An essential document for all schools to have read before an inspection is the Subsidiary Guidance given to inspectors. This document provides a range of detailed guidance to inspectors on how to approach each area of an inspection including the use of data. Here we have summarised the key points that all schools need to take on board.
Achievement of pupils at the school
The use of prior performance data
Inspectors will be wary of judging schools to be outstanding where recent past performance data, such as below average value added or declining attainment indicators, gives rise for concern. Inspection evidence which overrides such concerns would need to be compelling in order to label a school as outstanding.
Inspectors will compare a school’s proportions of pupils making expected progress and the school’s proportions of pupils making more than expected progress in English and in mathematics with the national figures for each starting point. Consistency in being close to or above the national figures for pupils at each prior-attainment level, including the most able, is an important aspect of good achievement.
Inspectors will take account of the performance of the group for whom the pupil premium provides support, however small. Within this group, the progress in English and in mathematics of each different prior-attainment group should be considered and compared with that of the other pupils in the school.
Until the full 2013 performance data are available, inspectors will compare a school’s 2012 performance data with the 2012 Department for Education (DfE) floor standards when making any statement about the floor standards in inspection reports. This is because the progress elements of the 2013 floor standards will not be available until later in the academic year. The performance tables are due in December 2013 for KS2 and in January 2014 for KS4.
- Primary schools will be below the floor standard if <60% achieve L4+ in reading, writing and mathematics, and they are below the median for progression by two levels in reading, writing and mathematics.
- Secondary schools will be below the floor standard if <40% achieve 5+ A*-C grades (or equivalent) including English and mathematics, and they are below the median for expected progress in English and mathematics.
For 2012 performance:
- Primary schools are deemed to be below floor standards when all of the following criteria apply:
- >60% achieve level 4+ in both English and mathematics
- >92% (median percentage) make expected progress in English
- >90% (median percentage) make expected progress in mathematics.
- Secondary schools are deemed to be below floor standards when all of the following criteria apply:
- >40% achieve 5+ A*-C grades (or equivalent) including English and mathematics
- >70% (median percentage) make expected progress in English
- >70% (median percentage) make expected progress in mathematics.
The achievement of disabled pupils and those who have special educational needs
Inspectors will take into account the proportion of pupils who have levels of attainment below those expected for their age and where these are related to cognitive difficulties. The judgement on these pupils’ achievement will be based on an evaluation of their learning and progress relative to their starting points at particular ages, and any assessment measures held by the school. When reaching judgements in these schools, inspectors will consider the impact of these pupils on the school’s overall attainments.
Inspectors will look at the way the school identifies pupils who have special educational needs. They will aim to find out whether pupils have been identified as having special educational needs, when in fact their progress has been hampered by weak teaching.
Inspectors will also note if pupils who receive additional intervention are demonstrating accelerated or sustained progress. This should indicate whether the intervention is effective.
Evaluating the school’s use of the pupil premium
Impact of the pupil premium and Year 7 catch up
Inspectors will be considering the difference between the average points scores in each of English and mathematics in national assessments at the end of KS2, and at GCSE at the end of KS4 for the following groups:
- free school meal (FSM) and non-FSM pupils
- children who are looked after (CLA) and non-CLA pupils
- children of service families and all other pupils.
Gaps identified in performance in English and mathematics between pupils who are supported through the pupil premium and all others will be expressed in terms of National Curriculum levels or a period of time (such as ‘two terms’) at the end of KS2, or GCSE grades at the end of KS4.
The following table shows how these APS gaps might be expressed using plain language and simple fractions:
|Key Stage 2|
|Key Stage 4|
So for example: if the APS gap between pupil premium children and all others is 1 point at KS2, this may also be described as a gap of 1 term, one third of a year or 4 months.
Guidance for junior schools
Key Stage 1 assessment results are the most important source of evidence on prior attainment. However, inspectors will take account of any assessments the school makes of pupils’ attainment on entry and check that the school has quickly and correctly identified those pupils that did not meet the Key Stage 1 thresholds and, conversely, those that exceeded the thresholds.
Guidance for mainstream schools with specially resourced provision for disabled pupils and those who have special educational needs
Inspectors will undertake an analysis of the achievements of resource base pupils, which is distinct from other pupils identified with special educational needs in the mainstream school. They will identify the reasons for any difference between the achievements of pupils in resource-based provision and other pupils in the school, including those who are disabled or have special educational needs, and will carefully consider the impact that a large provision might have on the overall attainment and progress data of the whole school.