Feedback wanted on changes to Ofsted inspections

Ofsted has launched a consultation into how it intends to change the inspection framework from September 2019.

The revised framework focuses more on inspecting what children learn through the curriculum, rather than over-reliance on performance data and exam results.

The change is to make sure that young people are not having their teaching narrowed in schools in order to boost performance table points.

Instead of taking exam results and test data at face value, Ofsted will look at how a nursery, school, college or other provider’s results have been achieved – whether they are the result of broad and rich learning, or gaming and cramming.

The consultation document, online survey, and draft handbooks can be accessed from 10:30 on 16 January at, as well as a research overview commentary and school inspection update.

Ofsted’s curriculum videos can be accessed via Ofsted’s YouTube channel and curriculum slides via SlideShare.

The key proposals for consultation include a new ‘quality of education’ judgement, with the curriculum at its heart.

It will look at outcomes in context and whether they are the result of a coherently planned curriculum, delivered well.

The framework proposes to no longer use schools’ internal performance data as inspection evidence, to ensure inspection does not create unnecessary work for teachers.

It will also include separate judgements about learners’ ‘personal development’ and ‘behaviour and attitudes’.

Extending on-site time for short inspections of good schools to 2 days, to ensure inspectors have sufficient opportunity to gather evidence that a school remains good.

The ‘leadership and management’ judgement will remain, and will include looking at how leaders develop teachers and staff, while taking their workload and wellbeing into account. Inspectors will continue to make an overall effectiveness judgement about a provider. All judgements will still be awarded under the current 4-point grading scale. Parents will still get the information they value and understand.

The new framework builds on our existing expertise but marks a change in emphasis towards the substance of education. The proposed changes to the framework will make it easier to recognise and reward good work done by schools in areas of high disadvantage, by tackling the perverse incentives that leave them feeling they have to narrow the curriculum. Shifting the emphasis away from performance data will empower schools to always put the child first and actively discourage negative practices such as off-rolling.

Ofsted has also responded to the demand for parents to give better information about how well behaviour is managed in a school. A new separate behaviour judgement will assess whether schools are creating a calm, well-managed environment free from bullying. Alongside that, proposals for a ‘personal development judgement’ will recognise the work schools and colleges do to build young people’s resilience and confidence in later life – through work such as cadet forces, National Citizenship Service, sports, drama or debating teams.