Ofsted unveils proposed new inspection framework


Ofsted has unveiled the draft of its new inspection framework, designed to enhance how reviews of schools will take place from September.

A consultation process is now underway to assess the shake-up of the system, which includes plans for inspectors to spend more time in schools and for ‘collaborative’ preparation.

Inspections of schools rated ‘good’ are to be spread across two days rather than one, while there will also be a focus on the quality of education that is delivered.

Behavioural management will also be considered, and inspectors could arrive for on-site preparation sessions within just several hours of school leaders being told of an inspection. 

Taking a more curriculum-focused approach will also see inspectors attempting to tackle schools that narrow the curriculum by ‘teaching to the test’.

‘Substance and integrity’

Ofsted chief inspector Amanda Spielman has worked for several years to develop the new framework, and she said two words sum up her ambition for it: “substance and integrity”.

“The substance that has all children and young people exposed to the best that has been thought and said, achieve highly and set up to succeed,” she explained.

“And the integrity that makes sure every child and young person is treated as an individual with potential to be unlocked, and staff as experts in their subject or field, not just as data gatherers and process managers. And above all that you are rewarded for doing the right thing.”

Ms Speilman added that changes to the inspection framework will be “fair, reliable and valid” and that there will be a focus on whether a schools approach is “leading to strong outcomes for young people”.

She said the new framework is “all about raising true standards” while the most senior inspectors are expected to spend more time in schools.

Plans for preparation

The proposals for on-site inspector preparation periods will see the lead inspector spend an afternoon in a school prior to inspecting in the next day.

Ofsted’s deputy director for schools, Matthew Purves, said the afternoon sessions will be “about preparing with the school” to finalise the schedule of inspection and check important documents.

He added that feedback from the schools involved in pilots of the proposals was “really positive”.

Meanwhile, education secretary Damian Hinds has said the Department for Education is “fully united” with Ofsted to ensure pupils receive an “ambitious, broad and balanced curriculum”.