Ofsted calls for changes to outstanding school inspections

With the new Inspection Framework high on the agenda, in a recent speech, Amanda Spielman has stressed that there is no “Ofsted curriculum” and, instead, suggested that schools should explore what they want their “children to know and to be able to do” and “what is going to help the children in later life”. Ms Spielman also stressed that data will still be important in schools, yet schools should assess how much time it takes to collect data, how it is used, whether it is particularly onerous to collect the data, or if it is used effectively.

Also last week, Ofsted have repeated their call for ministers to reconsider the exemption of ‘outstanding’ schools from inspection. In a press release from Ofsted, Ms Spielman argues that "for the outstanding grade to be properly meaningful and a genuine beacon of excellence, the exemption should be lifted and Ofsted resourced to routinely inspect these schools."

Ofsted has been lobbying ministers to reinstate routine inspections at least every six years for primary schools and every five or seven years for secondary schools regardless of inspection rating. It follows the recent publication of official statistics from 405 inspections carried out this academic year in ‘outstanding’ primary and secondary schools where performance appears to be declining. Of the 405 schools inspected, just 16% retained their top rating.