Help and advice

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  • To grade or not to grade?

    Leader article December 2014

    Tony Thornley shares his insights into what an outstanding school looks like and why best practice demands more than ticking Ofsted’s boxes.

  • Sixth-form scrutiny

    Leader article February 2015

    How are inspectors awarding the new numerical grade for sixth forms? Suzanne O’Farrell digs into the detail.

  • Updated Ofsted handbooks and ‘myths’ guidance - including the EBacc

    Advice July 2018

    Ofsted has published an updated school inspection handbook for Section 5 (full) inspections and Section 8 inspections, ready to start in September 2018.

  • GCSE results - Ofqual analysis

    Advice September 2016

    Ofqual has published analysis of this year’s GCSE results.

  • Managing Changes to Curriculum and Assessment for Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4

    Guidance paper March 2014

    Changes to the National Curriculum, assessment and qualifications are extensive. This guidance provides an overview of the changes and proposes a strategic planning cycle that schools may wish to use between now and September 2016 to prepare for the changes.

  • Inspections update

    Advice January 2015

    Ofsted has published Issue 1 of the School Inspection Update, which is guidance for inspectors and details key areas of focus such as IAG, SMSC, governance, outcomes for groups, and disqualification by association, warning notices and the 2014 performance measures.

  • New Ofsted guidance

    Advice December 2015

    Ofsted has published new guidance which outlines the timing of inspection for schools that change their status. It sets out how Ofsted will select new schools for inspection starting from the 2015/16 academic year.

  • A lighter touch

    Leader article September 2014

    Suzanne O’Farrell looks at the changes to Ofsted inspections being introduced this year ahead of a new framework in September 2015.

  • Ofsted: Schools inspection policy FAQs

    Advice February 2014

    Ofsted has produced a series of frequently asked questions (FAQs) which focus mainly on the judgements around the quality of teaching and progress and these can be found on the Ofsted website.

  • Changes to Ofsted inspections in the Midlands

    Advice June 2014

    As of 9 June, Ofsted will be piloting a change to inspections in the Midlands.

  • A lighter touch - inspections

    Leader article April 2015

    Schools rated ‘good’ are the focus of the most important change to the Ofsted framework this year with more emphasis on professional dialogue.

  • Brief encounters

    Leader article September 2015

    The impact of leadership is the key evidence that inspectors will be seeking under the new shorter Ofsted inspections. Suzanne O’Farrell explains this and other significant changes to the framework.

  • Updated Ofsted guidance

    Advice July 2014

    HMCI, Sir Michael Wilshaw has written a letter to all schools

  • Ofsted: short inspection consultations

    Advice October 2017

    Ofsted published the outcome of its consultation on the conversion of short inspections in September. Following feedback, Ofsted has now published a second set of proposals and ASCL Inspections and Accountability now provides a summary of the consultation documents.

  • Inspections – What’s the outcome?

    Leader article October 2014

    Individual lesson grades have been dropped, so now inspectors are gathering evidence from a range of activities and lesson observations to judge the quality of teaching. Suzanne O’Farrell examines the implications.

  • Impact is what counts

    Leader article December 2014

    Workload pressures in schools are exacerbated by the often arbitrary demands of ‘compliance’, says Brian Lightman. The government needs to recognise the fact and take a grown-up approach to accountability and inspection.

  • Ofsted consultation: Short inspections of good schools

    Advice July 2017

    Ofsted’s consultation on Short inspections of good schools closes at 11.30pm, 18 August 2017. The consultation seeks your views on proposals for changes to the short inspection approach for good maintained schools and academies from October 2017.

  • Ofsted update

    Advice February 2014

    Ofsted has issued guidance to inspectors – Why do Ofsted inspectors observe individual lessons and how do they evaluate teaching in schools? – stating that when observing lessons, they should not give an overall grade for the lesson and nor should teachers expect one.

  • ASCL self evaluation tool

    Advice April 2018

    Building on previous self-evaluation (SEF) tools created by consultant Tony Thornley, ASCL’s Inspection & Accountability Specialist, Stephen Rollett has developed an April 2018 (SEF 2018) update to ASCL's framework of SEF tools to support school leaders.

  • Ofsted clarification on inspection

    Advice October 2014

    Ofsted have published a new document, ‘Ofsted inspection - clarification for schools’.

  • Ofsted inspectors: South East England

    Advice July 2017

    The Ofsted Director for the South East is keen to recruit some recently retired heads, or those who will be retiring in the next year or so to train and work as Ofsted inspectors. Ofsted is keen to increase the number of inspectors who are current headteachers or who have recently retired.

  • Ofsted inspections

    Advice November 2016

    ASCL Inspections and Accountability Specialist Stephen Rollett responds to questions raised by ASCL members regarding Ofsted inspections

  • Powers of intervention

    Leader article September 2014

    Events towards the end of the last school year have made the basis and extent of powers of intervention in schools of greater interest, as Leora Cruddas explains.

