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Ofsted’s consultation on short inspections of good schools

Ofsted consultation on short inspections.jpg

Ofsted has announced a consultation on proposals to increase the time in which a short inspection becomes a full inspection from 48 hours to anything up to 15 working days.  This applies to 'good' schools and to 'non-exempt' 'outstanding' special schools, pupil referral units and maintained nursery provision.

Current position

When conducting a short inspection of a 'good' (or 'non-exempt' 'outstanding') school, inspectors may decide that it is not possible to complete the short inspection within the usual time period, because they need to gather further evidence.

In such cases the short inspection is 'converted' to a full section 5 inspection.  Under Ofsted's current policy a larger inspection team returns to the school within 48 hours to complete this inspection.

Ofsted's most recent data shows that 31% of all short inspections are 'converted' to full inspections.  The proportion is highest for secondary schools, where 45% of short inspections were 'converted'.

Ofsted's proposals

Ofsted proposes that the following changes that would take effect from October 2017.

  • When a short inspection is 'converted' to a section 5 inspection, an inspection team will return to the school within 15 working days to complete the inspection (unless the inspection has raised safeguarding concerns where the 'expectation' is that the inspection will be completed within 48 hours).    
  • Some good schools will be scheduled for a section 5 inspection, not a short inspection, where Ofsted's 'regional intelligence' and risk assessment indicates this would be appropriate.   

NAHT will make a formal response to the consultation – we also encourage members to complete the consultation which can be found here.

The consultation closes on Thursday 18 August.

NAHT issued the following press release, in response to the announcement of the consultation.

Commenting on plans by Ofsted to increase the time in which a short school inspection becomes a full inspection from 48 hours to anything up to 15 working days, Russell Hobby, general secretary of school leaders' union NAHT says: "Short inspections were welcomed by school leaders as a step towards reducing the burden associated with inspection. These proposals could have the opposite effect. Huge pressure would be loaded on to staff in the weeks between short and full inspection. It will be akin to extending the period of inspection from three days to over three weeks. This hardly reduces the burden.

"Ofsted are now saying that the logistics of short inspection are untenable. The solution to this issue may not be obvious to Ofsted but the answer cannot be loading more pressure on to school leaders. In potentially solving one problem, by creating greater certainty for inspectors over working patterns, another much bigger problem would be created, that of equity. If one school is given three weeks to put in place changes, and another just a few days, can we really say the inspection system is being fair?

"This proposal is to be consulted on, giving school leaders the chance to highlight the problems behind such a change. We welcome the open way in which Ofsted is consulting on this, but question whether our inspection system should be driven by administrative convenience, rather than what is best for our schools."


Page Published: 19/06/2017