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Ofsted needs to be given more time to introduce the changes planned for inspection

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Speaking to school leaders in Newcastle (on 11 October 2018), Ofsted’s chief inspector Amanda Spielman announced plans to change the way Ofsted inspects schools in England from September 2019. 

Ms Spielman admitted that for a long time “too much weight” had been placed on test and exam results and that this had “increased the pressure on school leaders, teachers and indirectly on pupils to deliver perfect data above all else”. The focus on performance data had also come “at the expense of what is taught in schools”, she confessed.

The proposal is now for schools to be judged on four revised inspection judgements that Ofsted will consult on in the new year. 

New judgements 

  • Quality of education
  • Personal development
  • Behaviour and attitudes
  • Schools’ leadership and management.

 

While welcoming Ofsted’s admission that for a long time “too much weight” has been placed on test and exam results, NAHT deputy general secretary Nick Brook has warned in a BBC article that there isn’t “enough time to introduce change of the magnitude being suggested” for the delivery of a new school inspection framework in September 2019. 

Ofsted proposes a new ‘quality of education’ judgement, which will judge and weigh a school’s curriculum alongside the outcomes pupils achieve.  Nick explained that the short time for consultation and implementation means there’s “a real risk that not all schools will understand it and not all inspectors will apply it consistently”. 

NAHT and other organisations have called for Ofsted to press pause on its proposal for the delivery of a new framework in September 2019, so that the sector can be properly engaged and the system properly prepared for its introduction. 

NAHT’s recently launched report, improving school accountability, contains nine key recommendations for creating better conditions for holding schools to account.  The report had extensive coverage in TES and widespread support for our contention that school accountability does more harm than good. 

We will continue to work with the government on how we can reform school accountability to ensure it helps rather than hinders the development of excellent provision for all children.

First published 18 October 2018