Ofsted has launched a new consultation on proposals to change short inspection of good schools. NAHT is concerned that these proposals will have significant unintended consequences and are not in the interest of schools. We urge all members to make their views known to Ofsted by responding to the consultation. The consultation itself can be completed in under five minutes, and it closes on Wednesday 8 November 2017.
Under Ofsted’s proposals, where inspectors believe a school is no longer good following short inspection, or have been unable to gather sufficient evidence to re-confirm a good judgement during the one-day visit, Ofsted will no-longer convert the short inspection to a full section 5 inspection. Instead, it will return up to three years later to conduct a full inspection and form a judgement. In the meantime, schools will receive a letter that confirms the school officially retains its ‘good’ judgement while setting out the reasons why the inspection team are not convinced this remains the case.
Ofsted believes this will give schools, with the intervention of local authorities and multi-academy trusts, time to improve before the return visit. NAHT believes a ‘non-judgement’ will have significant negative consequences and become an unofficial fifth judgement between good and requires improvement that will be seen as signalling a school in decline. We are concerned it will make it harder, not easier, for school leaders to achieve improvement – for example, schools in these circumstances may find it more difficult to attract good new teachers if the school is perceived to be declining.
Data shows in around a third of inspections that converted, the school goes on to retain a judgement of good (excluding those that go on to become outstanding). In these cases, it is simply the case that inspectors have been unable to gather enough evidence within a one-day window to confirm the school is and remains good. It seems to us deeply unjust that these schools would be forced to deal with the public uncertainty as to whether they are still good, potentially for no other reason than the indecision of an inspection team. Public uncertainty about the quality of education provided by a school is the last thing anyone running a school wants to deal with.
More information regarding Ofsted’s proposals and our concerns is set out in a TES article by NAHT’s deputy general secretary.
The number of responses matters! Please complete Ofsted’s online survey – it will take you less than five minutes.
How: Click on the link below to complete the online consultation. https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/SIGoodSchools
First published 30 November 2017