More changes to inspection take effect from September 2014

25 Aug

Towards the end of the academic year 2013/14, Sir Michael Wilshaw, HMCI, wrote to the headteachers of schools and academies informing them of changes that were to take effect in the inspection regime from September 2014. In brief, they were as follows.

I           General

(1)        Following consultations with stakeholders, Ofsted will introduce separate graded judgements for the early years and sixth form, which could influence the overall judgement on the school.

(2)          As part of the process inspectors will

(i)            spend more time looking at pupils’ work to see how much progress they are making;

(ii)           talk to the school leaders about the formative (on-going and daily) and summative (end-of-term/end-of year)  assessments that they use;

(iii)          evaluate how well pupils are doing against age-related expectations;

(iv)         consider how the school identifies pupils who are falling behind and those who are most able and what measures are being taken to ensure that pupils of all abilities are being served well by the school; and

(v)          evaluate how the school reports to parents on pupils’ progress.

II          Ofsted’s briefing to its inspectors

In the briefing that Ofsted has given its inspectors, it has made the following points.

(1)        Leadership and Management

To judge the quality of leadership and management, they must evaluate how well:

  1. the school provides all pupils a suitably broad and balanced curriculum and deploys a system of assessment to ascertain what pupils know, understand and do;
  2. the assessment system is linked to the school’s curriculum;
  • the curriculum is taught and shared with parents and carers, to include meeting the legal requirement i.e. making curriculum information available on the school’s website;
  1. the school uses detailed formative and summative assessment to ensure that pupils, teachers and parents know if pupils are achieving the expected standard or if they need to catch up; and
  2. assessment information, including test results, are used by leaders and governors to improve teaching and the curriculum for all pupils.

(2)      Accuracy of Assessment

In evaluating the accuracy of assessment, inspectors will normally consider how well:

  1. any baseline assessment, teacher assessment and testing are used to modify teaching so that pupils achieve the expected standards by the end of year or key stage;
  2. assessment draws on a range of evidence of what pupils know, understand and can do in the different aspects of subjects in the curriculum, for example, by regular testing;
  • teachers make consistent judgements and share them with one another within a subject, across a year-group and between adjacent year-groups;
  1. leaders ensure the accuracy of assessment through internal and external standardisation and moderation;
  2. governors assure themselves of the rigour of the assessment process; and
  3. the school adopts the best practice of working to moderate assessment for year groups and the end of key stages, and to develop common understanding of attainment and share records at points of transfer (within the context of the revised common transfer file).

(3)      Progress

In arriving at judgements about progress, inspectors will normally consider how well:

  1. pupils’ work shows that, where possible, they have the knowledge, understanding and skills expected for their ages as set out by the curriculum and assessment system;
  2. all pupils are set aspirational targets and that they are on track to meet or exceed these expected standards by the end of each key stage;
  • assessment, including test results, targets, performance descriptors or expected standards are used to ensure that all pupils make the progress their teachers expect and that more able pupils do work that deepens their knowledge and understanding;
  1. progress in literacy and mathematics is assessed by drawing on evidence from other subjects in the curriculum, where this is sensible; and
  2. pupils’ strengths and misconceptions are identified and acted on by teachers during lessons, and more widely, to:
  3. plan future lessons and teaching;
  4. administer remedies where pupils do not demonstrate knowledge or understanding of a key element of the curriculum; and
  • deepen the knowledge and understanding of the most able.

(4)      Reporting

In evaluating the effectiveness of reporting, inspectors will assess the way the school reports on the progress and attainment of pupils to parents and carers. Inspectors will consider whether reports help parents to understand how well their children are doing in relation to any standards expected.

III        Last word on No Notice inspections

While no notice inspections are still being considered, Sir Michael is broadening the criteria which determine whether an unannounced inspection is required. Concerns about standards of leadership and management and concerns about the breadth and balance of the curriculum will be important factors.

Further information on HMCI’s instructions to inspectors can be found at here.

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