Ofsted Consultation 2019 Results: Changes To The Draft Framework

On May 14th 2019, the new 2019 Ofsted Framework and Ofsted consultation results were published, and this final version of the inspection framework is the one that will govern all schools from September 2019.

This final new Ofsted framework 2019 was decided upon after a consultation period which received over 15,000 responses from both individuals and organisations, and as a result of the respondents questions and queries, Ofsted have made a number of changes to the proposed draft Ofsted inspection framework.

What Are The Changes To The Inspection Framework & Handbook Following The Ofsted Consultation 2019?

The main changes are:

  • ‘Good’ Small Schools (150 Or Fewer Pupils On Roll) Will Avoid 2 Day Inspections
  • On-Site Preparation Plans Have Been Scrapped
  • Schools Will Have Time To Make Curriculum Changes In Response To The Framework
  • How Headteachers Use Their Internal Data Will Be Assessed
  • Ofsted Will Now Check Whether Bullying Is Tolerated In Schools, Not Whether It Exists
  • Any Up-To-Date Private School Judgements Will Be Delayed Until 2020
  • Inspectors Will Look At Whether Or Not Reasonable Adjustments Have Been Made For SEND Pupils
  • Ofsted’s Stance On Exclusions Is That Schools Follow The DfE Guidance
  • Pupils’ Mental Health Will Be Taken Into Account In Some Grade Descriptors

Download Free Resources

Ofsted School Inspection Checklist

New For 2019 - checklist of items you'll need to prepare for the inspection

Download Free Now!

Here is more information about the key changes teachers and schools need to know about since Ofsted’s consultation in 2019:

1. ‘Good’ Small Schools (150 Or Fewer Pupils On Roll) Will Avoid 2 Day Inspections

In the initial inspection framework Ofsted proposed plans to increase the amount of time inspectors spend in previously ‘good’ schools, and these plans will go ahead despite many respondents opposing it.

More than ½ of the respondents opposed a move to increase the ‘short inspections’ from one to two days, and there was particular concern from primary schools with 6/10 opposing the proposal due to the increase in workload it could place on smaller schools.

What Does This Mean For Schools?

Ofsted have said that schools with Ofsted ratings of ‘Good’, or non-exempt schools with 150 or fewer pupils on roll will continue to receive a 1 day inspections as opposed to the proposed 2 day inspections.

2. On-Site Preparation Plans Have Been Scrapped

The draft inspection framework proposed that inspectors would arrive at a school the afternoon before an inspection to do all of their preparation on-site. The logic for this decision was that inspectors would be able to have more detailed discussions with headteachers before the inspection began.

This proposal drew considerable opposition from headteachers as many thought that it amounted to an earlier start, whilst others said it constituted a no-notice inspection due to the fact that inspectors could arrive in as little as two and a half hours after the initial phone call.

This proposal was opposed by ¾ of respondents.

What does this mean for schools?

After the uproar that came from the consultation period, in the new 2019 framework Ofsted have scraped the on-site preparation plan and replaced it with a 90 minute phone call between the lead inspector and the schools headteacher one day before the inspection begins.

3. Schools Will Have Time To Make Curriculum Changes In Response To The Framework

With the majority of respondents backing the new ‘quality of education’ judgements they will now be implemented. However, there were concerns that schools may want to review their curriculums in response to the new framework, and that they may not have time to do so before it comes into force in September.

What does this mean for schools?

Ofsted are planning to “phase in” part of the new 2019 framework which looks at the “intent” of schools curriculums.

They stated that during this transition period the judgement “will not be negatively affected if it is clear to an inspector that leaders have a plan for updating the curriculum and are taking genuine action to do so”.

Ofsted will review this transitional phase in the summer of 2020.

Read more

4. How Headteachers Use Their Internal Data Will Be Assessed But Not The Data Itself

Although it was opposed by ⅔ of respondents, Ofsted is pressing ahead with its plans for inspectors to not look at a schools internal data during inspections.

They have however made clarification in the new inspection handbook to “try to ease concerns” raised by those who objected.

What does this mean for schools?

The clarification made in the handbook recognises that school leaders take from “a variety of sources when considering pupil performance, including internal assessment information” and it explains that inspectors will review the impact of those actions without reviewing the assessment information itself.

For further information on the how the EIF is applied by Ofsted inspectors, read this review of over 40 likely questions to be asked on an Ofsted Deep Dive, what the ‘Ofsted maths’ approach is, as well as the support available from Third Space for those wondering about the implications of applying the EIF in mathematics in their school.

5. Ofsted Will Now Check Whether Bullying Is Tolerated In Schools, Not Whether It Exists

In the draft framework Ofsted said that they would be looking for an absence of bullying in determining how to grade a school on the behaviour and attitude of its pupils.

This prompted concerns from some that schools would simply hide or fail to report any bullying that is taking place, thus making the checks pointless.

What does this mean for schools?

Ofsted agreed that the concerns raised around this point “may be justified” and has therefore changed its criteria to be on: “whether or not providers tolerate bullying, harassment, violence, derogatory language and discriminatory behaviour and, crucially, how swiftly and effectively they take action if these issues occur”.

In addition, they said: “We have also made changes to the personal development grade criteria to allow inspectors to properly recognise the importance of high-quality pastoral support.”

6. Any Up-To-Date Private School Judgements Will Be Delayed Until 2020

Originally, in the draft framework, Ofsted proposed that it would begin to issue up-to-date judgements following emergency “additional inspections” of the private schools that it inspects.

Currently, Ofsted simply rules whether or not the independent school standards are being met but does not issue schools with an upgraded graded judgement.

What does this mean for schools?

Ofsted announced that it will proceed with the proposal after receiving some “very strong support” for it during the consultation.

