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https://educationinspection.blog.gov.uk/2019/12/16/our-latest-statistics-a-first-look-at-the-eif/

Our latest statistics: a first look at the EIF

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Education inspection framework, Inspection, Schools

pupils sat at desks in a classroom

Sean Harford HMI, our National Director for Education, talks about the first inspections under the EIF and the trends we’re seeing so far.

Today, we’ve published our first set of schools management information since the start of the education inspection framework (EIF) in September. I’m told there’s already been quite a bit of noise on social media anticipating what these statistics would show – understandably so. These are new inspections, so interest in the grade profile is natural.

Firstly, the proportion of all schools that have been judged good or outstanding at their most recent inspection remains at 86%, a positive picture. But those eagle-eyed enough to be keeping track of the reports we’ve published to date will have spotted a couple of other headlines.

The first is a slight dip in the proportion of schools getting good and outstanding judgements for overall effectiveness. Specifically, this was 80% in 2018/19, compared to 77% under EIF to date. This is based on just 840 full inspections and section 8 inspections of previously good and outstanding non-exempt schools, so we shouldn’t read too much into that. The grade profile tends to vary each year and this year is no different. It’s also early days and we could see the gap close over time.

This fall is mainly to do with the mix of schools inspected so far under the EIF. Since September, we’ve been into more schools previously judged to be less than good compared with last year. It’s therefore not surprising that the grade profile reflects that.

Schools in deprived areas

The second issue is the frequently – and hotly – debated link between schools in the most deprived areas and more negative overall effectiveness judgements.

Some will be disappointed to see that, so far, schools with more pupils from deprived backgrounds are still less likely to be judged good than those from more affluent backgrounds under the EIF, just as they were under the last framework. There’s currently no clear difference in the proportion of schools judged outstanding in deprived areas, but the overall numbers are small.

That’s not to say it’s all bad news – some of these schools are doing very well. Of the schools with pupils from the most deprived quintile that we have inspected to date under the EIF, 64% have been rated as good or outstanding, which is great to see.

As inspectors, we have to expect the same high standards for all pupils in all schools. But that’s not to say that we don’t take context into account when making judgements. For example, inspection outcomes show that schools with deprived intakes are more likely to be judged outstanding for the effectiveness of leadership and management than schools with less deprived intakes (the two most deprived quintiles compared to the two least deprived). So, our inspectors are often recognising the challenges that these schools face.

But, as nice as it would be, it’s unrealistic to think that a new inspection framework is suddenly going to result in a huge leap upwards in inspection grades for schools in disadvantaged areas.

As I’ve discussed before in a blog about the links between deprivation and inspection grades, schools in the poorest areas of the country face a steeper path to providing a good quality of education for their pupils. Aside from high numbers of pupils starting behind others, the recruitment and retention challenges facing all schools are even more acute in these places. When you’re getting fewer applicants for every job, it is just more likely that over time you will employ teachers with less experience or lower levels of subject qualification. And getting people to stay is tougher too.

These schools, sometimes in isolated places, also have more difficulty accessing high-quality resources, like great museums, libraries and theatres. So, some of these children are unfortunately not getting the education they deserve. Ofsted has to draw attention to that.

pupils writing in workbooks

Recognising context, but also the need for great education for all

When it comes to an overall judgement, we have to report on the quality of education as we find it. If the quality of education in these schools is not good enough, not recognising this helps no one, particularly the children who go there.

Of course, we are not going to see an overnight improvement. That said, we hope that our new inspections go some way to galvanise change. We want children in every school to benefit from a broad, rich curriculum that prepares them for life beyond school.

We know that an overly narrow focus on test and exam results can lead to the curriculum taking second place to the race for ‘scores on the doors’ – as well as to schools making decisions that are not always in children’s best interests.

That’s why our shift in focus, away from mere numbers to how children are getting their exam results through the best curriculum possible, will make it easier for us to recognise the great things that schools – including those in areas of high disadvantage – are doing for pupils. The things that aren’t always reflected in published league tables.

