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Ofsted’s common inspection framework, September 2015

Following the recent consultation, Better Inspection for All, the new common inspection framework and supporting handbooks have been published. The common inspection framework is due to come into effect in September 2015.

The common inspection framework introduces significant changes to the inspection process as it will be relevant to all education establishments including early years’ settings on the early years register, maintained schools and academies, non-association independent schools and further education skills’ providers. 

The remits under which inspectors will make judgements will be; overall effectiveness, effectiveness of leadership and management, quality of teaching, learning and assessment, personal development, behaviour and welfare, outcomes for children and learners and, where appropriate, the effectiveness of early years and sixth form provision. In addition to these, FE  skills providers will be graded on 16 to 19 study programmes, 19-plus learning programmes, apprenticeships, traineeships, employability, learners in receipt of high needs funding, community learning and full-time as well as part-time provision in 14-16 colleges.

There is also a change to the inspection process with short inspections taking place every three years for maintained schools, academies and further education and skills providers in establishments where these have been judged to be good at their last full inspection.  Inspectors will begin with a pre-established judgement of the grade which a school has achieved at the previous inspection and will seek to ensure that it has continued to maintain standards, that leaders can demonstrate accuracy in their judgement of key areas of concern and that they have the capacity to address these. 

It is intended that the duration of such inspections will be one day, with one or two HMIs leading. However in a number of cases these may be converted to full inspections which take place over two days. This will occur where inspectors judge that there have either been improvements or a decline in the quality of provision or where inspectors establish that more time is required to confirm their judgement. The aim of the new framework is to maintain the rigour of inspection while improving the efficiency of the process.

In addition to these changes, the significance of effective leadership in bringing about school improvement will be identified through such early years’ leaders, head teachers or college principals receiving a letter from Ofsted recognising their exceptional leadership skills. This information will also be published in Ofsted’s Annual Report and sent to the Secretary of State. 

Further changes to the inspection process include scrutiny committees being set up in each Ofsted region to ensure greater accountability of the complaints process. The committees will be responsible for making judgments on internal reviews of complaints regarding inspections.

To improve the quality of inspection teams, changes will also be made to the way Ofsted contracts, trains and manages inspectors. From September 2015 Ofsted will directly contract all inspectors while HMI will quality assure standards of inspections carried out through being responsible for the performance management of inspectors as well as being responsible for the delivery of their training. It is intended that seven in 10 Ofsted inspectors will be serving practitioners from good and outstanding schools and colleges.

Link to further information on the gov.uk website:

Common inspection framework: education, skills and early years from September 2015How Ofsted inspects maintained schools and academies, non-association independent schools, further education and skills provision and early years settings.

You may be interested in our course on understanding and preparing for the new inspection framework. A suite of related courses is also available here.

Page published: 18/06/2015