Our Draft Ofsted Inspection Framework (2019) breakdown is here. Aidan Severs @thatboycanteach has broken down the 100s of pages of information that were released on the 16/01/2019 into bite size chunks for you to take a look at.

On the 16th January 2019, Ofsted published their new proposed inspection framework along with some supporting documents, including inspection handbooks.

Currently, the framework is a draft, with no changes taking effect until September 2019. However, between its release and April 5th, Ofsted is looking for feedback on their proposals before finalising and publishing the framework in Summer 2019. Anyone can respond to the consultation, either by email, in writing, or via an online questionnaire.

One headline Ofsted are keen to make us aware of is their confidence that “…this will be the most evidence-based, researched and transparent framework in our history.” By way of support of this statement, they have also published a paper which presents the research evidence underpinning the new proposed education inspection framework.


These Are The Sections We’ll Cover In Our Summary Of The New Ofsted Framework…

We know how busy it can be when working in a primary school, so to speed up your read, we’ve broken the blog down by sections, each of them clickable, so find the piece you are most interested in and get reading!

• What changes have been proposed in the new 2019 Ofsted inspection framework?

• Changes to when an inspection can take place

• An introduction to the judgement categories

• New judgement category 1 – Quality of education

• New judgement category 2 – Behaviour and attitudes

• New judgement category 3 – Personal development

• New judgement category 4 – Leadership and management

• A new focus on reducing teaching workload

• The change to how Ofsted wish to be perceived

• Inspections now focusing with greater specificity on distinct phases (EYFS, Sixth form and specialist providers)

• Next steps after the announcement

• A free 2-page downloadable breakdown of the framework to hand out to SLT and Governors


What Changes Have Been Proposed In The New Draft 2019 Ofsted Inspection Framework?

The new draft framework does contain some radical changes, mainly with regards to the key judgements that will be made, but the rest of the document remains largely the same as the 2015 framework.

School Leadership free

Breakdown Of The 2019 Ofsted Inspection Framework Announcement

Download the key elements from the government announcement here, in the form of an easy to read, 2 page PDF. Perfect to share in your SLT and governor meetings!

If you take only 5 things away from this, the headline facts are:

  1. Inspection timings have changed and Ofsted could arrive within 2.5 hours;
  2. There’s no getting away from the Ofsted grades; they stay the same: outstanding, good, requires improvement or inadequate;
  3. The judgement categories have been completed revised and will now cover: Quality of Education (this is a big one!), Behaviour and Attitudes, Personal Development, Leadership and Management;
  4. Some key themes emerge (none of which will be a surprise for those who read our previous blog based on Amanda Spielman’s October speech: reducing workload for teachers, an emphasis on good character and resilience among pupils, tackling off-rolling, and of course a broad, well-balanced knowledge-rich curriculum;
  5. Despite what some have said, we’re not sure from the revised framework that Ofsted inspectors will be ‘ignoring’ data, merely that they will look to understand the purpose and usefulness of internal pupil data.

Bonus fact: This IS a consultation, Ofsted appear to be listening, and maybe it will turn out to be an inspection framework of substance and integrity as Amanda Spielman hopes…

Amanda Spielman giving the ofsted announcement

And now those changes to the Ofsted Inspection Framework in detail..

When Will An Ofsted Inspection Take Place?

With regards to the ‘when’ of an Ofsted inspection, the handbooks shed some light:

• Inspection can take place at any point from five school days after the first day pupils attend that term.

• Notably, the length of time a Section 8 ‘short inspection’ is proposed to be lengthened to 2 days, rather than 1 day, to ensure ‘good’ schools are ‘good’  within the proposed framework.

Ofsted could arrive within 2.5 hours. To do this, they will contact the school on the day of the inspection by 10am via telephone, and they will then arrive at 12.30pm the day before the inspection is due to take place.

• On the afternoon prior to inspection, the lead inspector will have an on-site conversation with school leaders and will complete certain preparations on-site – they must leave by 5 pm.

