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Briefings, news and updates from Ofsted:

Ofsted research: multi-academy trusts – benefits, challenges and functions (July 2019)

Ofsted has launched a report on an investigation into multi-academy trusts: how their central vision and approaches influence day-to-day practice in schools, and to what extent they are having a positive or otherwise impact on the work of leaders and teachers in the schools Ofsted inspects.

Ofsted’s Research – Inspecting Education Quality (July 2019)

Ofsted have published reports which investigate reliable and valid methods for inspectors to assess the quality of education using lesson observation and workbook scrutiny.

On lesson observation, Ofsted developed a detailed rubric to guide inspectors in making informed assessments against a set of indicators under three domains – curriculum, teaching and behaviour.

Ofsted has identified the following eight indicators as featuring substantial or a high degree of moderate reliability across the various analyses carried out. These will be the indicators that Ofsted will prioritise in developing further on pilot visits for the Education Inspection Framework (EIF):

Curriculum domain:

  • Teachers use their subject expertise to provide effective learning opportunities.
  • The lesson content is appropriate to the age group and does not lower expectations.
  • There is a logical sequence to the lesson.

Teaching domain:

  • Teachers demonstrate good communication skills.
  • Teachers possess good questioning skills.
  • Teachers give explicit, detailed and constructive feedback in class.

Behaviour domain:

  • Teachers create supportive classrooms focused on learning.
  • Pupils’ behaviour contributes to the focus on learning.

On workbook scrutiny, four indicators were selected for the pilot study (summarised on page 5 of the report):

  • Building on previous learning
  • Depth and breadth of coverage
  • Pupils’ progress
  • Practice

According to Ofsted, the general finding derived from HMI feedback in the pilot study is that the piloted indicators are a step in the right direction. They helped HMI focus on the essential aspects of the quality of education, while minimising the effect of irrelevant factors such as neatness or handwriting. The HMI all agreed that using the indicators ‘allowed them to delve under the surface’.

May 2019 - Publication of the new Ofsted Framework – the substance of education

March 2019 - Ofsted's report - Safeguarding children and young people in education from knife crime

January 2019 - Ofsted’s consultation on the proposed new Education Inspection Framework

February 2018

December 2017

From January 2018:

  • Inspectors will continue to convert short inspections, usually within 48 hours, if they have serious concerns about safeguarding or behaviour, or if they think the quality of education provided by a school has declined to inadequate 
  • When there are no significant issues with safeguarding or behaviour, but inspectors identify potential concerns about either the quality of education or leadership and management, the inspection will not convert. Instead, Ofsted will publish a letter setting out the school’s strengths and areas for improvement. A section 5 inspection will then take place later, typically within 1 to 2 years. This will give the school time to address any weaknesses and seek support from appropriate bodies. In the meantime, the letter will be clear that the school’s current overall effectiveness judgement has not changed. 
  • When inspectors have reason to believe that a school may be improving towards an outstanding judgement, Ofsted will publish a letter confirming that the school is still good and setting out its strengths and priorities for further improvement. A section 5 inspection will then take place within 1 to 2 years, giving the school time to consolidate its strong practice. However, requests from schools for early inspections will be considered. The majority of short inspections will confirm that the school remains good and, as now, Ofsted will return to carry out another short inspection after approximately 3 years.