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The new Ofsted framework 2019. What you need to know.

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new Ofsted regulations 2019

Date 15th Jul 2019

From September the Ofsted framework is set to change. But, are these changes cosmetic or is there a real shift in focus, particularly for children and young people with SEND?  Ofsted has announced that:   

“These changes will move Ofsted’s focus away from headline data to look instead at how schools are achieving these results, and whether they are offering a curriculum that is broad, rich and deep, or simply rich and deep, or simply teaching to the test.”
(Ofsted press release)

Ofsted inspectors will now spend less time looking at exam results and test data, and more time considering how a nursery, school, college or other education provider has achieved their results. Ofsted grades will also stay the same: Outstanding, good, requires improvement or inadequate. However, how these grades will be decided upon has changed significantly.

The judgement categories have been revised to now cover: 

Quality of education

This judgement will have a much clearer focus on the curriculum.  There will also be three major components when judging the curriculum:

  • intent (what are we trying to achieve through our curriculum - it must be broad and balanced and include the essential knowledge that pupils need to become educated citizens. Note: Ofsted does not describe what the curriculum should be and schools taking a radically different approach but coherent and research led approach will not be penalised)
  • implementation (how is our curriculum being delivered) 
  • impact (what difference is the curriculum making – but note this does not imply continuous testing to prove changes) There will be far less emphasis on school's internal data as evidence, and much greater emphasis on drawing together evidence from interviews, observations and documentary review, as well as nationally published information about how pupils progress when they leave school (secondary) 

Behaviour and attitudes

Behaviour and attitudes considers how leaders and staff create a safe, orderly and positive environment in the school and the impact this has on the behaviour and attitudes of the pupils.

Note: if there is evidence that a school has deliberately removed pupils on the day of the inspection then this is likely to result in inadequate judgement in both Behaviour and Attitudes and Leadership and Management.  Ofsted will also evaluate the effectiveness of alternative and off-site arrangements made for pupils.

In gathering evidence for this judgement, Ofsted will hold discussions with pupils and staff – this will include support staff and other systems – trainees, NQTs, administrative support staff, supply staff and catering staff.

Personal development

There is a strong emphasis upon the academic, technical or vocational curriculum and Ofsted recognises that schools have a fundamental role in developing responsible, respectful and active citizens. Some of these activities will go beyond the normal school day and include a range of out of school activities. This judgement will include issues such as keeping healthy through diet and physical activity. It will also evaluate the school’s provision for spiritual, moral and social education.

Leadership and Management

Leadership and management can be neatly summed up by ‘making stuff work’. This judgement is about how leaders, managers and those responsible for governance ensure that the education provided by the school has a positive impact on all its pupils including:

  • creating a coherent vision through inclusive curriculum
  • enabling staff to deliver that vision by supporting them to develop their skills
  • developing an appropriate management style
  • creating appropriate systems to enable the vision
  • ensuring the delivery of the vision

What do the changes mean for children and young people with SEND?

Many parents of disabled children and children with SEND have voiced concern over the new 2019 framework, saying that it lets vulnerable learners down and that inclusion has not been given enough focus.

In response to this, Ofsted argues that the new framework will ‘bear in mind where the curriculum needs to be amended to meet the needs of those learners with SEND’ including:

  • whether schools and early years providers are inclusive of children with SEND
  • whether schools are removing some children from their rolls solely to improve published outcomes
  • whether colleges and other further education providers are doing all they can to ensure that all learners are able to complete their courses
  • whether the curriculum available for the most disadvantaged learners is ambitious and meets their needs
Further reading
This new Ofsted framework will be used across all education inspections from September 2019. Click here to access the full 2019 framework.


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