The new Ofsted Framework for 2019 is on its way and recent announcements from Ofsted and Amanda Spielman, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector, have highlighted some of the key changes. But is this a welcome change for schools AND colleges? Here’s what Senior Leaders should know at this stage. As more information is released we will provide more guidance.

According to Ofsted’s press release we can expect that ‘these changes will move Ofsted’s focus away from headline data to look instead at how schools are achieving these results, and whether they are offering a curriculum that is broad, rich and deep, or simply teaching to the test’, so what can we take from Amanda Spielman’s most recent speech on 11th October 2018?

What Has Caused Such An Abrupt Change In Focus From Ofsted?

In her speech to the SCHOOLS NorthEast summit, Ms. Spielman discussed both the driving force behind the changes and the perceived benefits.

When speaking on what has inspired the proposed changes to the inspection framework, Ms. Spielman admitted that Ofsted should “be a force for improvement”, perhaps implying that it isn’t currently achieving this.

It would appear that the organisation believes that it is not working to its full potential under the current framework, and she went on to clarify that she believes that:

• Ofsted’s “current model is driving too much workload and much of it falls on the shoulders of classroom teachers.”

• Ofsted inspections focus too much on outcomes which places “too much weight on test and exam results”

• Ofsted inspections haven’t “placed enough emphasis on the curriculum.”

As a result, Ms. Spielman believes that Ofsted’s current working practices have increased the pressure “on school leaders, teachers and indirectly on pupils to deliver perfect data above all else” and that they have led “schools to put overall results ahead of individual children’s needs.” It is these issues that the proposed changes will attempt to tackle.

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Essential guidance, checklists and 10-point action plan for Headteachers and School Leaders written by a former Maths Subject Leader & Former Ofsted Inspector

So What Does The New Ofsted Inspection Framework 2019 Mean For Your School?

If indeed Ofsted can deliver a framework which truly achieves what they say they want to achieve, then there will be several benefits to schools:

• Judgements will be made by shifting the focus from results onto “what is being taught and how schools are achieving a good education”. However, outcomes will still be taken into consideration.

• The playing field should be made more even for schools situated in areas of high disadvantage where the quality of provision is of a good standard.

• Schools should feel empowered to “put the child first” and will be rewarded “for doing the right thing by their pupils.” This in contrast to attempting to achieve good results at the cost of personal development and the delivery of a broad and balanced curriculum. “Those who are bold and ambitious and run their schools with integrity will be rewarded as a result.”

• Workload should decrease amongst teachers as currently “schools inevitably feel they must do a ton of recording and collating of information to present during the inspection.” The intention is that “a focus on substance will help to tackle excessive workload.”

• Schools should feel supported by Ofsted, rather than judged by them, and this should enable a greater number of schools to become outstanding.

How Are Ofsted Planning To Implement These Changes?

In order to do everything mentioned by Ms Spielman, this the proposed 2019 inspection framework has several potential key features. Inspectors, under the new framework, will:

• Spend more time on site “having those professional conversations with leaders and teachers…”. This could mean that less time will be spent before inspections looking at school data before visits are made to schools.

• Look much more at what the curriculum is like and how it is taught.

• Be looking for signs of an imbalance of curriculum and a focus on exam results: Ms. Spielman said that “Ofsted will challenge those schools where too much time is spent on preparation for tests at the expense of teaching.”

• Look for practices based on evidence from research and previous inspections:  “We will be intelligent by basing the framework on research from inspection and other wider research.”

• Focus on what will “genuinely assess quality of education”.


**The TSL Context**

Here at Third Space Learning we are already promoting the values of the proposed changes to the Ofsted inspections, putting a focus on building confidence, vocalisation and positive attitudes towards maths rather than simply focusing on results. All our 1-to-1 maths lessons are built around solid research practices for moving learning forward, and aiding retention in primary maths. 

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!


The 5 Key Things You Should Takeaway From Spielman’s Speech On The Proposed 2019 Ofsted Inspection Framework

Things to note for the new framework, then, are as follows:

• Outcomes will no longer be a standalone judgement.

• The existing quality of teaching, learning and assessment judgement will be broadened to include a quality of education judgement based on the curriculum and outcomes.

• There will be a new judgement isolating behaviour and attitudes.

• There will also be a new judgement isolating personal development.

• Leadership and management are to remain as a key judgement.

To clarify the changes to the existing quality of teaching, learning and assessment judgement, Ms. Spielman had this to say in her speech:

“Under quality of education, we intend to look at 3 distinct aspects. First the intent – what is it that schools want for all their children? Then the implementation – how is teaching and assessment fulfilling the intent? Finally, the impact – that is the results and wider outcomes that children achieve and the destinations that they go on to.”

Could This Spell The End Of Difficult Ofsted Inspections?

Perhaps, for those who’ve experienced some difficult inspections and didn’t love them as much as Chris Dyson, it might all seem too good to be true. Others might regard these announcements with suspicion. In fact, on receipt of this information, certain questions will be asked by most school leaders:

– Does a renewed focus on curriculum (or implementation of the school’s intent) mean that Ofsted will be making judgements about particular pedagogical approach?

– Does this mean that there will be a return to doing things the Ofsted way?

– How will these ideas actually play out in reality?

In her speech Ms. Spielman was keen to point out that:

“We are not talking here about an Ofsted-approved approach… it’s possible to acknowledge a range of successful curricular approaches – approaches that cross any perceived ideological divide.”

So whilst these changes won’t mean schools are inspection free, if Ofsted follow through on their new plan and do it well, it should mean that each inspection better reflects how schools work on a daily basis, not just on exam day. If you are looking for a way to plan for an Ofsted inspection scheduled before the inspection framework is due to change, this Guide to creating a whole school maths strategy is well worth a read. 

What Do You Need To Do As A Result Of This Announcement?

Maybe the three ‘I’s here (intent, implementation and impact) actually have the very real danger of becoming the next thing we have to do for Ofsted. It’s not difficult to imagine the workload created by schools who decide to make this the focus of a new piece of paperwork!

Clearly that isn’t the way to go, but what should school leaders do as a result of these proposed changes?

• Read the HMCI’s commentary on recent primary and secondary curriculum research and the HMCI commentary on curriculum and the new education inspection framework in order to begin to assess current curriculum provision.

• Assess current focus of the school: does the timetable focus more on what will be examined externally? Is teacher workload taken into consideration with current expectations?

• Do very little else – one of Ofsted’s aims does seem to be that schools will do less by way of Ofsted preparation. so to begin to take action as a result of the proposed changes would seem counter intuitive.

Be Aware – Things Could Still Change

All of these changes to the framework are only proposed changes at the moment. Ofsted will launch a consultation on the new inspection framework in January promising that they ‘will consider all responses carefully before finalising the framework.’ 

Look out for further details of the consultation and how you should respond to it in the coming months. The Third Space blog will be your source of information throughout the whole process of the new 2019 Ofsted inspection framework, so make sure you come back in January to learn more.


More on this  topic:
Clare Sealy’s cribsheet for primary school teachers on education bestseller How I Wish I’d Taught Primary Maths.
The future of assessment in primary schools, taken from the Headteachers roundtable summit.

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.