Feedback so far

It’s early days, but so far feedback on our new inspections has generally been positive. Many of you have told us that there’s a noticeable shift away from discussing data and that inspection feels more like a professional conversation as opposed to something that’s done ‘to’ you.

Not everything on social media makes for pleasant reading – I am well aware of that – but it’s particularly good to hear how many of you have found the new approach supportive and helpful. Yes, we have to report on what it’s like to be a pupil at your school and on the quality of education being provided. But we absolutely want the process to be as constructive as possible.

Let us know what you think about the latest statistics in the comments section.

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29 comments

  1. Comment by Jôhn Wootton posted on

    Where leadership is not providing the education students deserve, what support and training is provided by Ofsted personnel for that leadership team after the inspection? If what you are doing is really a supportive system, then support on the ground by experienced personnel for an extended period of time is if the utmost necessity. Or is it that maybe those inspecting, do not have the capability themselves to be effective leaders in those particular schools or provide adequate support?

    • Replies to Jôhn Wootton>

      Comment by External relations posted on

      Ofsted is an inspectorate, it’s our role to report on education in a school as we find it. However, we want the experience of inspection to be as helpful as possible. As we set out in our blog, so far, feedback from school leaders and teachers is that the new inspection approach is constructive – a professional conversation about what is going well in a school, and what needs to improve. Where things are going wrong, our inspection outcomes act as a call for action in these areas from schools themselves, MATs, RSCs and the DfE– a call for support and intervention that wouldn’t be possible if we did not report.

  2. Comment by Paul Garvey posted on

    What's the breakdown of grades, disadvantaged (bottom quintile) vs advantaged (top quintile) catchments ? How many of each/what percentage are RI/Inadequate and how many Outstanding?

  3. Comment by @TeacherToolkit posted on

    "Some will be disappointed to see that, so far, schools with more pupils from deprived backgrounds are still less likely to be judged good than those from more affluent backgrounds under the EIF, just as they were under the last framework."

    I discovered this new research (October 2019) [https://t.co/9DAFOMPwFS?amp=1] which suggests that differences in school quality, as indexed by Ofsted have little influence on students’ educational achievement, wellbeing, and school engagement.

    I guess the key question here is, does Ofsted improve school standards?

    The report went on to say, that parents wanted to know if Ofsted ratings equated to better exam results or better student wellbeing. The researchers "could not find a single published study looking at the association between school-level Ofsted ratings and individual-level outcomes."

    I wonder if Ofsted could conduct some research on this?

    Do schools with better Ofsted grades, achieve better exam results and higher student satisfaction?

    Thirdly, researchers also found that Ofsted "ratings of secondary school quality accounted for 4% of the variance in students' educational achievement at age 16, which was further reduced to 1% after accounting for prior school performance at age 11 and family socioeconomic status!"

    This appears to match your own findings from the early publications of the new framework.

    The report concludes: Ofsted ratings were poor predictors of school engagement and student wellbeing and the findings suggest that differences in school quality, as indexed by Ofsted ratings, have little relation with students’ individual outcomes.

    I return to my original question: Why should some teachers and school leaders CHOOSE to work in a disadvantaged school, if they are more likely to be disadvantaged by Ofsted's unreliable grading methodology - which may end their teaching career?

    Best wishes for the holiday season.
    Ross

    • Replies to @TeacherToolkit>

      Comment by External relations posted on

      Thanks, Ross. Ofsted’s framework focuses on the quality of education that schools provide to the children in their care. Standards and individual outcomes are an important part of this, but inspection seeks to connect standards with the curriculum that children receive and the way they are taught. Focussing solely on outcomes creates incentives, or even pressure, for schools to put overall results ahead of individual children’s needs. We use research and evidence so that our inspections are appropriately valid and reliable. In particular we recently published Inspecting the curriculum. Parents rely on Ofsted inspection reports to understand the quality of their child’s education – research shows that they know their child’s school’s inspection rating.
      As our recent blog [https://educationinspection.blog.gov.uk/2019/12/16/our-latest-statistics-a-first-look-at-the-eif/] points out, we recognise that schools in deprived areas face significant challenges, but we have to expect the same high standards for all pupils in all school. Our new inspections seek to recognise and report positively on schools that seek to do the right thing for pupils. However, where the quality of education on offer isn’t as good as it should be, we have to report on that. Our inspection outcomes act as a call for action in these areas – a call for support and intervention that wouldn’t be possible if we did not report.

