Following the publication of the new version of the Section 5 and Section 8 School Inspection Handbooks on the 13th October 2017, Helen Jones, Education Services Director for Disadvantaged and Vulnerable pupils gives a summary of the significant changes that will be effective from 30th October 2017.
Helen is a trained lead Ofsted inspector and is accredited to inspect specialist SEN resource provision and independent special schools as well as SEN provision in mainstream schools and academies. She is also accredited to inspect independent schools.
Changes to inspection are minimal but significant so it is important that schools know how these changes will affect them. To help, in the Section 5 handbook, paragraph 29, there is a section where myths are busted.
Ofsted does not:
- look for a particular style of planning, teaching or assessment
- expect individual lesson plans
- expect self-evaluation to be graded or presented in a particular format
- grade individual lessons
- expect leaders to undertake a particular number of observations across the year
- require leaders to provide pay grades for teachers being observed
- expect to see a specified amount or type of work in pupils’ books
- look for a particular form of marking and feedback
- limit the range of evidence used in inspection
- intentionally add to workload
- require schools to predict outcomes
- routinely check personnel files unless there are concerns about safeguarding
- There is no requirement for MATs to maintain single central records (SCR) for all staff. Each should maintain their own. The trustees should be included on the SCR for the MAT
- For academies, inspectors must meet with those directly responsible for management and governance; the CEO as well as the head of school are invited to attend the final team meeting
- The lead inspector can have a telephone call with the Chair of Governors if needed
- All those responsible for governance need to know the outcome of the inspection as soon as possible; they must then keep the outcome confidential until the school has received the final report
If a school has two judgements of RI under the current 2015 Framework, and if leaders can show a reliable upward trend in performance, they may well be judged RI for a third time. There may be monitoring inspection visits from HMI or the school will have a full inspection within two years of the third RI judgement
Section 8 Handbook
The Section 8 handbook reflects the outcomes of the recent consultation on short inspections. If a Section 8 inspection converts to a Section 5 inspection, day two will be within seven working days (previously within 48 hours). If an HMI leads a Section 8 inspection, that HMI will remain as lead for the full inspection. If an Ofsted inspector leads the Section 8 inspection, s/he may or may not lead the full inspection.
Keeping Children Safe in Education remains unchanged.
November 2017 Update
The suggested changes will become custom and practice from January 2018.