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New school inspection framework – update May 2011 (Extract from Schools and Inspection, June 2011)
Following a series of seminars and workshops during the spring term and involving over 40 HMI, Ofsted ran a series of consultative, unreported pilot inspections in a small number of schools. During these, the headteachers and senior leadership teams worked with inspectors to consider how some of the consultation proposals might work in practice. This work contributed to the development of a draft Evaluation schedule and a modified version of Conducting school inspections for the forthcoming pilot inspections.
A programme of pilot inspections to test out the proposed framework commenced on 23 May. Over 150 inspections are planned, led by both HMI and additional inspectors from our inspection service providers. Lead inspectors taking part received face-to-face training from senior managers involved in the project. In addition, all headteachers from the schools to be inspected and senior officers from their local authorities (if appropriate) have been briefed on the pilot arrangements. Working closely with colleagues from the inspection service providers, Ofsted will evaluate the new arrangements, gathering the views of schools and inspectors as the pilot inspection programme rolls out. Ofsted will also be analysing the responses to the consultation exercise and setting out proposals in the light of consultation responses. The outcomes of the pilot inspection evaluations and the consultation exercise will further inform the development of the new inspection framework. In July, the evaluation report on the consultation and the pilots will be published, with recommendations for the new framework.
All HMI attending the school remit conference on 19 July will be informed of the progress of the new framework and will have an opportunity to discuss aspects of those developments. Arrangements are in place for senior colleagues from the inspection service providers to be in attendance.
Ofsted plans to publish the new framework and evaluation schedule in September and to provide training for inspectors and briefings for schools and local authorities, starting in October .
We have agreed with the minister to focus school inspection on four areas:
The school self-evaluation form (SEF) for maintained schools and is to be withdrawn from September 2011. Inspectors will continue to make full use of the SEF during school inspections during the present academic year. We will consider carefully how inspectors will manage school inspections when the forms are withdrawn.
Self-evaluation has improved dramatically since Ofsted started to assess schools on how well they review their own performance. It is important that both maintained and independent schools tailor the self-evaluation process to their own circumstances and continue to evaluate their performance.
Michael Gove has announced that he is asking Ofsted to stop using the self evaluation form. It is described as, “The next stage in a rolling programme of reducing bureaucracy”.
Guidance from the DfE states that:
Focus Education will, of course, continue to work with schools that require support on their SEF for this school year. As always, we will support schools in their wider self evaluation; regardless of whether or not this is linked to the SEF. Focus will be holding conferences and training input later in the year which will help schools demonstrate their self evaluation in a way which will fit the demands of the new inspection framework and be user friendly and useful for the school. If you require any further details about the services we offer please see our website: www.focus-education.co.uk or call 01457 821818.