  4. Comment by Kevin Burnett posted on

    I’m sorry but to say that schools with higher than average deprived intake are having more L&M grades as good or better to recognise the challenges they face BUT still overall effectiveness is RI, is ‘inadequate’ on your part. I hear regularly from HTs who talk about the intensity of scrutiny and micro-management that comes from RI or worse. You - Ofsted- must start to acknowledge the damage caused by such judgements on good leaders, their communities and the staff they try to recruit.

    • Replies to Kevin Burnett>

      Comment by External relations posted on

      We understand that some schools in deprived areas face significant challenges; we also believe passionately that parents should be able to expect the same high standard of education for their children wherever they are in the country. We expect the same high standards for all pupils in all schools.

      Our new inspections seek to reward all schools for doing the right thing by pupils, but where the quality of education on offer isn’t as good as it should be, we have to report that.

      Our inspection outcomes act as a call for action in these areas – a call for support and intervention that wouldn’t be possible if we did not report.

      • Replies to External relations>

        Comment by Kevin Burnett posted on

        I'm sorry but as a retired Head Teacher after 20 years of service and now a Branch Secretary of NAHT, I see and talk to many colleagues who have been told by Ofsted Inspectors and their Local Authority Officers that they are Good leaders. Yet they have been 'forced' out by circumstances beyond their control and the Ofsted judgement not used as a call for support but a call for their resignation. We should return to the days when schools had assigned 'school improvement partners' who worked with the schools constantly. These people could then be 'quality assured' by Ofsted and when schools are working through challenges - IF all other factors including L&M are Good - they should be allowed to work through without a 'community rocking' judgement that the school doesn't deserve. Surely we can create a system that supplies support and challenge without the staff, children and community suffering judgements which frankly don't help or support anyone! (Especially those who have to 'turn things around')

    • Replies to Kevin Burnett>

      Comment by Misty Cologne posted on

      Hi Kevin,
      I'm currently leading in an RI school at short notice after the previous leadership team left. The school is in a mess but, given time, can be turned around. I'm getting out asap as the new framework is stacked against the school and my career will be destroyed. I've loved working to bring about improvements in these types of schools over the last 20 years but the risks far outweigh the benefits. Sad, I know I can make a difference but I need to put me and my family first.

  5. Comment by Terry Pearson posted on

    Thank you for sharing this overview. As requested, here are a few initial queries:
    It would be helpful if you were to clarify the statement “Firstly, the proportion of all schools that have been judged good or outstanding at their most recent inspection remains at 86%, a positive picture.” I am not sure why the word “all” is inserted where it is and emphasised in bold. Should I take it to mean that of all schools inspected so far, the proportion that have been rated good or outstanding remains at 86%? If it means something else please let me know.

    I am also not sure to what the phrase “judged good or outstanding” relates. The proportion of schools in the latest EIF inspections rated good and outstanding for overall effectiveness is 77%. To what judgement, therefore does the 86% good or outstanding relate?

    You help in understanding the statements would be appreciated.

    • Replies to Terry Pearson>

      Comment by External Relations posted on

      Hi Terry, the 86 per cent refers to the most recent overall effectiveness judgement of all schools, regardless of which framework the inspection was under.

  6. Comment by Gary May posted on

    I am intrigued as to why your blog doesn't tackle the disparity between the judgements made about Primary and Secondary schools. You state:
    "Of the schools with pupils from the most deprived quintile that we have inspected to date under the EIF, 64% have been rated as good or outstanding, which is great to see."

    When just looking at Secondary, your published management data shows that is figure drops to 48% for schools in the most deprived quintile. The figure is 78.4% for secondary schools in the least deprived quintile.

