Latest News

Following the science

1st November 2021

Months before the phrase became all too familiar in a very different context, Ofsted were researching what made for the most effective education in our schools. In this article, Graham looks at how this research has shaped the current Education Inspection Framework.

I still catch myself calling it the New Inspection Framework. Which is crazy really for a method of school inspection that Ofsted launched way back in September, 2019. But then there was the pandemic and a halt to routine inspections that began early in 2020 – just months after the initial launch. So, in reality, the “New Framework” has been going for less than a year.

Given this, it is worth blowing the dust off the covers. Because I think that this framework is a radical departure from what has gone before, the most useful thing that we can do is to attempt to understand its underpinning rationale: the research-based educational science that lies beneath the criteria for making inspection judgements. For colleagues who would like to look in this in more detail, a comprehensive summary of the research can be found here: Education Inspection Framework, Overview of Research.

To begin with, the research points to a view that not enough emphasis had been given to what children need to learn to prepare them for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of the adult world. Partly this is because schools have found themselves chasing after examination results rather than the body of knowledge, the skills and the personal qualities that we all want our children to develop. So, the new framework has a big focus on the “intent” that lies behind the curriculum - what you want children to know about and what you want them to be able to do at certain points during their time in school.

The ways that teaching is judged has varied enormously in previous inspection frameworks. At one time there was a long list of what teachers should and shouldn’t do and lessons were judged on a 1 – 4 scale. Then things changed: there was no longer a “right way to teach”: the important thing was that children were making progress: a difficult thing to gauge in a twenty-minute lesson observation. The new framework changes the focus. The quality of an individual lesson is not judged but the inspector is required to ask, “How is the curriculum being taught and assessed so that pupils can build their knowledge and apply that knowledge as skills? How are children being empowered to know more and remember more? How well is the curriculum being implemented?”

There was once a time when a school’s data (and particularly those relating to the pupils’ progress and attainment) were the key factor in determining an inspection outcome. When she took on the role of Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector, Amanda Spielman wanted to change all that. So, whilst a school’s historic data play a part in helping inspectors to decide the areas of a school they want to focus on during the inspection, the evidence for how well the curriculum is being implemented will be gathered by looking at pupils’ books, observing lessons, talking to pupils and listening to parents. These sources will help inspectors assess the impact of the school’s curriculum.

So, in summary, this new framework is hugely challenging but - potentially - really exciting. Exciting because, from my perspective, the Ofsted framework and the factors that make for genuine school improvement are now rowing in the same direction. Over the coming months I am looking forward to working with colleagues to help support our schools in achieving the best inspection outcome possible. To support in this, our new Curriculum Statement will have an important part to play. What steps is our school taking to deliver the commitments set out in the Trust’s Curriculum Statement? How is the Trust supporting our school in achieving this? Athena-GEP CURRICULUM STATEMENT OF INTENT.

Graham Tuck, Director of Secondary Education, Athena-GEP

Latest Tweets

  • January 28, 2022 Thank you! Read more
  • January 28, 2022 This may be of interest to our families… Taking place at train station tomorrow - are running free bike checks and have a qualified cycling coach on hand to help anyone who is new or returning to cycling and need a bit of help in getting started. Read more
  • January 28, 2022 Our teachers took part in training this week. This is part of ’s programme that we use in school. Real PE is a unique, child centred approach to teaching that creates positive relationships with physical activity for the children Read more
  • January 28, 2022 Final Story Time in The Library today! Thanks to Mrs Docis, Mrs Gifford, Miss Palmer, Mrs Everard & Mr Smith! We’ll be back soon! ⁦⁦⁦⁦⁦⁦⁦Read more
  • January 27, 2022 Nurturing future scientists 👩‍🔬 Read more
  • January 27, 2022 Yesterday a group of Year 5 and 6 went to Mane Chance. The children are taking part in the Chance2Be Project, which is a mindfulness-based programme which brings together rescued horses and young people, with mutual benefit. Read more
  • January 27, 2022 Thanks to and for joining us at the U14 pitch up and play event. Some great rugby played 👍👍👏🏉
  • January 24, 2022 🙌 Well done girls - fabulous achievement. Read more