Ofsted announces new graded judgements for early years and sixth form provision

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Ofsted has announced that it will introduce separate graded judgements for nursery, reception and sixth form provision from 1 September 2014.  These grades may influence the judgement on a school’s overall effectiveness.

What are the changes?

Inspectors should now focus as much on Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) as they do on 5-16 provision, particularly as nurseries and reception are so important to children’s overall attainment at school.  The separate judgment for sixth forms will also better inform pupils about their post-16 options.

The changes, confirmed in a letter by HM Chief Inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw, following Ofsted’s recent consultation and reflect its view that inspectors should have a good understanding of EYFS and sixth forms as requiring distinct knowledge and expertise.  Most respondents to the consultation also agreed with the proposal that the separate judgements should, or could, influence a school’s overall judgement.  For example, a secondary school should only be judged outstanding overall if its sixth provision is judged to be good or outstanding.  The changes have also been broadly welcomed by the FE sector as they will allow colleges to directly compare themselves against school sixth forms.

In the same letter Ofsted confirmed that it is examining the feasibility of moving to routinely inspecting schools without notice.  Meanwhile it intends to broaden the criteria Ofsted uses to judge whether unannounced inspection is required for particular schools.

Wide-ranging reforms

Ofsted has also published a consultation on wide-ranging reforms to the inspection regime.  This includes a common inspection framework across the range of education and skills providers, introducing short inspections for good schools every three years or so and conducting a full inspection of non-association independent schools within a three-year period.

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