    We know that disadvantage gaps widen through schooling - wouldn't it be better to be more transparent about what the data says about Primary vs Secondary phase inspection and provide a straight comparison of most and least disadvantage?

    Coincidentally, there have been 27 secondary schools inspected in each of the most and least deprived quintiles - so while the sample is still small, the direct comparison seems a fair one.

    • Replies to Gary May>

      Comment by External relations posted on

      As part of our evaluation of EIF we are monitoring grade distributions across a range of factors, including phase, deprivation and size. However, the number of secondary inspections under EIF remains small to date, and our risk-based model means that early inspections under EIF are likely to be tilted towards schools that are less than good, or that, under our risk-assessment model, are more likely to be at risk of becoming less than good. It is therefore a bit premature to make the comparison at this stage.

  7. Comment by Femi posted on

    There have been a number of schools that have been graded down for having a two-year key stage 3, is there a blanket rule regarding inspections that schools must have a three year key stage 3?

    • Replies to Femi>

      Comment by External relations posted on

      No, there isn't. Curriculum content, sequencing and coverage are the important considerations here - not the number of years.

  8. Comment by Claire posted on

    I am interested in why ofsted feel they need to comment on provision in more isolated areas. What do they suggest these schools do when there is no funding to deal with this discrepancy? This, alongside the massive shift in expectation on middle leaders role in curriculum, seems to negatively impact on smaller schools. Whilst I believe all children deserve excellent provision to high quality education surely you have to accept this looks different in a large inner city school than a small rural school and that context specific curriculum is what matters?

  9. Comment by Misty Cologne posted on

    It is pleasing to see the inspectorate recognise some of the challenges faced by schools in areas of deprivation. What is concerning is the acknowledgement that some of these schools are being deemed less than good, in part, due to the challenges caused by deprivation. Is it not worth reflecting at this point as to how Ofsted may be self perpetuating the issues.

    • Replies to Misty Cologne>

      Comment by External relations posted on

      We recognise that schools in deprived areas face significant challenges, but we have to expect the same high standards for all pupils in all school. Our new inspections seek to recognise and report positively on schools that seek to do the right thing for pupils. However, where the quality of education on offer isn’t as good as it should be, we have to report on that. Our inspection outcomes act as a call for action in these areas – a call for support and intervention that wouldn’t be possible if we did not report.

  10. Comment by Kevin Ward posted on

    I am unclear why schools with disadvantaged cohorts are expected to overcome a steeper climb than other schools. Surely that implies that higher expectations are demanded from schools with a weaker cohorts than those elsewhere - they get rewarded with good judgement despite a less steep climb. That is contrary to the concept of high expectations for all. Have enough inspectors worked in schools with the cohorts that are challenged? The requirement that inspectors come from schools rated good must create a cohort of inspectors from advantaged cohorts. During my last inspection had an inspector who criticized us verbally for having too many safeguarding concerns and our students needed to have more resilience and fewer social workers like her outstanding selective single sex school located in a university town. The idea was rightly ignored by the lead inspector when mentioned. However this surely is a potential bias in the system.

    • Replies to Kevin Ward>

      Comment by External relations posted on

      Ofsted’s framework focuses on the quality of education that schools provide to the children in their care. Standards and individual outcomes are an important part of this, but inspection seeks to connect standards with the curriculum that children receive and the way they are taught. Focussing solely on outcomes creates incentives, or even pressure, for schools to put overall results ahead of individual children’s needs. We use research and evidence so that our inspections are appropriately valid and reliable. In particular a recent publication <a href="https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/inspecting-the-curriculum">Inspecting the Curriculum</a>. Parents rely on Ofsted inspection reports to understand the quality of their child’s education – research shows that they know their child’s school’s inspection rating.

      We recognise that schools in deprived areas face significant challenges, but we have to expect the same high standards for all pupils in all school. Our new inspections seek to recognise and report positively on schools that seek to do the right thing for pupils. However, where the quality of education on offer isn’t as good as it should be, we have to report on that. Our inspection outcomes act as a call for action in these areas – a call for support and intervention that wouldn’t be possible if we did not report.

