Ofsted has introduced a new questionnaireasking staff for feedback about their FE provider.
The new questionnaire, published on 6th November and available from Monday, will be used in short and full inspections, but not monitoring visits.
Questions include whether staff are proud to be working at the FE and skills provider, if they think it is well led and managed, and whether managers are considerate to their staff’s well-being and workload.
According to the inspectorate, providers will be asked to inform their staff about the online questionnaire at the point of inspection.
Ofsted’s Chief Inspector discussed the reasoning behind our proposals for the 2019 education inspection framework:
Good morning and thank you for inviting me to be here today.
I always like getting to the north of England – being from Scotland myself, it’s not quite all the way home, but it’s good to be here.
And this isn’t my first time with you here. I came to speak to SCHOOLS NE as Chair of Ofqual, back in 2015, when we had what I remember being an interesting and challenging morning – with a good discussion with Mike and several of you over lunch afterwards.
And it is always good to be out talking to a dedicated group of professionals. I know that in recent years, the collective efforts of schools in the North East have made a real difference to children’s education. And as I hope I said back in 2015, I am greatly impressed by the SCHOOLS NorthEast model. The level of engagement and support for local schools is clearly very high, and it is great to see how this group is promoting constructive discussion and acting as a catalyst for change.
I suspect a number of you were in the audience last month, when our Regional Director, Cathy Kirby, and her team were presenting an Ofsted update. Read more
School inspectors in England have put too much weight on tests and exam results when rating schools, Ofsted boss Amanda Spielman has admitted
This has added pressure for schools to “deliver test scores above all else”.
Ms Spielman regrets the watchdog has not put enough emphasis on the “wealth of human knowledge” being passed on.
However, she promises that a new inspection framework – being introduced from autumn 2019 – will put much more emphasis on the curriculum.
What did she say about teaching to the test?
In a published commentary, the chief inspector says those working in education need to ask themselves “how we have created a situation where second-guessing the test can trump the pursuit of real, deep knowledge and understanding”. Read more
This blog by Sean Harford will look at the way Ofsted inspects education, from early years to schools and the further education and skills sector. It will update you on developments and feature current issues.
I hope everyone enjoyed their summer holidays and that you are all now comfortably settling into the new academic year.
This is often a time for introducing fresh ways of doing things – including here at Ofsted. This autumn term our inspectors are starting to collect evidence on a digital platform, rather than recording all their notes using pen and paper.
We’ve developed a new electronic evidence gathering (EEG) tool, which will make the collection and sharing of inspection evidence much more efficient. Beginning this month, we will be gearing up to use this new tool on over 8,000 inspections annually.
As you probably know, inspectors currently capture evidence on handwritten forms. These forms are collated by the lead inspector and sent to our evidence collection centre, where they are scanned and stored electronically. Let’s be honest, this is all a little bit 20th century. So, in line with many other public sector organisations, we decided the time was right for Ofsted to embrace modern technology in ways that make the very best use of our resources. Read more
In the following blog Chris Jones HMI, Ofsted’s specialist adviser for apprenticeships, blogs about the changing framework, apprenticeship standards and how to record the progress that apprentices make.
The Institute for Apprenticeships is increasing the number of apprenticeship standards available to employers and apprentices.
These changes have been introduced alongside the apprenticeship levy. At present, when an apprenticeship standard isn’t available, apprentices complete the technical and vocational qualifications relevant to an apprenticeship framework
Now, a new model of apprenticeship is emerging and the structure is changing, as I wrote about in a previous blog. This approach is much more occupationally specific and is directly linked to the needs of employers.
Most apprenticeship standards don’t contain qualifications. They focus on the knowledge, skills and behaviours expected of the apprentices. An end-point assessment, specific to the apprenticeship standard, validates the standard.
We know that many frameworks will disappear in 2020. Apprenticeship standards will replace the frameworks as part of the apprenticeship reform programme. Most apprentices work at levels 2 and 3, with around 11% of apprentices working at level 4 and above. The proportion working at higher levels is increasing because over 40% of standards are for higher and degree level apprenticeships. For areas like business administration there is no replacement apprenticeship standard at level 2.
It’s clear from the range of frameworks that are still available, that many apprentices working at levels 2 and 3 will continue to work towards an apprenticeship framework for some time, and hence will continue to complete nationally recognised qualifications. Providers and inspectors can compare qualification achievement rates and look for patterns and changes to help them decide how well apprentices are doing.
Because most apprenticeship standards have no qualifications, inspectors and providers must be clear about the different ways of measuring achievement. As inspectors, we need to consider what these changes mean for inspection practice. Read more
The Chief Inspector discussed the importance of promoting British values in schools and Ofsted’s role in making sure this is done well.
