I hope you've all had an enjoyable break over the summer holidays. In preparation for back to school we have published our updated Section 5 and Section 8 school inspection handbooks. As promised earlier this year, we remain committed to making as few changes as possible to these documents.
The important thing to make clear is that our expectations for schools remain unchanged. The updates in the section 8 handbook are simply to make sure that it is in line with changes to statutory requirements, notably the monitoring of schools causing concern in response to the Education and Adoption Act 2016. The minor revisions made in the section 5 handbook are mainly to reflect the latest education policy.
There are also a few small points of clarification on some aspects in the framework to make sure that our information for inspectors and schools is as clear as possible.
The main updates that we have made to the two handbooks are outlined below.
- In the section on seeking views during inspections, we have updated information about how staff and pupils are consulted during inspections to reflect the fact that the surveys are now online.
- In the ‘schools causing concern’ section, we have made changes to guidance on monitoring inspections of grade 4 schools to take into account the recent legislative changes and the government’s new Schools Causing Concern guidance.
- Under ‘what happens during the inspection’, we have clarified details about who inspectors need to meet with to inspect governance at the school.
- Under ‘effectiveness of leadership and management’, we have added a reference to inspectors having consideration for governors’ development in their role as part of the effectiveness of school leadership.
- In the ‘outcomes’ section, we have amended the grade descriptors to reflect changes to national assessment and accountability measures.
- Linked to this, in the ‘outcomes’ section, we have also revised the guidance about inspecting the performance of disadvantaged pupils to take account of the new -measures relating to pupil progress , including comparing the progress made nationally with other pupils with the same starting points.
- The clarification about inspecting governance and who inspectors should meet with updated in the section 5 handbook is also reflected in the updated section 8 handbook.
- A minor change had been made to reflect the fact that Ofsted Inspectors (as distinct from Her Majesty’s Inspectors) may now be asked on occasion to lead section 8 ‘no formal designation’ inspections.
- Under ‘short inspections’, we have referred to online surveys to gather staff and pupil views.
- We have made a revision to the section on Requires Improvement monitoring to reflect the government’s White Paper proposal on improvement periods for schools with new headteachers.
- There is a detailed update to the guidance on monitoring of schools causing concern in the light of recent legislative changes (Education and Adoption Act 2016) and the revised Schools Causing Concern statutory guidance. This includes requirements relating to statements of action for schools in categories of concern.
I hope you find this information useful and I look forward to working with you in this new academic year.