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Inspecting schools and improving education

Lorna Fitzjohn, Regional Director, West Midlands gave the keynote address at 'Be inspection-ready – not preparing for inspection': a conference by SSAT the schools, students and teachers network on 20 April 2016.

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Inspecting schools and improving education

  1. 1. SSAT - The Schools, Students and Teachers network Lorna Fitzjohn West Midlands Regional Director 20 April 2016
  2. 2. Inspecting schools and improving education Key messages informing our priorities Changes to inspection Improving schools What does the future hold for inspection?
  3. 3. Key messages informing our priorities
  4. 4.  The overall performance of secondary schools continues to lag behind that of primaries.  This is a divided nation after the age of 11: children in the North and the Midlands are much less likely to attend a good or outstanding secondary school.  Structural solutions alone will not be enough to address this gap in quality. We need better oversight, more good leaders and teachers, and a greater focus on the most disadvantaged, particularly in isolated areas of the country. Annual Report 2014/15
  5. 5.  Schools working in isolation are more likely to decline than those working as part of a group of schools, whether that is with the local authority or a multi- academy trust.  In the further education (FE) and skills sector, we have seen the pace of improvement slow, and in general FE colleges in particular, performance has declined. Annual Report 2014/15
  6. 6. Changes to inspection
  7. 7. Understanding the changes
  8. 8.  A new Common Inspection Framework  Short inspections for all good maintained schools and academies  Short inspections also apply to good and outstanding special schools, pupil referral units and maintained nursery schools  Full inspections for all non-association independent schools within three years We will:  Do everything we can to remove the pressure for schools to ‘get ready for inspection’ – we want to see what you do daily for all of your pupils. Changes to the way that we inspect:
  9. 9.  Emphasis on impact across all key judgements  Impact of the culture of the school  Importance of safeguarding as a golden thread throughout all judgements, including the testing of leaders’ work to meet the new Prevent Duty  The importance of a broad and balanced curriculum  A new judgement – personal development, behaviour and welfare  Alignment of the judgements on early years and 16-19 study programmes. CIF Key messages
  10. 10.  Ofsted does not require self-evaluation to be provided in a specific format. Any assessment that is provided should be part of the school’s business processes and not generated solely for inspection purposes. Myth busting
  11. 11. Effectiveness of leadership and management Increased emphasis on: impact of leaders’ work in developing and sustaining an ambitious culture and vision tackling mediocrity and using robust performance management to improve staff performance ensuring that safeguarding arrangements to protect pupils meet statutory requirements, promote their welfare and prevent radicalisation and extremism. An example from the descriptor for grade 1: Leaders and governors have a deep, accurate understanding of the school’s effectiveness informed by the views of pupils, parents and staff. They use this to keep the school improving by focusing on the impact of their actions in key areas. CIF
  12. 12.  Ofsted does not require schools to undertake a specified amount of lesson observation.  Ofsted does not expect schools to provide specific details of the pay grade of individual teachers who are observed during inspection. Myth busting
  13. 13. Teaching, learning and assessment Increased emphasis on: the importance of developing pupils’ knowledge, understanding and skills in all aspects of the curriculum and across key stages – not just English and mathematics assessment in all its forms. No grading of lesson observations – removing myths CIF
  14. 14.  Ofsted does not award a grade for the quality of teaching or outcomes in the individual lessons visited. It does not grade individual lessons. It does not expect schools to use the Ofsted evaluation schedule to grade teaching or individual lessons. Myth busting
  15. 15.  Ofsted does not require schools to provide individual lesson plans to inspectors. Equally, Ofsted does not require schools to provide previous lesson plans.  Ofsted does not specify how planning should be set out, the length of time it should take or the amount of detail it should contain. Inspectors are interested in the effectiveness of planning rather than the form it takes. Myth busting
  16. 16.  Ofsted does not expect to see any specific frequency, type or volume of marking and feedback; these are for the school to decide through its assessment policy. Myth busting
