Ofsted head: Shorter inspections will not mean less time in schools

2018-12-13

Ofsted head Amanda Spielman has told MPs that inspectors will spend more time in schools under new plans, despite the shortening of inspections.


The reassurances come after the parliamentary public accounts committee revealed concerns over whether one-day inspections of ‘good’ rated schools were enough.


In September, it was suggested that such an approach is not a long enough period of time for inspectors to make a “meaningful assessment of a school’s performance to help schools improve”.


Ms Spielman has responded to the committee by letter, confirming that the new framework for inspections is to “review the role played by short inspections” in schools.


Plans for the new framework are set to focus on the approaches that schools take to the curriculum and Ms Spielman is also keen for inspectors to spend more time in schools.


“I want to use the opportunity presented by the new framework to maximise the amount of time that inspectors spend on site, engaging with school leaders, teachers and pupils,” she wrote.


The letter also includes details of pilot inspections that Ofsted has been conducting during autumn 2018, alongside plans for further reviews in spring 2019.


Ms Spielman did say that the preliminary results from the pilots have “given me confidence” that a greater portion of time can be allocated to on-site activities during inspections.


She said that short inspections can provide the assurances that are required to reveal that a school is still ‘good’, but recognised that a full inspection would provide more detail and assurance.


The letter also details plans from Ofsted to replace the system that gathers the opinions of parents as part of the school inspection process, known as Parent View.


Ms Spielman said a new system will provide a “new style report” and will help to “increase the volume, quality and diversity of views” that are collated.


A public consultation on the new framework is due in January, while the final framework should be in place in time for the new academic year in September 2019.


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