Ofsted letter to Headteachers
Ofsted has recently written to Headteachers alerting them to changes to inspections that will start from 1 September 2014. This follows publication of the Note for inspectors: use of assessment information in 2014/15.
The key details of relevance to primary schools are:
- the introduction of a separate graded judgement for the early years;
- an increased focus on how well school leaders tackle low-level disruption and ensure that pupils’ conduct and attitudes to learning are good;
- greater attention on whether or not a school’s curriculum is broad and balanced and promotes tolerance of and respect for people of other faiths, cultures and lifestyles;
- details as to what evidence Ofsted will use given the demise of National Curriculum levels.
The letter also outlines the criteria that will be used for unannounced inspections for 2014/15.
Ofsted and assessment information
The note for inspectors provides details of the assessment evidence that Ofsted will be using in 2014/15 to judge learning and progress recognising that there will be a mixed economy for the next year as schools start to migrate to the new curriculum and assessment arrangements. Specifically:
- Pupils in Years 2 and 6 will still be taught the old National Curriculum so their attainment and progress will continue to be tracked and measured using levels.
- For other pupils, apart from those in Year 1, there will be historic data expressed in National Curriculum levels as well as assessment data collected against the new Programmes of Study.
- Additionally, some schools may choose to move away from the use of levels immediately, others may do so more gradually. In 2014-15 inspectors will recognise that schools are likely to be still developing their preferred new assessment system.
As is the case currently, Ofsted inspectors will use a range of evidence to make judgements. This will include looking at test results, pupils’ work and pupils’ own perceptions of their learning. However they will also be:
- spending more time looking at the range of pupils’ work to see what progress they are making;
- talking to leaders about how the school is using formative and summative assessment to improve teaching and raise attainment;
- evaluating how pupils are doing against the age-related expectations in the new National Curriculum;
- considering how schools use assessment information to identify and support pupils who are not meeting age-related expectations and also to ensure the most able reach their full potential;
- evaluating how schools report progress and attainment to parents and carers.
The implications of this are that schools will need to collect robust assessment data to demonstrate that all their pupils are making the progress that they should be and that those falling behind or exceeding expectations are identified and supported or challenged.