inspection, not two-day. And updated its critera to place the emphasis on whether or not providers ‘tolerate’ bullying, harassment, violence rather than whether such behaviour exists.
Ofsted’s full response to all submissions for the EIF Consultation can be read here.