However, it also clarifies that ‘Ofsted may conduct inspections without notice. When this happens, the lead inspector will normally telephone the school about 15 minutes before arriving on site.

New Key Judgement Categories Have Been Introduced

Whilst schools will still be graded as either outstanding, good, requires improvement or inadequate, it is against quite different criteria that they will be judged.

The most obvious changes are the removal of a specific category for outcomes and the broader category ‘quality of education’.

@AndrewCookHMI delivered a Myth Busting presentation about the 2019 Draft Framework

Let’s look at the four new categories, exploring both what the inspectors will be looking for, and how they intend to make their judgements:

Quality Of Education

In this category are the three ‘I’s: Intent, Implementation, Impact. These three act as subcategories and will not be graded separately. This is the category that is probably going to cause the most interest in the new framework and requires some time to familiarise oneself with.

Intent – What Inspectors Will Be Looking For

Here the focus is on the curriculum and the aspirations schools have for their learners (for the sake of expediency this is now Ofsted’s catch-all term for children, pupils, students, apprentices, trainees and adult learners).

Under the new proposed framework, schools should have high and equal expectations, providing an ambitious curriculum which is studied by all.

There appears to be an emphasis on the curriculum being knowledge-rich; however, the handbook insists strongly that ‘this must not be reduced to, or confused with, simply memorising facts. Inspectors will be alert to unnecessary or excessive attempts to simply prompt pupils to learn glossaries or long lists of disconnected facts’.

The other main aspect of the curriculum is that it must deliver cultural capital defined in the handbook as ‘the essential knowledge that pupils need to be educated citizens, introducing them to the best that has been thought and said and helping to engender an appreciation of human creativity and achievement.’

However, there is also mention of the inclusion of skills teaching within the curriculum, particularly regarding preparation for both future learning and employment.

A key message that rings loud and clear throughout the documents is that the curriculum:

• Must be broad and balanced;

• Should provide a wide range of subjects;

• Should have an emphasis should be on how coherent and well sequenced it is, with knowledge, skills and cultural capital all appearing to play a part in this.

How ‘Intent’ Will Be Judged

In the handbook, it is made explicit that ‘Ofsted will judge schools that take radically different approaches to the curriculum fairly. They will assess a school’s curriculum favourably when leaders have built a curriculum with appropriate coverage, content, structure and sequencing and implemented it effectively.’

Inspectors will draw evidence about leaders’ curriculum intent principally from discussion with senior and subject leaders focusing on endpoints, specific and appropriate content and the sequencing of the content.

Implementation – What Inspectors Will Be Looking For

Under the Implementation heading, we see attention being drawn to how teachers and other teaching staff do their job and how leaders support them, particularly regarding subject knowledge, presentation of material, assessment, feedback, responsive teaching and recall of material.

With regards to how material is presented (or taught) the handbooks clarify that ‘Ofsted does not advocate that any particular approach should be used exclusively in teaching. Different approaches to teaching can be effective’.

It is interesting to note here that reading gets its own bullet point: ‘Inspectors will make a judgement on the quality of education by evaluating the extent to which a rigorous approach to the teaching of reading develops learners’ confidence and enjoyment in reading. At the early stages of learning to read, reading materials are closely matched to learners’ phonics knowledge’.

The reading focus is repeated both under the Impact heading and in the handbooks (where there is also a special mention for maths, clarifying that in good schools learners will be ‘able to apply mathematical knowledge, concepts and procedures appropriately for their age.’).

How ‘Implementation’ Will Be Judged

Inspectors will draw evidence about curriculum implementation from discussions with curriculum and subject leaders and teachers, observations of and interviews with pupils or classes, scrutiny of the pupils’ work, and reviews of schemes of work or other long-term planning.

There are some interesting notes in the handbooks which suggest that evidence of good work in progress could result in a ‘Good’ judgement even if not fully implemented.

