*Please note that the deadline for submitting your response to Ofsted's consultation has now passed.
Sean Harford, Oftsed's National Director for Education, breaks down the new September 2019 framework for primary schools.
I hope you're already aware that we're in the middle of a public consultation on the new Ofsted framework, which we're calling the education inspection framework (EIF). We've been all over the regions meeting teachers, governors, headteachers, associations, subject groups and many others to discuss our thinking on the framework.
We based the draft framework and inspection handbooks on a great deal of research. We'd really like to know what you think of them, so please do contribute to the consultation before the closing date on 5th April.
A question we are often asked is, 'why are we making these changes?' The simple answer is because we want to move the focus of inspection back to the real substance of education - to what children are learning through the curriculum. We think that there has been a shift, and too much of one, towards the use of data for measuring performance and progress in schools. This has led to a tendency for 'teaching to the test', and to the narrowing of the curriculum in many schools, both primary and secondary.
It's led to requests by senior leaders for 'data drops' - sometimes twice a term - from teachers, adding to their workload and taking their attention away from teaching. Some of the systems that produce these data are based on inconsistent assessments of pupil progress, which makes the information unreliable. Additionally, it can put pressure on teachers to show that pupils have made 'good progress'. So, we are proposing that inspectors do not look at a school's internal performance data.
The new framework sets out a shift in emphasis. It allows inspectors and school leaders to have different conversations, asking: 'Are pupils offered a broad and rich curriculum?' Inspectors will be looking for evidence that teaching doesn't just move randomly from topic to topic, but that teachers, within a well-structured, coherently sequenced curriculum build upon learning to further establish concepts and ideas. We want to see clear leadership of the curriculum and how it supports pupils who may need extra help.
The curriculum will help to inform our judgement on 'quality of education'. We'll also be looking at three other main areas during inspection: the behaviour and attitudes of pupils; their personal development; and the leadership and management in the school.
At primary level, we want to see children read really well. They won't do this by working through endless comprehension tests. They'll do it by being read to, by being encouraged to read across a wide range of subjects and having their imagination fired by a surrounding culture of reading and enjoyment of books.
Safeguarding continues to be an important focus for inspection. Are staff identifying children who may be at risk? How well does the school work with other agencies? How are the processes and staff managed?
We've got an eye on new Ofsted myths, too. There won't be an 'Ofsted curriculum', no matter what some consultations may tell you. We do not expect you to revise or re-plan your curriculum. The national curriculum, the early learning goals and post-16 study programmes are already a good basis.
Please contribute to our consultation by 5th April here. Look out for our response to the consultation, which will be published in May.*
Did you know that Rising Stars offer a broad range of non-core teaching programmes for primary schools? Find out more here.
To support children's personal development, you may also be interested in our Character Education: Star Awards Programme.