Ofsted has announced the results of its consultation on changes to the way it inspects schools. The changes come into effect from 1 September 2012. The two key ones to note are:
- “Satisfactory” grade changes to “Requires Improvement” with a three or four-year window for improvement to “Good” to be achieved
- No-notice inspections will not now be the norm, as had been previously indicated, but the new short-notice is likely to mean a phone call the afternoon before.
Ofsted’s consultation, ‘A good education for all’, was launched in February 2012. The 12-week consultation received over 5,000 responses. Read the responses here.
Sir Michael Wilshaw, HMCI, said that inspectors’ evaluation of the progress made by pupils and learners would be central to their judgment on whether a school is providing a good education. “This means if pupils are making good progress, a school can be found good or better even where attainment is below average.”
From September 2012, the ‘satisfactory’ grade will be replaced with ‘requires improvement’ and inspection reports will be clear about what needs to improve.
Ofsted will re-inspect those found to ‘require improvement’ sooner than under current inspection arrangements. Schools will have a full re-inspection within two years.
From September, Ofsted will work with schools found to ‘require improvement’ in much the same way as it does with schools found to be inadequate: checking action plans, monitoring progress and re-inspecting within a shorter period of time.
If a school has been judged to require improvement at two consecutive inspections, and is still not providing a good education at the third, Ofsted is likely to find the school to be inadequate at that inspection. This means it will be placed in ‘special measures’ unless there are exceptional circumstances. Ofsted will therefore expect schools to improve to ‘good’ within four years.
Inspectors will focus on the quality of teaching but Ofsted does not expect to see any particular teaching methodology. From September, only schools with outstanding teaching will be awarded Ofsted’s ‘outstanding’ grade. (This does not mean, however, that every lesson seen during an inspection needs to be outstanding. )
Inspectors will evaluate the robustness of performance management arrangements and consider whether there is a correlation between the quality of teaching and salary progression.
Under the new arrangements, schools will receive almost no notice of an inspection with inspectors calling headteachers the afternoon before an inspection takes place. Ofsted proposed conducting school inspections without any notice but listened to headteachers’ concerns about this during the consultation. “Calling the working day before an inspection will enable headteachers to make any necessary logistical arrangements including notifying parents and governors of the inspection. Parents can be reassured that inspectors are seeing schools as they really are.”
- The consultation responses outlining the changes to come into effect from 1 September 2012 for schools, further education and initial teacher education can be found on the Ofsted website at www.ofsted.gov.uk.
- Executive summaries for the three consultation responses will also be available on the website.
- Responses to Ofsted’s consultation ‘A good education for all’