  17. 17. Personal development, behaviour and welfare Personal development: A key focus on pupils’ self-confidence and self- awareness, and their understanding about how to be successful learners Welfare: Physical and emotional well-being, including healthy eating, fitness and mental health awareness Staying safe online Safe from all forms of bullying CIF
  18. 18. Personal development, behaviour and welfare Behaviour: Emphasis on attitudes – are pupils ready to learn? Behaviours that show respect for the school and other pupils Conduct and self-discipline Attendance CIF
  19. 19. Outcomes Key message: In judging outcomes, inspectors will give most weight to pupils’ progress. They will take account of pupils’ starting points in terms of their prior attainment and age when evaluating progress. Within this, they will give most weight to the progress of pupils currently in the school, taking account of how this compares with the progress of recent cohorts, where relevant. CIF
  20. 20.  Ofsted does not expect schools to provide evidence for inspection beyond that set out in the inspection handbook.  Ofsted does not expect performance and pupil- tracking information to be presented in a particular format. Such information should be provided to inspectors in the format that the school would ordinarily use to monitor the progress of pupils in that school. Myth busting
  21. 21. Judgements on early years and 16 to 19 Early years Two year olds on roll now inspected under section 5. Are practitioners knowledgeable about their typical development and characteristics? Comparability – corresponds to the overall effectiveness judgement for other early years provision. 16-19 study programmes How study programmes build on prior attainment, stretch learners, provide effective careers guidance and prepare learners effectively for the next stage Comparability – this area is judged in the same way as 16-19 provision in FE and skills providers. CIF
  22. 22. Lessons learnt so far on the new framework Key principles are being met: Inspect the right things in the right way through a standardised inspection framework. Provide comparable and accurate information for parents, carers, learners and employers to inform their choices. Deliver timely inspections where there are signs of decline or improvement. Have a proportionate approach to inspections. Ensure rigorous quality of all inspections.
  23. 23. Busting myths about school inspections Sean Harford, Ofsted’s Director for Education, has launched a mythbusting campaign in a bid to dispel some common misconceptions around school inspections. These include myths on lesson planning, self-evaluation, grading of lessons, inspection preparation, marking and pupil feedback.  Series of short videos available on YouTube ‘OfstedMyths’ Daily tweets #OfstedMyths
  24. 24. Short inspections
  25. 25. A different kind of inspection  All short inspections are led by HMI for 1 day approximately every three years.  One HMI in most primary schools; two HMI in secondary schools  No requirement to prepare documentary evidence solely for inspection purposes. No preferred format for documentation.  Two judgements: Is the school continuing to be a good school? Is safeguarding effective?  If more evidence is needed to reach a decision, or there is evidence of improvement/decline, it will be converted to a section 5 inspection.  A short inspection will not change any of the graded judgements for the school nor the overall effectiveness grade. Short inspections
  26. 26. Professional dialogue between HMI and school leaders  HMI will begin the discussions with leaders from the starting hypothesis that the school remains good.  School leaders will need to demonstrate that the school is still good, where there are areas for development, and how they are tackling these.  HMI will test leaders’ and governors’ assessment through a range of inspection activity including observations and discussion with pupils, staff, governors and parents.  Professional dialogue with ongoing feedback to school leaders throughout the day. Short inspections
  27. 27.  Have the leaders got a grip on the institution? Do they fully understand its strengths and weaknesses?  Have they communicated their strategy for raising standards to the key stakeholders?  Are they focussed on what really benefits children and young people, rather than wasting their time endlessly preparing for an Ofsted inspection which could be years away?  Do they refuse to accept excuses for underachievement and are they prepared to go the extra mile to compensate for family background?  Are they presiding over the status quo, content to take the path of least resistance or are they prepared to challenge staff and students to do better?  Have they built, or are they developing, a culture that is calm, orderly and aspirational? Questions for school leaders in short inspections