TSL Context

The proposed framework states that: ‘Those pupils behind age-related expectations are provided with the opportunities to learn the mathematical knowledge and skills that are necessary to catch up with their peers’, and this is something we specialise in here at Third Space Learning. To find out a little more about how we apply the EIF to the way we teach maths here at TSL, take a look here. 

With our 1-to-1 maths interventions having shown that they can deliver 7 months’ progress in just 14 weeks, our programmes demonstrate a school’s efforts to help pupils who are behind AREs to catch up with their peers.

Book your no commitment 10 minute demo to discover the impact our 1-to-1 interventions can have for your pupils – it’s never been easier or more affordable. Call us on 0203 771 0095 or contact us here to learn more about how we can help turbocharge maths in your school!

Impact – What Inspectors Will Be Looking For

Under this heading we get our first mention of data: ‘learners develop detailed knowledge and skills across the curriculum and, as a result, achieve well.’

But the focus isn’t solely on data.

The new proposed framework also outlines there should be focus on doing things that ‘allow [learners] to go on to destinations that meet their interests, aspirations and the intention of their course of study’. The emphasis certainly isn’t solely on what we’d class as academic success and there is a recognition of the fact there are more ways of defining success.

How ‘Impact’ Will Be Judged

In order to evidence this inspectors will not be using schools’ internal assessment data as evidence and will only look at nationally generated performance data such as that which is available in the IDSR.

They will also look for first-hand evidence of how pupils are doing, drawing together evidence from the interviews (including discussions with pupils about what they have remembered about the content they have studied), observations, work scrutinies and documentary review (including pupils’ exercise books or folders) as well as nationally published information about the destinations to which pupils progress when they leave the school. In primary schools they will also listen to a range of pupils read.

_GillJonesOfsted_and_other_HMIs_have_been_meeting_
@GillJonesOfsted and other HMIs have been meeting to remain updated in advance of September’s updated EIF launch.

Quality Of Education Summarised

In short, Ofsted will be looking for schools that are offering a well thought-out, knowledge-led curriculum They are looking for a curriculum that also that promotes mastery of skills, whilst allowing pupils opportunities.

This should include ones that simulate  – especially tasks that simulate experiences pupils are likely to encounter in later life, be it employment-focused or to do with day-to-day tasks like financial planning or keeping a home – to revisit topics to embed and reuse knowledge and skills acquired as part of the scheme of following a knowledge-rich, expert-led curriculum.  

Behaviour And Attitudes – What Inspectors Will Be Looking For

Here we have a brief category with just 4 points for inspectors to consider – 4 points which are expanded upon in the judgement criteria in the handbooks.

Rather notably some new buzzwords and phrases have crept into the statements under this heading. In the 2015 framework the term ‘high expectations’ didn’t appear with reference to the behaviour, attitudes or conduct of pupils. The word ‘positive’ was previously used to refer to the general culture of the school but now we see it with reference to learners’ own attitudes.

We also see other words which have gained prominence recently in education, particularly relating to aspects of good character:

‘[learners are] committed to their learning, know how to study effectively (there are clear links here to the cognitive science research that Ofsted have been taking notice of), are resilient to setbacks and take pride in their achievements’ – as well as a curriculum rich in knowledge, skills and cultural capital, so it seems that Ofsted also want to value good character education too.

Under the Behaviour and Attitudes heading we also find a new mention of bullying and discrimination which was previously only mentioned in the leadership and management category – perhaps inspectors may begin to make judgements on this based more on the experience that learners speak of rather than on what leaders say or think they are doing.

How ‘Behaviour And Attitudes’ Will Be Judged

In order to make judgements with regards to bullying and discrimination and – hopefully – its lack, inspectors will hold discussions with pupils (from a range of different backgrounds and who have different experiences of the school’s approach to behaviour) and individual interviews with staff (particularly trainees, supply staff, NQTs, administrative support staff and catering staff). They will also use information from pupil and staff surveys and observations.

In addition to focusing on policies and approaches to minimise or eliminate bullying and discrimination, they will evaluate the effectiveness of exclusion and alternative strategies to exclusion.