They have however said that “designing the most effective way of doing this will take some time”, and as a result they will not implement the changes until late 2020.

7. Inspectors Will Look At Whether Or Not Reasonable Adjustments Have Been Made For SEND Pupils

During the consultation period, respondents raised concerns that the new framework would not work well for special schools or for SEND provision in mainstream schools.

What does this mean for schools?

The revised schools handbook makes it very clear that when inspectors evaluate samples of pupils and this includes pupils with SEND, they will look at whether reasonable adjustments have been made in accordance with the Equality Act and the SEND code of practice.

It is also noted that SEND pupils often have significant and complex vulnerabilities and can face additional safeguarding challenges, and this is something that inspectors will take into account while understanding that SEND pupils will not necessarily have lower starting points than their classmates.

Ofsted have rephrased their ‘quality of education’ grade descriptors to be clear that “pupils with SEND in an outstanding school should achieve exceptionally well, and that lowered expectations for these pupils are not acceptable” and that “good schools should be able to show improvement in the behaviour and attendance of pupils who have particular needs.”

8. Ofsted’s Stance On Exclusions Does Not Change As Per DfE Guidelines

Ofsted stated that some of the respondents to the proposed framework called for greater focus on the way in which exclusions are used, and they wanted to ensure that schools exclusion policies and practices are operating within the legal framework.

Other concerns raised around the topic of exclusions in schools were regarding the profile of those pupils that were being excluded (and whether this raises any equality issues), and whether or not internal exclusion and ‘isolation booths’ are able to operate outside the legal framework for exclusions whilst still having a major impact on learners.

What does this mean for schools?

In the new 2019 framework, Ofsted said that their school inspection handbook closely matches the DfE’s statutory guidance on exclusions, and it is clear that exclusions must be legal and justified.

They also said that inspectors will ask schools to provide records and analysis of exclusions, pupils taken off roll, incidents of poor behaviour and any use of internal isolation.

9. Pupils’ Mental Health Will Be Taken Into Account In Some Grade Descriptors

When the consultation was taking place, the mental health charity Young Minds ran a campaign to encourage members of the public to respond to the consultation calling for greater focus on learners’ mental health in education inspections.

The campaign called for explicit reference to mental health to be included in the key judgements for ‘personal development’ and ‘leadership and management’.

What does this mean for schools?

Ofsted have stated that they “recognise the important role that education providers can play in identifying and supporting learners suffering with mental health issues to access the support that they need” and that they “also recognise the importance of education providers not putting undue pressure on learners to achieve test and examination results.”

They have said that the education inspection framework is built around factors that have the greatest protective effect for all children: good education, good pastoral care and a culture that promotes a strong connection between children and learners and their community (in this case their school or provider), and as a result they have made some amendments to the framework.

With the ‘personal development’ grade descriptors they have changed the wording to better reflect the importance of high-quality pastoral support.

To get a judgement of good in the  ‘leadership and management’ grade descriptors, schools must have a focus on “the importance of leaders engaging with learners and parents, acting with integrity, creating an inclusive culture and supporting all learners to complete their programmes of education.”

Read more

A few final observations from the new handbook

With the new school inspection handbook running at 97 pages, there is a lot of information to take in. Luckily for us, Headteacher Michael Tidd let his Year 6 class get on with their SATs papers while he took the more challenging task of reading into the detail. 

Here are some of his key takeaways.

> 2 Or 3 Data Collection Points Per Year Should Be The Maximum

Ofsted Inspection Framework Handbook 2019 Data Analysis

On this Tidd said: “The handbook is absolutely clear that 2/3 data points a year is a reasonable maximum, so you’d best have a good argument if you’re asking teachers for more than that.”

> Schools Do Not Need To Do Endless Analysis Of Pupil Premium Groups

Ofsted Inspection Framework Handbook 2019 Pupil Premium

Tidd states: “There isn’t a need for endless data and analysis of PP groups – just use what you put in your strategy document. (Which frankly is burdensome enough as it is!)”

> The Outstanding Judgement Criteria Has Changed

Ofsted Inspection Framework Handbook 2019 Changing Judgements

Tidd said: The outstanding judgement is now more demanding rather than the best-fit model. (Which partly explains Amanda Spielman’s remarks about out-of-date outstanding judgments).

> Headteachers Can Tell All Staff The Provisional Results Of An Inspection

This conclusion was reached after Sean Harford, Ofsted’s National Director, stepped in to clear up initial confusion surrounding the wording used in the handbook.

Ofsted Inspection Framework Handbook 2019 Announcing Inspections

Tidd commented on the above image with: “Does this mean that non-SLT staff can or cannot be told a judgement before it’s confirmed? Second sentence seems to contradict the first? Or maybe headteachers can decide whether cleaners count as senior personnel?”

Clarification came from Sean Harford, Ofsted’s National Director, Education

Sean Hartford Comment On Ofsted Inspection Framework 2019

These are the key takeaways for schools from the Ofsted consultation 2019, but if there is anything you think we may have missed you can join the conversation on our Twitter or Facebook pages.

Helpful Links

Third Space Learning Upsell Section


Every week Third Space Learning’s specialist school tutors support thousands of students across hundreds of schools with weekly online 1 to 1 maths lessons designed to plug gaps and boost progress.


Since 2013 these personalised one to one lessons have helped over 150,000 primary and secondary students become more confident, able mathematicians.


Learn about the scaffolded lesson content or request a personalised quote for your school to speak to us about your school’s needs and how we can help.


FREE Ofsted Deep Dive Questions: Preparation And Discussion Framework

Questions are taken from those that have turned up most frequently in recent Ofsted Deep Dives, as provided to us by teachers from inspected schools, following the current Ofsted Education Inspection Framework.

Many of the questions apply across other subjects - not just maths!

Download free