To consider a report of the Director of Children’s Services regarding the new Ofsted Education Inspection Framework.
The Committee received a report and presentation (Item 7 in the Minute Book) from representatives of the Director of Children’s Services providing Members with an update on the new Ofsted Inspection Framework 2019.
Members were taken through the presentation slides and the background to the new inspection framework was set out. Members noted that the intention of the new framework was to focus on what mattered educationally, and to seek greater transparency and clarity for schools and inspectors. Attention was also drawn to the focus on moving away from defining educational outcomes solely in terms of performance data results and emphasising the outcomes of education resulting from all their experiences of the curriculum and school life.
The presentation also highlighted that the new framework was very similar to the existing framework and the main features that would remain the same were detailed. Attention was drawn to the references in the draft documentation to poor leadership practices, and Members heard that these related to inclusion and curriculum narrowing. The key changes to the current framework were also highlighted as well as the proposed changes to the administration of inspections. In terms of the proposed changes, Officers highlighted that one of the changes would see Section 8, monitoring inspections lasting two days. The current one day “light touch” was seen as difficult to manage. Other proposed changes were detailed as well as the potential risks of each. Specific changes to the early years and post 16 elements of the framework were set out, and in terms of early years it was heard that there would be a focus on the characteristics of effective learning. It was noted that how children learn, would be given the same importance as what they learnt, and interaction with adults and the environment was also seen as developmentally critical for children. The potential risks to the post 16 elements were detailed, which included limited emphasis on careers and employability and the question of whether sixth forms and colleges were always evaluated consistently.
Officers drew Members attention to the five key consultation questions, and these were summarised. The curriculum would be given prominent attention in judging the quality of education, and key points were raised which included that teaching should ensure learning was challenging and sequentially built upon prior curriculum experiences. In relation to inspector’s evidence gathering, emphasis would be placed on collecting first hand evidence of children’s acquisition of knowledge, understanding and skills rather than internal performance data. Members heard there would be a shift away from focusing on performance data as the key judgement criterion.
Key themes of the proposed framework were set out, and these included behaviour and attitudes, personal development and leadership. It was noted that whilst the framework covered attitudes to learning and behaviour expectations, there was no mention of social emotional and mental health needs, and the issue of exclusion as “last resort” was detailed. Members noted the personal development aspect of the framework and it was heard that currently Personal, Social and Health education were not a part of the statutory curriculum. This meant that, in secondary schools, the content was sometimes covered in tutor time and assembly. New requirements for teaching sex, relationship and health education were proposed.
In concluding, the shift in the framework was explained, as well as the importance of curriculum instead of performance data. It was heard that the proposed framework would place importance on education overall rather than simply the statutory pupil outcomes.
In response to questions, Members heard:
· That gatekeeping was a means of a school preventing children from joining the school and Ofsted should ensure this was flagged and part of the framework.
· That in terms of health, schools could make differences to health outcomes, but at this point the framework is not requesting that inspectors make a judgement on these outcomes but only that provision is in place.
· That the system ‘Parent View’ enables parents to submit views online about their children’s schools, and Ofsted do listen to these.
· That it was important to have joined up working with Ofsted and the Local Authority.
That the Children and Young People Select Committee noted the information received.