  11. Comment by Paul Luxmoore posted on

    Your comments about schools in deprived areas are interesting - and enormously frustrating. You are clear that, even if you understand the increased challenges facing these schools, it is for Ofsted to point out when the quality of education provided is less good than in affluent areas. However, you must also know that Ofsted is also the cause of many of the problems faced by these schools. A bad Ofsted judgement lowers morale and makes recruitment and retention even more difficult, particularly of headteachers whose careers can be ended by an adverse Ofsted judgement.

    Also, there is an increasing suspicion that inspectors' views about quality of education is still being based on Progress 8 scores. In the previous framework, Progress 8 drove each of the other judgements so, if P8 was very low, then teaching had to be poor, irrespective of what was actually seen during the inspection. If the same logic is now being applied to the quality of the curriculum (P8 low and so the curriculum must be poor) then we are no further forward . The key point is this - in the most challenging schools, a larger proportion of students are unable to access a full P8 curriculum and so P8 scores are low - hence Ofsted is still condemning schools in deprived areas.

    • Replies to Paul Luxmoore>

      Comment by External relations posted on

      We recognise that schools in deprived areas face significant challenges, but we have to expect the same high standards for all pupils in all schools. Our new inspections seek to recognise and report positively on schools that want to do the right thing for pupils. Scores and outcomes are a starting point for understanding this, but our inspection seeks to really get under the skin of the curriculum that children receive and the way they are taught in a way data cannot. Where the quality of education on offer isn’t as good as it should be, we have to report on that. Our inspection outcomes act as a call for action in these areas – a call for support and intervention that wouldn’t be possible if we did not report.

      • Replies to External relations>

        Comment by Paul Luxmoore posted on

        I regret that your response makes little sense to me. What are the ‘high standards for all pupils in all schools’? What is it that your inspectors are judging, really, other than outcomes? There is a very close correlation between attainment on entry to secondary school and Progress 8 score. There is also a very close correlation between Progress 8 score and Ofsted judgement. Schools with the lowest attainment on entry have the lowest Ofsted judgements.You may well not wish to admit it, but Ofsted is actively damaging the schools that most need support and encouragement. Furthermore, our government refuses to invest in ‘underperforming’ schools (as judged by Ofsted). Your work results in the most challenging schools in the most deprived areas being penalised.

  12. Comment by Lee Baker posted on

    Thanks for this insight.
    Is there any research on the proportion of secondary schools receiving a good or outstanding with a 2 year Key Stage 3? I read some Ofsted research today (from January 19) that approximately 35% of secondaries are currently operating a 2 year Key Stage 3 and there seems to be lots of anecdotal evidence that schools are being judged RI because they have a 2 year KS3?

  13. Comment by Paul Simpson posted on

    Do Ofsted take into account the number of students in exam years whose parents/carers can afford to provide them with private tutors?
    Do Ofsted have a view on how this may influence the impact of the quality of education between different academies?

    • Replies to Paul Simpson>

      Comment by External Relations posted on

      At the moment schools don’t collect information about pupils who have private tutors, so we can’t make a judgement on their impact. However, we're looking at how schools themselves design and deliver the curriculum – not just the outcomes pupils achieve.

  14. Comment by Dr. Jennifer A. Hawkins posted on

    "Our inspection outcomes act as a call for action in these areas – a call for support and intervention that wouldn’t be possible if we did not report." I suggest - as an interested but 'disinterested' observer (not a DFe employee) - that the answers lie in the re-establishment of a formal advisory and support element within the government's supervisory system. It seems to me the current system should permit more use of 'good' inspectors' considerable expertise to directly advise on intervention and support. I reach this conclusion after reading disaffected ex-heads' and inspectors' comments in their various blogs and publications, also those of delighted heads who feel (for whatever reason) Ofsted has understood their work. I sincerely hope that your current new style data collection of evidence will lead to this outcome.