Delivered on: (Transcript of the speech, exactly as it was delivered)
The title of this speech, ‘The Ties that Bind’, is not an original phrase. And indeed, as soon as the invitations for this Policy Exchange event went out, we had a call from an understandably bemused Lords Committee clerk wondering why they had not been consulted, because their Committee on Citizenship and Civic Engagement published a report with this title earlier this year, and for which one of my colleagues gave evidence. So, apologies to Lord Hodgson and his eminent fellow peers – I had not then seen their excellent report, though I have now read it with great interest.
And of course a great deal of overdue thinking and discussion has happened in many quarters in recent years on the difficult subjects of community cohesion, integration, citizenship and British values, by minds far more distinguished than mine. Indeed, when I took up the job of Chief Inspector, I hardly imagined this was a subject I would be spending quite so much time on. But having spent 18 months in what is a fairly hot seat at Ofsted, I have seen quite how much these challenges directly affect our schools.
That is my topic this evening: to explore why the promotion of British values is important in encouraging cohesion and integration, and so why responsibility for promoting them must fall to our schools. And I also want to talk about Ofsted’s role in making sure that schools do this well.
Taking a step back for a few minutes, it was the experience of living and working in the United States, more than 20 years ago, that made me recognise how much the development of a society, and the formation of its public policy, is driven by the values that underlie that society. Even though the UK and the United States are more similar than most, I came to realise how different their underlying values and assumptions were, and still are. And I’m not talking about guns and abortions here – I was most struck then about things like the welfare settlement, and the idea of what education is for. The version of egalitarianism that has been the bedrock of NHS provision and of the English state school system for many decades looks quite strange to many American eyes. And I was genuinely surprised back then by how very differently the word ‘liberalism’ was perceived in America. All this made me look back at and think about Britain in a whole different way.
The following is the transcript of the speech made by Amanda Spielman exactly as it was delivered
Thank you for that kind introduction.
It is an absolute pleasure to be back at Wellington for what I think is my fifth time, and for my second as Chief Inspector. Speaking here last summer was one of the highlights of my first year. That speech was a chance to set out what I want to achieve as Chief Inspector, and just as important, it prompted an enormous amount in the way of feedback, engagement and ideas. If I had any doubts that there is a real enthusiasm and appetite in the sector to help shape Ofsted’s future, speaking here dispelled them.
That is the way it should be. Ofsted isn’t just about bringing in the great and the good to give the benefit of their wisdom to others. Doing that assumes that education is static and uniform. While it can be helpful to identify good practice, we also know that an approach which worked at a specific time in a specific school won’t necessarily work well everywhere else.
For that reason, Ofsted absolutely should harness the expertise from the exceptional former leaders who make up our HMI workforce and at the same time make sure that we continue to learn from the sector. We need to keep a direct link with those still in the game, living school life day to day. That’s why I’m so proud of our Ofsted Inspectors, who include more than 1,100 serving practitioners, who give up their time to carry out inspections. It’s why I, and so many of my team, attend events like this. And it’s why, despite the occasional frustrations and incivility of the Twitterverse, we put so much effort into our digital presence as well.
It was that collaboration and engagement that informed the Ofsted strategy we launched last autumn. Through the strategy, we have committed ourselves to being a force for improvement, through intelligent, responsible and focused inspection and regulation. I am determined to make sure that the strategy is one that doesn’t just go dusty on a shelf, but actively informs everything we do.
I want to spend some time telling you about what we’ve been doing, under each of the strategy’s 3 strands.
Ofsted will stick to its current four-point grading system in its new inspection framework – putting an end to rumours that it would opt for a simpler pass-or-fail system.
Instead, the status quo will remain in its 2019 framework, its chief inspector announced in a speech at the Festival of Education at Wellington College.
Options will be kept “under review” looking further ahead, Amanda Spielman said.
She is working with the Department for Education to “see the removal of the ‘outstanding’ exemption”, which currently allows education providers to go more than a decade without inspection.
Before her appointment in 2016, Ms Spielman said she was uncomfortable about some of the effects on the education system of the ‘outstanding’ grade, and claimed Ofsted under her watch would have “discussions” about scrapping it.
“I know that there are some who would like Ofsted to abandon grades altogether or to move to a pass/fail model,” Ms Spielman told the audience.
“For me, that is a decision which must squarely be decided on the basis of whether the current grading system meets our mission of being a force for improvement.
“We will keep this under regular review. But we’ve concluded, on balance, that it is right to maintain the current grading system in the new framework and that is the basis of the discussion I’m having with ministers now as we engage with them on the new framework as a whole.
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