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Ofsted publishes latest School Inspection Update

Ofsted published a School Inspection Update providing guidance for its inspectors on 2 March 2017.  The update contains a number of useful items for members which are summarised briefly below.

The full document is available here.

Summary of key aspects of the update

Progress scores 

The guidance reminds inspectors that it is not possible to forecast progress scores reliably, because they are based on the national distribution of each cohort's test performance.

For key stage 2:   

  • attainment is expected to rise as schools' familiarity with the new, more demanding curriculum increases;
  • and key stage 1 prior attainment will be based on the new teacher assessment framework for the current Year 3, yet levels for older cohorts.

For key stage 4:  

  • the reformed GCSEs have new and more challenging content than 2016 qualifications;
  • while Attainment 8 settles down, schools will be altering their entry pattern for each element, which will have an impact on the national Attainment 8 score;
  • the gradual re-scaling over four years to grades 9 to 1 will cause changes in the national average Attainment 8 score;
  • and key stage 2 prior attainment will be based on scaled scores for the current Year 7, yet levels for the older cohorts.

Guidance for inspectors states:

'Ofsted does not expect any prediction by schools of a progress score, as they are aware that this information will not be possible to produce due to the way progress measures at both KS2 and KS4 are calculated [and that]… there is no national expectation of any particular amount of progress from any starting point.

'Inspectors must not use [the] term [expected progress] when referring to progress for 2016 or current pupils.'

'Inspectors should only ask to see assessment information, including any pupil-tracking information, in the format that the school would ordinarily use to monitor the progress of pupils in that school.'

Interpreting RAISEonline and inspection dashboards, including pupils working below the level of the test at key stage 2

The guidance reminds inspectors that progress scores at both key stage 2 and 4 could have been affected by pupils with extremely high or low progress scores ('outliers'), including those pupils with very low progress scores because they were not entered for an approved qualification or were absent for the examination or test. Small numbers of pupils may also render the data meaningless.

Guidance for inspectors considering key stage 1 to 2 progress scores states that:

'…inspectors should consider the impact of pupils included who were working below the level of the tests at key stage 2. Pupils on 'P scales' or assessed at foundation for the 'expected standard' or 'early development' of the expected standard, always have negative progress scores. Those assessed at 'growing development' of the expected standard can have a positive progress score only if their prior attainment was P6 or below.'

The guidance emphasises that there is no expectation of particular attainment from any starting point, and no measure of progress for key stage 1.

Clarification of inspection arrangements

  • Non-exempt outstanding pupil referral units, special schools and maintained nursery schools that undergo 'significant change' (such as merging with another school; or adding a new phase or key stage) will normally receive a section 5 inspection instead of a short inspection. Thereafter, a school that was judged to be good or outstanding would receive a short inspection approximately three years later.
  • A maintained school that converts to become an academy, whose predecessor was judged to be 'good' at its most recent inspection, iseligible for a short inspection after approximately three years.
  • A maintained school, that converts to become a sponsor-led academy, whose predecessor was judged to be 'good' at its most recent inspection, will be treated as a new school. It will be inspected under section 5 within three years of the school becoming a sponsor-led academy.

Safeguarding – the guidance provides updates on a school's responsibilities:

  • Trainee teachers are subject to the same checks as members of staff if they are employed by the setting, school or college. Where trainees are fee-funded, the school should obtain written confirmation from the training provider that checks have been conducted to determine that the trainee is suitable to work with children.  Fee-funded trainees do not need to be recorded in the SCR.
  • Every academy within a MAT must maintain an SCR. Staff not assigned to an individual academy must be recorded on the SCR for the MAT.
  • Where MAT teaching staff work in more than one academy they should be recorded on the SCR for the academy where they spend the most time teaching, or where they are recorded for pay and other purposes.  There should be a reference on the SCR for the other academies where they operate, noting that their record is held at 'XX' academy.

The Update provides guidance for inspectors on reporting on the 2016 Floor standard, coasting definition and 16-18 minimum standards.

Examination entry & the curriculum – updates a previous article (June 2016, pp4-6), requiring inspectors to identify 'gaming'.  Inspectors will examine double-entry for subjects where there is significant overlap; high entries for subjects that are not core subjects, or do not reflect a school's specialisms; and 'off-rolling' of pupils into alternative provision or other schools.

Reformed GCSEs and technical awards for examinations from 2017: inspectors must consider the effectiveness of the delivery of the reformed qualifications, noting that Progress 8 will use reformed GCSEs for English and mathematics; legacy GCSEs for other subjects; and only new technical awards for technical and vocational qualifications.

A summary of the key changes to GCSE is included alongside relevant links to DfE and Ofqual guidance.

Inspecting the governance of schools within multi-academy trusts.

When a school is notified of an inspection, Ofsted will check the name and contact details for the CEO (or equivalent) and board of trustees, and notify them of the inspection. Inspectors will then make arrangements to meet with the CEO and the chair of the board, who will also be invited to join the head teacher in the final team meeting and final feedback, as observers.

The Update also contains:

  • Information for inspectors on interpreting 16-19 English and mathematics progress measures.
  • Information on the statutory duties for the distribution and publication of section 5 inspection reports, underlining the school's duty to ensure that every registered parent receives a copy of the inspection report within the specified period.
  • The requirement for schools to have a Supporting pupils with medical conditions policy and to have regard to guidance issued by the Secretary of State.
  • Confirmation that Ofsted no longer asks inspectors to identify school leaders supporting another school which has improved its inspection grade.
  • Links to the recently published Governance handbook and associated competency framework.

See the Update for full details

Page Published: 07/03/2017