Ofsted chief makes inspection framework workload promise


Ofsted chief inspector Amanda Spielman has moved to assure school leaders that the new inspection framework will cut teacher workloads.

She conceded that the current inspection regime needs to be changed, as teachers are currently picking up the majority of additional work related to inspections.

Ofsted is currently working on the development of the new inspection framework which will focus on how schools deliver the curriculum and on the “substance” of education.

Workload has been at the forefront of concerns relating to inspections, with education secretary Damian Hinds and several teaching unions voicing their fears.

However, Ms Spielman moved to quell those fears in an address at the Schools NorthEast summit in Newcastle.

“With teacher workload and retention such pressing issues, I am firmly of the view that a focus on substance will help to tackle excessive workload,” she said.

“It will move inspection more towards being a conversation about what actually happens in schools. Those who are bold and ambitious and run their schools with integrity will be rewarded as a result.”

Putting a focus on substance

Ms Spielman added that the new framework will “actively discourage unnecessary data collection” as the inspectorate is keen to put the focus on the “substance” of the education being delivered.

“It should reward school leaders who are ambitious for their pupils, rather than those who jump through hoops,” she explained.

She also told head teachers that the plans should not be delayed, telling them that it will be “the most researched, evidence-based and tested framework in Ofsted’s history”.

Part of Ms Spielman’s speech also addressed concerns that the inspectorate will have a preferred approach to education, although she was adamant that will not be the case.

“We are talking about an approach that leaves plenty of space for diversity, but nevertheless makes it possible to recognise and discourage things that just aren’t good enough,” she said.

The new inspection will include a quality of education assessment to replace the ‘teaching, learning and assessment’ and ‘outcomes for pupils’ judgements that are part of the current set-up.

It will focus on the impact of what schools teach, as well as on implementation and the intended learning outcomes.

Ms Spielman said the move will enable Ofsted to recognise schools that prioritise key aspects of the curriculum and to challenge those that put too much emphasis on exam preparation at the expense of teaching.