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New Ofsted framework focuses on "substance and integrity"

By Rachel Lawler
children learning to write
Ofsted has opened a consultation on proposals for changes to the education inspection framework, due to come into effect from September 2019.
The proposed inspection framework is said to focus on what children learn, rather than “performance data”.
Ofsted this is in response to its research, which found that early years staff feel under pressure to spend time on paperwork, rather than focusing on spending time “reading to children or playing with them”.
It says that the new framework will aim to address this problem, with a new focus on whether children are being offered a “rich curriculum” and how well it is taught.
Consultation and feedback
Ofsted says it spend more than a year researching for the proposed framework, hosting engagement events and speaking with stakeholders. It has also been tested in a number of pilot inspections.
More events and pilot inspections are planned throughout the consultation, which is open until 4 April 2019.
The new inspection handbooks and final framework are due to be published in summer 2019.
Quality of education
Key changes in the proposed framework include:
  • a new “quality of education” judgement
  • looking at children’s outcomes in context, and whether or not they are the result of a well-deliver, coherently-planned curriculum
  • separate judgements about children’s “personal development” and “behaviour and attitudes”
  • no longer using internal performance data as inspection evidence, to ensure inspection does not create “unnecessary work”
Strong outcomes
Speaking at a launch event with the Sixth Form College Association today, Amanda Spielman, chief inspector at Ofsted, will say: “The new quality of education judgement will look at how providers are deciding what to teach and why, how well they are doing it and whether it is leading to strong outcomes for young people.
“This will reward those who are ambitious and make sure that young people accumulate rich, well-connected knowledge and develop strong skills using this knowledge.”
Spielman will add: “Two words sum up my ambition for the framework: substance and integrity.
“Ofsted is committed to making sure that any changes to the inspection framework and approach are fair, reliable and valid.”

Positive step

Michael Freeston, director of quality improvement at the Alliance, commented: "We welcome the proposed early years inspection framework, which is a real positive step in the right direction.”

However, he added: “Unfortunately, with the review of the Early Learning Goals and the proposed re-introduction the baseline assessment, it’s clear current government policy is at odds with this position. Our concern is that, until those differences are reconciled, there’s a real danger that providers will be caught between being inspected on how their children learn and delivering against an increasingly narrow understanding of what should be taught.”

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