27 Jun

What do we know about the changes to the Common Inspection Framework September 2015 and what will the impact be?

After public consultation OFSTED are steaming ahead with providing a ‘Better Inspection For All’.  The changes, which will come into force from September 2015, offers OFSTED an opportunity to modernise the process of inspection.  It will also see the removal of Independent Service Providers (ISPs) and will hopefully deliver consistency in the interpretation of criteria and judgements, thus encouraging the validity of the inspection purpose. Announcing the radical reforms in February National Director of Schools, Sean Halford, said;

“Our Common Inspection Framework will ensure a consistent approach to Ofsted inspections. It will focus on keeping young people safe, the breadth of the curriculum in schools, the relevance of courses and training in further education and skills, and the quality of early learning.” (OFSTED press release 3 February 2015)

So what do we know about this new framework?  Very little has been published apart from the basic information that one Common Inspection Framework will cover all remits including Further Education, Early Years settings, Sixth Forms and Private Providers, but will be underpinned by separate handbooks to recognise the differences between the remits.  Good schools and Colleges will have short inspections covered by separate handbooks and will take place every three years.  This will ensure that declining standards are identified quickly and professional conversations take place regularly between senior leaders and inspectors.
Non-association independent schools will be inspected within three years using the new Common Inspection Framework and the revised Independent Schools handbook.  All handbooks will have been tested during pilot inspections and then subject to revisions following feedback from HMI’s and the providers who agreed to participate in the pilots.
OFSTED have announced that web based good practice materials to help providers prepare for new short inspections will be published later this month.  Regional conferences are planned to launch the inspection materials.
Additional Inspectors – in future known as OFSTED Inspectors – have gone through a further selection process and will now be contracted directly to the OFSTED brand; not through the regional ISP consortiums.  Their training will commence in July and August.  OFSTED also want to expand the number of current practitioners on inspection teams.

Subject to final confirmation, the new judgement criteria are likely to be:

  • Effectiveness of leadership and management;
  • Quality of teaching, learning and assessment;
  • Personal development, behaviour and welfare, and
  • Outcomes for children and learners.

The expectation is that whatever the remit being inspected, individual grading of lessons will not be part of the inspection process.  We will have to wait until the publication of the materials to form opinions on the new handbook and to listen to the feedback from settings who are inspected next term.