  • FE and Skills Inspection Handbook

    Advice May 2018

    Ofsted has now updated its inspection handbook. Key changes include the provision that providers judged ‘Good’ for overall effectiveness at their most recent inspection will now usually be inspected within five years.

  • Amendments to Ofsted guidance April 2014

    Advice May 2014

    Ofsted has made some minor changes to its subsidiary guidance and handbook in April. There is a new paragraph to ensure ‘Inspectors clearly understand the governance arrangements for a school and that they identify and engage with the right people’.

  • Inspection

    Policy paper June 2015

    Inspection is a key part of the accountability system of schools and colleges in England. Accountability is the obligation of an individual and organisation to account for its activities, accept responsibility for them, and to disclose the results in a transparent manner.

  • Join the conversation about school inspection

    Advice November 2016

    Ofsted’s National Director, Education Sean Harford has a highly active Twitter account, with much of the conversation centred on Sean’s continuing quest to dispel old myths about Ofsted inspections.

  • Ofsted myth-busting information

    June 2016

    Ofsted is running a campaign – #OfstedMyths – as part of its aim to dispel myths that surround school inspections and reduce unnecessary teacher workload.

  • Pilot changes to section 8 short inspection conversions

    Advice February 2017

    Ofsted is currently trialling changes to the way section 8 short inspections are converted to section 5 full inspections. It is emphasised that these do not alter the Common Inspection Framework and the changes only apply to section 8 short inspections which convert to section 5 full inspections.

  • Summary of the new Inspection Framework for September 2015

    Advice September 2015

    ASCL Inspections Specialist Suzanne O’Farrell has compiled a summary of the main changes to the Inspection Framework.

  • New Ofsted myth busting information

    Advice January 2016

    Ofsted has updated its website to include the latest myth busting information on inspections.

  • Ofsted: 101 ideas to help you manage inspection

    Advice January 2018

    Schools should not have to spend lots of time preparing for inspection, but there are some things leaders can do to manage the process effectively. In our new guide ASCL’s Inspection and Accountability Specialist Stephen Rollett shares his top tips to help you through the visit and beyond.

  • Progress reports

    Leader article March 2016

    Marie Cordey highlights the trends emerging from Ofsted full and short inspections since the new framework was introduced last September.

  • No notice inspections of behaviour

    Advice February 2014

    Ofsted has reiterated its commitment to a rolling programme of no notice inspections of behaviour that can be triggered by parental concerns over discipline or as a result of a recent Ofsted inspection.

  • Inspection, Oversight of and Intervention in Schools

    Guidance paper December 2014

    This guidance provides a factual overview of the respective roles of Ofsted, regional school commissioners and local authorities in relation to schools they maintain.

  • Parent View

    Advice November 2015

    ASCL has been working closely with Ofsted to ensure that Parent View is as helpful as possible for members.

  • Summary of the Key Changes to the School Teachers Pay and Conditions Document 2015 and 2014

    Guidance paper September 2015

    Pay progression linked to performance for all pay progression has been in place for all teaching staff since September 2013.

  • Rapid school improvement

    Advice July 2016

    The Education Development Trust has published a report on Rapid School Improvement. The report is important reading material for all school leaders and policy makers in England.

  • RAISEonline update

    Advice July 2017

    The RAISEonline service will close on Monday 31 July. It is important that you save any data you need from RAISEonline such as school summary reports before this date.

  • HMCI announcement

    Advice January 2014

    Sir Michael Wilshaw announced a review of how inspectors will judge training providers.

  • 2016 secondary inspection dashboards update

    Advice March 2017

    Inspection dashboards for secondary schools have now been updated in line with validated data.

  • Root causes

    Leader article October 2014

    Andrew Thraves looks at how attitudinal surveys can help senior leaders understand the causes of challenging behaviour and provide evidence of improvement when inspectors come calling.

  • We’re in this together

    Leader article March 2016

    ASCL Director of Policy Leora Cruddas looks at the different roles played by inspection and peer review in a self-improving system and examines three peer review models.

  • Coasting Schools Consultation

    Guidance paper November 2015

    This guidance paper is relevant to senior and system leaders in maintained schools in England. It outlines the DfE’s proposed definition of a ‘coasting’ school and details the consultation process.

  • Inspection windows

    Advice April 2018

    Ofsted has announced important changes to inspection windows, which take place with immediate effect.

  • Inspections update: November 2017

    Advice November 2017

    Ofsted’s November School Inspection Update has been published and contains helpful messages regarding KS3 curriculum, prior attainment (including special schools), and short inspection conversions.

  • KS4 Inspection Data Summary Reports (IDSR)

    Advice January 2018

    Ofsted has published its new-look Key Stage 4 report which replaces the old ‘inspection dashboard’. Primary IDSRs were launched in the autumn term and data on secondary schools has now followed suit.

  • How inspectors should be using data

    Advice November 2014

    A helpful summary about how inspectors should be using data and a broad overview of the proposed changes to inspection for September 2015

  • Inspections update - March 16

    Advice March 2016

    The latest issue of Osted's School Inspection Update is now out.