Ofsted Inspection changes 2015: an overview of the update

Ofsted Inspection changes 2015: an overview of the update

Posted on Oct 03, 2015

Ofsted Inspection changes 2015: an overview of the update 


  • Implemented as of September 2015 
  • Ofsted describe the changes as “far-reaching” 
  • The changes come from the consultation Better response for all 


What are the key changes?  

Ofsted, and education commentators in general, have highlighted two items as being the most significant changes. These are: 

  1. The introduction of the Common Inspection Framework (CIF); 

  1. The introduction of short inspections for those rated as ‘good’; 


Watch Matthew Purves, Ofsted's Head of Education Inspection, detail these changes 




The introduction of the Common Inspection Framework (CIF) 


This will be used for the inspection of Early Years providers, maintained schools, academies, non-association independent schools, special schools, further education and skills providers. The intention behind the CIF is to: 


“Make the same judgements, using the same language, meaning the same thing” 


across the different type of education providers mentioned above. The aim is to make it more accessible and easier for people to understand what the reports actually mean and be able to make easier direct comparisons. There will be four criteria used across the board to make those judgements: 


  1. Effectiveness of leadership and management 

  1. Quality of teaching, learning and assessment 

  1. Personal development, behaviour and welfare 

  1. Outcomes for children and learners 


There will also be a written statement on the effectiveness of safeguarding. 


The introduction of short inspections for those rated as ‘good’ 


This will only apply to maintained schools, academies and further education and skills providers. It is borne out of the fact that “most good schools stay good” and, in recognition, of this those good schools will now go through short inspections. During these a full range of judgements is not made; the focus is on maintenance of that good status and effective safeguarding practice. They will take place once every 3 years rather than once every 5/6 years. For a school, the inspection will last one day and it’ll be two days for FE and skills providers. With a short inspection, there are three possible outcomes: 


  1. The school maintains it’s good rating: this is confirmed by letter to the school and details any next steps (as needed). It’s anticipated that this will apply to the majority of schools 

  1. The inspectors think the school might be improving: the short inspection is then quickly converted to a full (section 5) inspection to see if it is outstanding. 

  1. The inspectors think the school might be declining: again the short inspection is quickly converted to a full (section 5) inspection. For schools this will be within 24 hours and for FE and skills providers within 48 hours. 


The clear advantage of the short inspection for you is that more time is spent continuing your (quite evidently) good work. 




Other changes 


The other change that’s being mentioned with Ofsted inspections from September 2015 is the fact that inspectors will now all be employed directly by Ofsted rather than through third-parties, which had sometimes been the case in the past. Ofsted’s intention behind this move was to “give Ofsted tighter control over selection, quality assurance and training of inspectors and their work”. The contracts for early years inspection was re-awarded to Tribal and Prospects until 2017 which Neil Leitch of the Pre-school Learning Alliance described himself to be “disappointed” and believing this to be “a missed opportunity to make a change that would have helped improve confidence in the fairness and consistency of early years inspections.” (source nurseryworld.co.uk) 


Key resources for Ofsted guidance 2015 

Ofsted inspections – clarification for schools: this explains all the things you don’t need to do for your Ofsted inspection. Thoughts on this comments can be found in Ofsted’s Sean Harford’s blog. 


What do you think to the changes? Will they improve the Ofsted inspection process? Let us know what you think.


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