A huge thank you to all of you who took the time to respond to the consultation on changes to the inspection framework. Ofsted received over 5000 responses and school leaders were by far the largest single group of respondents with over 1400 of you providing detailed feedback on the proposals. Your input certainly helped us turn Ofsted away from some of the most damaging elements in their initial proposals.
Unsurprisingly, Ofsted was keen to play down many of the concessions they have made but there are some real gains in the response, often quite subtly beneath the surface. Here’s a quick summary for those of you who have not had time to read Ofsted’s response in full:
- We argued that no notice inspection was impractical and inappropriate, making it less likely that school leaders, parents and governors could participate. Ofsted agreed and have moved instead to “short notice” instead of “no notice”, with schools receiving a phone call the working day before the inspection takes place.
- We argued that it was inappropriate to make all schools identified as “requiring improvement” eligible for intervention. Ofsted agreed and this will not now be the case. Only those schools identified as having ‘serious weaknesses’ will be eligible for intervention.
- We argued that a mechanistic “three strikes and you’re out” approach to school inspection failed to recognise the practicalities of school improvement. Ofsted agreed and now state that there will be some flexibility in the system to account for events such as a recent change in leadership or strong upward trajectory.
- We argued that 18 months was too short a time between inspections. Ofsted agreed have now said it will occur within two years.
- We argued that the inspection system should be more supportive and less punitive. Ofsted agreed and are looking at ways to support schools in their improvement journey.
Of course it isn’t all good news and we know that some of you were concerned that our press release seemed overly positive. Apologies if this sounded like we were now best friends with Ofsted! Far from it, but we did think it worthwhile to draw the media’s attention to the concessions made, by seeming pleased in a slightly condescending way, and it is important to vary the carrot and stick in press commentary – the general public are generally very impatient with constant complaints.
We now have an opportunity to put forward our position on Parent View and the quality of inspection teams, to ensure that the guidance for schools on presenting anonymised performance management information is fit for purpose, and most importantly of all, to establish our own school improvement package that will help schools get to good and protect improving schools from forced academisation.
You can read the full report here.
NAHT's response is available to download here.
Page Published: 31/05/2012