Ofsted announces ‘light touch’ inspection regime

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The Chief Inspector of School has announced that in the future schools graded as “Outstanding” or “Good” will no longer be subject to full inspections but will instead face a ‘light touch’ inspection every two or three years by a single senior inspector (either HMI or a serving school leader).

This seems to be part of a significant review of Ofsted’s inspection regime following criticism that inspections can sometimes be inconsistent in their assessments and carried out by inspectors insufficiently experienced in the sector.

This proposal, which will be developed in consultation with the Department for Education and the teaching associations, reflects three underlying principles:

  1.  The need to review of outsourced inspections;
  2. The need to move towards a more proportionate and risk-based approach to inspecting those schools which need greater intervention while incrementally moving away from routine full section 5 inspections of good schools; and
  3. a belief that Her Majesty’s Inspectors should lead the vast majority of school inspections.  Sir Michael said he plans to increase the number of HMI posts over the next few years and include a much larger number of seconded outstanding practitioners serving in schools.

Under these proposals a full inspection will only be triggered if inspectors see a significant decline in a good school.  Even if HMI does see some problems in a school, a full inspection may not be required provided that school leaders are tackling the problems effectively.

We wait to see how these proposals are developed in the coming months.

For more information please contact Chris Hook or 0191 211 7929.