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This edition focuses around some of the early feedback on the new Ofsted regime and if you have observations on the new system (that are printable!) and would help others please leave your thoughts on our website, through Twitter (@infoforschools) or email me personally.
Impact of the new Ofsted regime
According to the Times (14 April 2012) of the 650 schools inspected from January to March, 81(12%) were judged inadequate. 56 were primaries and 25 secondaries. This compares to zero in the same period in 2011. The percentage judged outstanding dropped from 9.4% to 4.8%. Several schools inspected fell 2 grades. All schools judged outstanding in the early inspections also had the quality of their teaching judged outstanding. It is not a pretty picture and is reflected in many of the conversations we have had with schools and LAs across the country.
We can provide you with pointers of how to present your self-review documents and other preparation you might make. We recommend you also make yourself familiar with the guidance given to inspectors and in particular the Subsidiary Guidance to Inspectors. This and other documents can be found in the Ofsted website under Resources – For Inspectors – Maintained school inspections. This guidance gives clear direction on assessing pupil entry points, assessing the performance of SEN pupils, and judging achievement in early years, all through, junior and middle schools. It also provides extra insight on how the inspectors are expected to judge teaching, behaviour and leadership and management.
The consultation of changes to the regime for September has now closed and we will be sending out information on that as soon as it is available. This will include adjustments to the EY inspections to take account of the new assessment scales.
In March, Ofsted published “Schools and inspections.” Here are a number of relevant extracts that you should be aware of:
Lesson observation and feedback
Inspectors have been reminded that the criteria set out in the teaching judgements apply to the quality of teaching overall. The criteria are not a checklist for individual classroom/session observation as it is not necessary that all criteria are applied during each lesson/session. In lessons, the key criterion which underpins each of the criteria for teaching is the impact it has on learning.
Inspectors should make a professional judgement about what constitutes good or outstanding progress in the context of that lesson, with that group of pupils, in the time observed and within the context of the evidence already gathered about the school.
With regard to observations of teaching and learning that are relatively short (less than 25 minutes), the approach explained on page 14 of the Subsidiary Guidance should be adhered to.
‘Where a short observation is made a grade should be given for those aspects that it is possible to evaluate, for example achievement or teaching. Judgements made through short observations can only relate to the part of the lesson observed and not to the quality of teaching in the lesson as a whole.’
In these circumstances, inspectors should feed back something about the quality of what they have seen.
As outlined in Conducting School Inspections, feedback dialogue should address the main strengths and weaknesses of the activity observed, focusing on:
- pupils’ learning and the teacher’s contribution to it
- the quality of what was seen
- how it could be improved
This involves indicating whether achievement, teaching, behaviour and safety, as observed in the lessons, are outstanding, good, satisfactory or inadequate. In focusing on ‘the quality of what was seen’, inspectors must feed back their judgements on the different aspects of the lesson. This extra guidance on short observations in based on the promise that inspectors will make graded judgements on achievement, teaching, and behaviour and safety, as seen in lesson observations.
Appropriate use of exclusions by schools
Ofsted does not specifically monitor schools’ use of exclusions, but in conducting an inspection, inspectors take account of the effectiveness and impact of a school’s use of exclusion, including fixed term and alternative provision. When notified of an inspection, the school is asked to provide ‘all logs that track exclusions, incidents of poor behaviour, incidents of racial abuse and incidents of bullying’ as set out in Conducting school inspections.
The judgement for Behaviour and safety includes an evaluation of how well the school ensures systematic and consistent management of behaviour. Inspectors make this judgement both on the basis of what is seen during the inspection and by taking into account a range of evidence enabling them to judge behaviour and safety over an extended period. Guidance makes it clear that inspectors should consider:
‘the school’s analysis of and response to pupils’ behaviour in lessons over time, for example incident logs, complaints, the use of exclusion, rewards and sanctions rates and patterns of permanent and fixed-period exclusions, including those for different groups of pupils and the impact of the school’s work to follow up and support extended pupils….’
Exclusions in the school represent only one of several strands of evidence inspectors will consider in making the judgement on Behaviour and safety. Inspectors also consider whether the school’s leadership promote good behaviour and safety when making their judgement on the quality of Leadership and management of the school.
Exclusions in the school represent only one of several strands of evidence inspectors will consider in making the judgement on Behaviour and safety. Inspectors also consider whether the school’s leadership programme promote good behaviour and safety when making their judgement on the quality of Leadership and management of the school.
When evaluating the impact of an individual school’s policy and practice with regard to exclusion, inspectors should take into account all available evidence, including rates and patterns of exclusion, and records kept by the school, as well as directly observed evidence.
Safeguarding requirements for schools
The evaluation schedule for the inspection of maintained schools and academies includes, within the leadership and management grade descriptors, the statement that the school’s arrangements for safeguarding pupils meet/do not meet statutory requirements. The statutory requirements refer to those that apply to staff recruitment and child protection arrangements. In the case of staff recruitment, the relevant guidance is Safeguarding Children and safer recruitment in education (2006).
Other child protection requirements are set on in Working together to safeguard children (2010) (DfE). There is also statutory guidance from the DfE, Dealing with allegations of abuse against teachers and other staff (August 2011), which replaces chapter 5 of the guidance Safeguarding children and safer recruitment in education.
Under the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2009, it is a criminal offence for schools or childcare providers to employ a member of staff whom they know to have been barred from such an activity. Employers must refer information to the Independent Safeguarding Authority when they have dismissed an individual, or when an individual resigns, because they have harmed or may harm a child or vulnerable person.
The local authority has a duty to provide model policies and procedures on safeguarding and should therefore be aware of both DfE guidance documents as they are the key guidance to statutory requirements in safeguarding and child protection. However, regardless of the local authority’s procedures, it is the governing body’s responsibility to ensure that safe recruitment checks are carried out in line with statutory requirements, currently set out in Safeguarding children and safer recruitment in education.
It should also be noted that there is no requirement for schools to carry out retrospective checks on current staff, for those employed before March 2002 – the necessary checks are those that were in force at the time the recruitment took place. For those appointed prior to 2002, the requirement was for all staff who worked with children and young people to be checked against List 99. There has never been a statutory requirement for CRB disclosure certificates to be renewed.
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Director – For Schools.
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