  28. 28.  Schools receive half a day’s notice, as at present.  Every good school is different. There is no ‘standard’ short inspection timetable.  Meeting the headteacher/leaders throughout the day.  Gathering first hand evidence from observing learning and behaviour in lessons and around the school.  Meetings with governors, leaders, staff and parents.  Talking to pupils in lessons and at break/lunchtimes.  Gathering evidence about the effectiveness of safeguarding – not just relating to statutory requirements, but all aspects of safeguarding. The short inspection day Short inspections
  29. 29. When will school leaders know if the inspection is converting? Regular dialogue throughout the day, with a final decision usually no later than 4pm. Does a conversion always mean that the overall effectiveness grade of the school will change? No! Once the additional evidence to complete a full section 5 inspection is gathered, inspectors may still find the school to be good. Converting to a full inspection Short inspections
  30. 30.  If the school remains good and safeguarding is effective, the HMI will write a letter outlining the findings.  The letter will be written to the headteacher, using language that is accessible for parents.  If the short inspection converts to a section 5 inspection with a full team, the HMI will write a section 5 inspection report. The inspection report Short inspections
  31. 31. Conversion rates  998 short inspections were carried out across all phases between September 2015 and April 2016  The large majority of schools remain good Short inspections Phase Short Inspections (number) Conversion rate (%) Primary 723 34 Secondary 181 50 Nursery 20 20 PRU 17 47 Special 57 23 Total 998 36
  32. 32. Reasons for conversion  From the 364 inspections that converted: - 100 inspections, or 27%, were because there was sufficient evidence to suggest the overall effectiveness judgement might be outstanding - 248 inspections, or 68%, required more evidence - 16 inspections, or 4%, identified concerns regarding safeguarding that required further investigation (Percentages may not add up to 100% because of rounding) Short inspections
  33. 33. Outcomes after conversion  Based on the 364 inspections that converted, just over half of these schools remained good or improved. Short inspections Outstanding Good Requires improvement Inadequate
  34. 34.  Self-critical leadership  An aspirational culture in which the whole school community was striving to do better  Commitment to enriching all aspects of school life  Robust plans in place for addressing weaknesses and headteachers able to demonstrate how these are making a difference to performance (Taken from HMCI monthly commentary January 2016) Common threads of schools remaining ‘good’ or improving Short inspections
  35. 35.  Evaluations of the school’s performance are inaccurate, often based on over-generous views about the quality of teaching or school standards  Poor strategic leadership and a lack of clarity on key performance issues  Leaders and governors often slow to identify weaknesses or fail to act quickly and decisively to turn these round  Too much inconsistency and variation in performance across the school, particularly in the quality of teaching, behaviour of pupils or middle leadership (Taken from HMCI monthly commentary January 2016) Common threads of schools that declined from ‘good’ Short inspections
  36. 36. Improving schools
  37. 37. Improving schools HMCI commentaries and national reports Rich sources of key messages and other information for providers to help them to improve their provision can be found in: HMCI monthly commentaries: Improving primary schools (October 2015) Governance (November 2015) Short inspections (January 2016) Teacher recruitment and retention (February 2016) National reports, for example: Key Stage 3: the wasted years? Alternative provision
  38. 38. Teacher recruitment and retention
  39. 39. Teacher shortages in England “England has a serious teacher recruitment and retention challenge on its hands. As a nation we are simply not attracting enough new entrants into the profession and those we do attract are not applying to schools where they are needed most. This is having a detrimental impact on schools right across the country but particularly those located in more deprived, unfashionable and isolated areas.” Improving schools
  40. 40. Retaining teachers  For NQTs, a continuum between their initial teacher training, induction and their first few years of teaching is important.  During inspections, information will be gathered to:  Assess the effectiveness of the support, mentoring and professional development in place for those at the early stage of their teaching careers, particularly in dealing with issues like pupil behaviour. Improving schools
  41. 41. Key Stage 3: the wasted years?
