Ofsted launches consultation on how it inspects from early years to further education.


Ofsted has launched a consultation on plans to change the way it inspects early years settings, schools and further education and skills providers. The aim is to shift the focus of inspection towards what children learn in the curriculum, rather than performance data. There will be a new separate behaviour judgement to reassure parents that behaviour is good.

The revised education inspection framework is out for consultation until 5 April and will take effect from September.

Ofsted said that its research has found that some children are having their teaching narrowed in schools to boost performance table points. This means that in early years, for example, instead of feeling able to spend time reading to children or playing with them, nursery staff feel pressured into completing endless documentation to demonstrate each stage of a child’s development. In many primary schools, rather than reading a wide range of books, children are instead spending time repeating reading comprehension tests. Source: Nursery World, 16th January.

The key proposals for consultation include:

  • a new ‘quality of education’ judgement, with the curriculum at its heart

  • looking at outcomes in context and whether they are the result of a coherently planned curriculum, delivered well

  • no longer using schools’ internal performance data as inspection evidence, to ensure inspection does not create

  • unnecessary work for teachers

  • separate judgements about learners’ ‘personal development’ and ‘behaviour and attitudes’

  • extending on-site time for short inspections of good schools to two days, to ensure inspectors have sufficient opportunity to gather evidence that a school remains good

  • The ‘leadership and management’ judgement will remain and will include looking at how leaders develop teachers and staff, while taking their workload and wellbeing into account.

Inspectors will continue to make an overall effectiveness judgement about a provider. All judgements will still be awarded under the current four-point grading scale of outstanding, good, requires improvement, and inadequate.

There will be handbooks for each of the different sectors, for early years, schools, further education and skills, explaining how inspectors will go about the inspection.