In time for the new school year, Ofsted – the school inspection agency in England – has today announced changes to the framework for inspections, claiming: “It is not just about exam results”.
Although the same grading system will remain in place, the focus of inspections will change towards:
- the quality of education
- behaviour and attitudes
- personal development
- leadership and management
Inspectors will look at how a school contributes to pupils’ broader development, including their character, citizenship and resilience. They will also look at how the school manages behaviour, low-level disruption and bullying, so that parents can be assured that the school is one in which pupils are safe and able to learn.
Inspectors will check that school leaders are behaving with integrity by putting children’s interests first. This includes checking that schools do not enter pupils for qualifications that are inappropriate for the child but that may have a positive impact on the school’s published performance data.
Inspectors will also check that schools are not removing pupils from the school’s roll without a formal, permanent exclusion when this is not in the child’s best interests often known as ‘off-rolling’.
Reports will also be shorter and clearer, telling parents what it’s like to be a child in that school, what the school is doing well and what it could be doing better.
Inspectors will spend less time looking at test data, and more time looking at what is taught and how it is taught. They will consider how a nursery, school, college or other education provider achieves its results.
The organisation claims: We want to make sure that good results flow from teaching a broad, rich curriculum and reflect real learning, not just intensive preparation for a test.
It is not clear whether schools will be penalised if there is clear evidence of intensive test preparation takes place, and is valid for state schools, further education and skills providers, non-association independent schools along with registered early years settings.