  42. 42. Some of the key findings from the Key Stage 3 survey  Key Stage 3 is given a lower priority than other key stages in regard to timetable, assessment and monitoring. Key Stage 3 classes are often split or taught by non-specialists.  Pupil premium funding is not being used effectively to close gaps quickly in Key Stage 3.  Teaching in MFL, history and geography at Key Stage 3 often does not lead to good levels of development because pupils are not sufficiently challenged or engaged. Low-level disruption is a key detractor from pupils’ learning in MFL.  Transition arrangements from primary school give greater priority to pastoral over academic needs. Progress and engagement of the most-able is particularly affected. Improving schools
  43. 43. Some of the key findings from the Key Stage 3 survey  Many secondary schools do not build sufficiently on pupils’ prior learning. Pupils indicated that repeating work is more of an issue in mathematics* and English than in foundation subjects.  Developing pupils’ literacy skills is given a high priority at Key Stage 3 but the same level of priority is not evident for numeracy.  Homework is not consistently providing the opportunities for pupils to consolidate or extend their learning in Key Stage 3.  Careers education, information, advice and guidance (CEIAG) in Key Stage 3 is not good enough. *This type of repetition in mathematics is distinct from the ‘mastery’ approach which is studying the same topic or concept but in greater depth. Improving schools
  44. 44. Inspectors will:  make sure that inspections focus even more sharply on the progress made by Key Stage 3 pupils  report more robustly on how schools ensure that all pupils make the best possible start to their secondary education. Improving schools
  45. 45. Alternative provision
  46. 46. Some of the key findings from the alternative provision survey  Some schools do not take enough responsibility for ensuring the suitability of the placements they set up, such as checking for themselves that the relevant safety standards are met.  Some providers contravened regulations about registration and schools do not check providers’ registration status.  An increasing proportion of schools are working in partnership with each other to find and commission good quality alternative provision.  Providers are usually safe places with a reasonable quality of accommodation and resources but classrooms are sometimes unsuited to promoting high academic standards. Improving schools
  47. 47. Some of the key findings from the alternative provision survey  Schools share good quality information about individual pupils with providers however sometimes the information about pupils’ academic capabilities was insufficient and providers were unclear of how to use it to support learning.  In a quarter of schools surveyed, the curriculum for pupils who attended alternative provision was too narrow.  Some pupils identified as ‘full-time’ were not actually receiving a full-time education.  Pupils have highly positive views towards their provision, what they are learning, the support they receive and the impact of the provision on improving their behaviour, attitudes, attendance and outcomes at school. Improving schools
  48. 48. What does the future hold for education inspection?
  49. 49. Government proposals for Ofsted inspections The Government’s White Paper: Educational Excellence Everywhere, published March 2016, announced the transformation of England’s schools and included specific reference to the work of Ofsted through two key proposals.
  50. 50. Government proposals for Ofsted inspections The paper proposes:  the removal of the specific judgement on the quality of teaching, learning and assessment from our inspections of schools, early years and further education and skills. A consultation process to canvas views about how this might work and the impact it would have will start sometime in the new academic year of 2016/17. This will ensure that everyone with an interest is given the chance to contribute their views.
  51. 51. Government proposals for Ofsted inspections The paper proposes:  new leaders of challenging schools will have ‘inspection breaks’ - It will become established policy to carry out a re-inspection, of a school that was judged to ‘require improvement’ at its last inspection, around 30 months after the previous inspection when a school has appointed a new headteacher. - Similar arrangements are proposed for existing academies where a new sponsor takes over the operation of the academy. The academy would not normally be inspected before its third year of operation, in line with the current policy for new schools.
  52. 52. Raising standards through inspection  The White Paper makes clear that inspection remains an important part of the accountability system.  Ofsted looks forward to continuing our work with the Government and listening to the profession to alleviate unnecessary burdens on school leaders and classroom teachers.  Ofsted will never decrease the rigour of our inspections as we champion the rights of every child to a good education.
  53. 53. Questions?
  54. 54. And many of our presentations are at: Ofsted on the web and on social media @Ofstednews

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Lorna Fitzjohn, Regional Director, West Midlands gave the keynote address at 'Be inspection-ready – not preparing for inspection': a conference by SSAT the schools, students and teachers network on 20 April 2016.


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