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School Inspections - Update from Ofsted

 New Inspection Framework effective from 1 September 2015

​Sean Harford, Ofsted's National Director of Education, has issued a letter  to HMI and other inspectors clarifying aspects of the inspection framework that came into effect on 1 September 2015. 

School Inspection Update, Issue 4 September 2015, explains that the final documents are substantially the same as those published in draft on 15 June, but there are three elements that have been drawn to inspectors' attention:

1. Short inspections of special schools and pupil referral units (PRUs). Ofsted has confirmed that special schools will have parity with other schools. This means that they, along with PRUs, will be notified of an inspection around midday before a short inspection. Similary these schools will receive the same notice period for section 5 inspections.

2. Governance. Ofsted has clarified what inspectors will now look at, having recognised the pivotal role that governors can provide in schools. This section has been expanded from the original draft.

3. Recognition of exceptional leaders. From September, lead inspectors will be looking to identify school leaders who have played a key role in turning around other institutions. To be recognised as an exceptional leaders, a number of criteria will have to be met. These are highlighted in the letter.

The letter is available from the government's website and also covers:

  • Timing of re-inspections for schools judged requires improvement
  • Statements of action for inadequate schools
  • Medicines in schools
  • Reporting on the use of PE and sport premium funding in primary scholl inspections
  • An update on accountability measures
  • Statutory guidance on school teacher's pay and conditions
  • Publications that are still current and relevant
  • FAQs asked since 1 September from schools.

You are urged to familiarise yourselves with the contents of this letter, particularly if you are anticipating an inspection in the near future.

Please note the letter should not be seen at this stage as being a tacit critique of the new arrangements and should be taken at face value.

Page published: 28/09/2015