Personal Development – What Inspectors Will Be Looking For

Another brief category with another 4 points, and with further mention of character development (resilience, confidence and independence) and the importance of learners’ discovery of their interests and talents, we also find a mention of how schooling should be preparation for life, and thankfully, this doesn’t specify as adults meaning that one conceivable reason for education is to help learners to navigate life in the here and now.

Here we also find reference to British values (democracy; the rule of law; individual liberty; and the mutual respect for and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs and for those without faith) as well as a mention of how learners keep themselves mentally and physically healthy. There is also an interesting removal of the following statement: ‘understanding of how to keep themselves safe from relevant risks such as abuse, sexual exploitation and extremism, including when using the internet and social media’.

Perhaps the removal is a positive step – was the old statement a hangover from an earlier mentality of victim blaming?

Now the emphasis is on what adults need to do (it is outlined under the Leadership and Management judgement that leaders have a responsibility to safeguard learners) rather than on the personal responsibility of learners to keep themselves safe.

But should it go one step further to teaching learners about how not to be a perpetrator of these crimes?

How ‘Personal Development’ Will Be Judged

To make judgements in the personal development category, inspectors will look at the range, quality and take-up of extra-curricular activities, the promotion of British Values, the development of pupils’ character, the quality of debate and discussions that pupils have and the pupils’ understanding of how equality and diversity are promoted and celebrated.

Leadership And Management – What Inspectors Will Be Looking For & How It Will Be Judged

Leaders will be judged largely in the same way as they were under the previous framework. Inspectors will make decisions about whether or not leaders have:

• An ambitious and inclusive vision;

• A concern for the continuing professional development of staff, with a focus on training rather than on performance management;

• Ensured there is no cheating – it is a shame that this has to be made clear, but hopefully it will stop some current pernicious practice;

• Engaged with their community, particularly learners and staff;

• Acted in order to protect staff;

• Ensured high levels of safeguarding.

Governance will also come under review during inspections, as previously.

The sources of evidence specific to leadership and management will be meetings with leaders (including MAT senior staff if appropriate – including the CEO or the CEO’s specified delegate) to discuss how well they know the school, meetings with governors and interviews with staff and pupils.

Inspectors will also look at responses to the staff and pupil questionnaires and Parent View.

There Will Also Be An Increased Focus On Reducing Workload

A final and encouraging point to note is that throughout the draft framework document and the draft handbooks there are references to workload, placing the onus not only on leaders but also on teachers.

With reference to assessment and the data collection, input and analysis it involves, Ofsted now suggest that leaders ‘do not use it in a way that creates unnecessary burdens for staff or learners’.

The framework and handbooks also contain more general outlines for leaders saying that they should be aware of the main pressures that are on staff and take account of them, realistic and constructive in the way they manage their staff (including their workload), and that any workload issues are consistently dealt with appropriately and quickly.

It’s not just workload that leaders need to protect their staff from, the framework also states that leaders should ‘protect their staff from bullying and harassment.’ The criteria for outstanding leadership also include the statement: ‘Staff consistently report high levels of support for well-being issues.’

In order to lead on improvements to workload problems, Ofsted also point out that:

• Teachers should not be selecting resources and materials which create unnecessary workload;

• That teaching shouldn’t be unnecessarily elaborate; and

• That differentiated approaches which require a great deal of planning time aren’t necessary.

Everything Else You Need To Know – The Most Important Of The Other Proposed Changes

There were of course a number of other proposed changes hidden away in the annals of the document shared by Ofsted, but to save you looking searching through each and every one of them, the best of the rest of the document can be found here.


Take a closer look at how we here at Third Space Learning  apply the EIF to the way we teach maths here at TSL, check out our post which looks into this in a little more detail.


There’s Been A Change In How Ofsted Wish To Be Perceived

Gone is the heading ‘How does inspection seek to promote improvement?’

Its replacement ‘A force for improvement’ is much more of bold statement about how Ofsted perceive themselves, and how they want to be perceived.

