Accountability, data and Ofsted

includes performance measures

Inspection framework - June 2017

ASCL believes that whilst all schools and colleges are subject to regulatory compliance, this should be decoupled from quality assurance which should be the sole focus of the Ofsted Inspection Framework.

Schools have a central role in teaching children and young people about emotional wellbeing, mental health and resilience alongside supporting them with these issues. Schools must also ensure that they signpost specialist services that are available and make appropriate referrals.

Section 8 to Section 5 conversions - February 2017

We welcome that there is consideration of the effectiveness of Section 8 inspections converting to Section 5, especially in ensuring that all inspectors are fully briefed when joining at the Section 5 conversion stage.

However, we urge Ofsted to communicate proposals for pilot inspections in an open and transparent manner to all schools before embarking on these and then undertake a full review, with feedback from schools, before this becomes the norm.

Separate Ofsted Grade on the Curriculum - October 2014

In a school-led system, it is for each school to determine the curriculum that meets the needs of its students in particular contexts.

A separate grade for curriculum would imply compliance with a set view of an imposed curriculum which may not be in the best interests of individual students. Judging the curriculum as part of leadership and management ensures it is for senior leaders and governors to determine the curriculum for their students.

Separate Ofsted Grade on the Curriculum - October 2014

We support the principle of system leadership in a self-improving school led system and where this is effective, it should be recognised. However we do not think it should be a requirement in formulating a judgement on leadership and management.

SICI Report - October 2014

ASCL welcomes the contribution that the SICI Report makes to a more considered and evidence-based approach to the role of inspection in school improvement. We note the growing trends identified in the report towards clear criteria for school accountability, the promotion of best practice and the evidence of a link between inspection and school improvement.

However inspection alone does not improve school performance. High impact and high stakes inspection regimes can be counter-productive and we note that many high performing school systems do not have formal school inspection. School leaders must be involved in shaping and influencing the education policies for which they are held to account. The evidence in the report of considerable variability in this respect is a concern.

Inspection – February 2014

ASCL’s position is that inspection is essential to the accountability framework and should be one of the major drivers of school improvement. The teaching profession needs to have confidence in the inspection process and inspectors need to be able to report independently without fear or favour on the standards and quality of all parts of the education service.

Fairness, consistency and transparency must underpin the inspection process so that parents have reliable information about the education their children receive, and schools must be able to trust inspectors to give balanced judgements which reflect authentically the school’s work and which contribute to further improvement. Like any other public body, the work of Ofsted should be subject to regular, independent review.

Inspection – December 2013

ASCL agrees that inspection should be rigorous and challenging, but believes that it must be rooted in professional judgement. More time should be provided to allow inspectors to share their initial hypothesis with schools that could then either endorse the analysis or produce evidence to disprove it. It is essential that the inspectorate maintain their independence and do not become an instrument of government policy.