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Latest Ofsted School Inspection Update guidance for inspectors

Ofsted has published a School Inspection Update (November 2016) providing guidance for its inspectors on 24 November 2016.  The update contains a number of useful items for members.

The document is available here.

Summary of key aspects of the update

Use of 2016 Key Stage 2 writing data – the guidance reminds inspectors that there will be variability both in how schools interpreted the demands of the interim framework, and the way in which different LAs approached moderation. It provides guidance for inspectors on how to use and interpret this data on inspection.

The guidance states:

'Inspectors should interpret 2016 Key Stage 2 writing performance carefully, given that this is the first year of teacher assessment using a new curriculum and against the new interim framework.'

'Inspectors should consider a wide range of information. No single measure or indicator, such as writing progress or attainment, should determine judgements. No judgement should be based on only one year's outcomes.'

'Performance information for 2016 must be considered alongside earlier historic published data and other evidence gathered during the inspection from pupils' work in books and folders, talking to pupils and teachers, listening to pupils read and speak, observation and the school's assessment information about the progress of current pupils.'

'The Department for Education's (DfE's) 'Schools causing concern' publication provides guidance about basing a judgement on only 2016 writing performance. It states '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.'

Information required to be published on school websites: the guidance includes links to the statutory requirements for information to be published on the websites of maintained schools.  There is separate guidance for academy schools, some of which is statutory.  Academies are also encouraged to publish certain information where there is no statutory requirement to do so.

Staff codes of conduct and Ofsted inspections: the guidance notes that there is no expectation that schools need to have policies relating to staff conduct in any particular format for Ofsted.  'Inspectors will want to know how schools have ensured that staff know what is expected of them and may ask to see how this is covered, but should not be giving the impression that this needs to be a single policy document or in the form of a code of conduct.'  Inspectors will expect to see that policies cover, and that staff know and understand about, child protection, staff behaviour and the role of the safeguarding lead. See the Update for full detail.

Prohibition orders on teaching assistants: the guidance sets out in detail the circumstances when there is a regulatory requirement to check for a prohibition order from teaching, or ensure that no person carries out or intends to carry out work in contravention of a prohibition order.

It explains that 'there is no statutory requirement for a prohibition check to be made on applications for any school staff position, unless they will carry out unsupervised/undirected teaching work. This means that, generally, when appointing into teaching assistant (TA) positions, prohibition checks will not be required.'

Schools can choose to undertake additional checks about an individual's suitability.  The regulations apply differently to maintained schools and independent schools (including academies and free schools). 

Members should consult the full guidance for further information.

The Update also contains:

  • information on monitoring inspections following an academy order
  • information for inspectors about section 48 inspections of schools with a religious character
  • information about the publication of pre-registration inspections outcomes of free-schools
  • amendments to section 5 and section 8 inspection handbooks
  • information for inspectors about the LA role, educational progress, and examination entries for unaccompanied asylum seeking children
  • guidance on the effective deployment and use of teaching assistants
  • links to recent publications, including DfE guidance on: the Progress 8 school performance measure in 2016, 2017 & 2018; and primary accountability

 If you would like to get a better understanding of how inspection works in practice and each major aspect of the framework, we are holidng a course on inpsection on the 9th March. For more information click here.

Click on this link if you'd like to attend an NAHT course on preparing for inspections - The Common Inspection Framework: understanding, preparing and managing

Page published: 25/11/2016