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Ofsted drops outcomes from inspection framework

By Rachel Lawler
 
Amanda Spielman Common Inspection Framework
Children’s outcomes will no longer be a focus in Ofsted inspections, under proposed changes revealed today.
 
Ofsted’s chief inspector Amanda Spielman will give a speech to the Schools NorthEast Summit outlining some key changes planned for the Common Inspection Framework.
 
New judgement headings
The biggest change includes the removal of the “pupil outcomes” section. The proposals suggest the judgement headings change from:
 
  • effectiveness of leadership and management
  • quality of teaching, learning and assessment
  • personal development, behaviour and welfare
  • outcomes for children and learners.
to:
  • quality of education
  • personal development
  • behaviour and attitudes
  • schools' leadership and management 
 
Ofsted confirmed to Under 5 that these changes will also apply to early years settings, with a new individual inspection handbook for each sector.
 
2019 consultation
The changes are due to come into place in September 2019, but a consultation on each of the sector handbooks, including for early years settings, will be held in January year.
 
Spielman will say that the proposed changes will “allow teachers and leaders to focus more of there time on the real substance of education”.
 
She will say: “We know that focusing too narrowly on test results can often leave little time or energy for hard thinking about the curriculum, and in fact can sometimes end up making a casualty of it.
 
“The bottom line is that we must make sure that we, as an inspectorate, complement rather than intensify performance data.”
 
Early years concerns
Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Alliance, commented: “We have long called for a shift in the focus of Ofsted inspections away from outcomes and towards the quality of what is being delivered, and so this aspect of today’s proposals does feel like a step in the right direction.
 
“That said, it’s hard to see how this shift aligns with the DfE’s increasingly outcome-focused approach to early years, not least the impending introduction of revised Early Learning Goals which are likely to focus on narrower, easier-to-measure skills like literacy and numeracy over broader development indicators.
 
Schools-focus
“In fact, it’s difficult to understand where the early years fits into this new framework more generally. Instead, the way today’s announcement has been framed by Ofsted very much suggests that these changes were driven by a desire to inspect schools differently, and it’s unfortunately hard not to feel that early years, and the other areas of the education system, weren’t much more than an afterthought.
 
“The Common Inspection Framework was introduced for good reason. If Ofsted is going to make significant changes to the inspection system, it should be driven by the needs and concerns of all education providers, including early years, and not simply what will work best for schools.”