Following their revised tagline, Ofsted set out their stall – their mission statement, if you like:

‘Ofsted exists to be a force for improvement… the primary purpose of inspection under this framework is to bring about improvement in education provision.’

Inspections Will Focus With Greater Specificity On Distinct Phases – EYFS & Sixth Form Setting Particularly – Or Providers Of Specialist Education

Under the heading ‘Arrangements for different types of provision’, particularly under the subheadings ‘Schools with early years settings’ and ‘Schools with sixth forms’ there is new, additional clarification that separate grades will be given as part of inspections carried out under section 109(1) and (2) of the Education and Skills Act 2008.

This piece of legislation relates to the ability of the Secretary of State to direct the Chief Inspector to inspect a registered independent educational institution at any time.

Ofsted have also done away with their list of groups of learners which outlined groups such as those with SEN as ones whose outcome inspectors would pay particular attention to. Elsewhere there are minor changes in wording and the deletion of potentially unnecessary clarifications.

The sections entitled ‘The frequency and type of inspections’ and ‘What judgements will be made under short inspections?’ in the 2015 framework are no longer present in the current version. Instead, all details related to these headings are to be found in the handbooks.

Proposed Amendments to Independent Schools Inspections by Ofsted

For specialist independent schools subject to Ofsted inspection – such as faith schools and performing arts schools – inspectors will judge the school primarily on the non-specialist core element of the curriculum. In instances where non-specialist areas of the curriculum are limited, inspectors will instead consider how the the core curriculum has been integrated within the specialist curriculum more broadly.

If Ofsted conducts an emergency inspection at a private school, although it will not result immediately in an updated grade should improvements or deterioration of provision is noted. However, Ofsted is proposing to “recognise and acknowledge sooner” if changes – positive or negative – are clearly discernible by accelerating the schedule to bring about a standard inspection.

What Actions Should You Now Take

Step 1: Take some time to read the framework and relevant handbooks, particularly if you are in the process of curriculum design, and consider its implications, but remember it is only a proposed draft so you don’t need to rush and change everything.

Step 2: Consider your own response to the proposed changes. Are there things you’d like to see in there? Are there items that you think shouldn’t be there? Does the new framework have enough scope for inspecting different subjects across the curriculum?

@OfstedNews are seeking responses on their plans for the new inspection framework
@OfstedNews are seeking responses on their plans for the new inspection framework.


Once considered, why not lend your voice to the consultation? This is only a proposed framework and the voice of the profession could make a difference.

Step 3: Explain to key stakeholders who are aware of the new proposed framework, particularly governors, what the main changes might be, explain how your school is already meeting the standards and reassure them that there need be no knee-jerk changes in the meantime.

Step 4: In reading the documentation did anything strike you as being a good point for change in your school? If so, don’t change for Ofsted’s sake but perhaps take the time now to begin to effect positive change – use the EEF’s Putting Evidence To Work guidance to make sure it’s done in a measured, manageable and effective manner.

Helpful Links

Ofsted’s new proposed inspection framework;

• Supporting documents, including inspection handbooks;

• Ofsted’s research findings to draw up the proposed framework;

• Respond to the proposed framework here;

• The presentation from Ofsted’s Autumn 2018 Curriculum Workshops offer a clear insight into the inspectorate’s thinking regarding Curriculum design and purpose with regards to the Quality of Education judgement.


Further Reading:

The New Ofsted Inspection Framework 2019: What You Need To Know About It

How We Support Schools Before, During And After Our 1-to-1 Maths Interventions

The 20 Maths Strategies To Ensure KS2 Progress


To find out how Third Space Learning, the leading provider of 1-to-1 tuition in the UK, can help your school boost your KS2 maths performance, take a look here to find out more.

Aidan Severs , Maths Leader , Assistant Vice Principal

Aidan Severs is a passionate wellbeing enthusiast and Primary Lead Practitioner. He writes for the Third Space blog on KS2 SATs, with a focus on teacher/pupil wellbeing.