Ofsted’s Chief Inspector, Amanda Spielman, delivered an insightful speech at the Wellington Festival of Education. So, we’ve picked out a handful of key points (particularly about the curriculum and the relationship between Ofsted and data) that we think you’ll find interesting ahead of next year…
What actually happens in the day-to-day life of your school?
Spielman stressed that identifying good practice is, well, exactly that… good practice! It’s important to note, though, that it’s equally as important to recognise that an approach that works at a specific time in a specific school won’t necessarily work well everywhere else. For her, having a strong focus on curriculum will help to move inspection towards being a conversation about what actually happens in the day-to-day life of schools. To that end, inspecting the curriculum will help to undo the ‘Pixlification’ of education in recent years. Those who are bold and ambitious for their pupils will be rewarded as a result. That is why she is confident that her work on the curriculum will not be susceptible to political pressure or the latest educational fads.
How much do Ofsted care about data?
Part of the discussion focused on how Ofsted inspections and reports should complement, rather than reinforce, performance data. It would be a little strange if there were no correlation between Ofsted’s findings about the quality of education on inspection and what the data says about a school’s performance. That’s because the two are inextricably related. Inspection is an opportunity to find out how schools are achieving a good education.
The ‘what?’, the ‘why?’ and the outcomes of teaching
Spielman went on to explain that Ofsted have compared their inspection judgements with Progress 8 outcomes. Despite what some say, their analysis does disprove the charge that ‘data is all’. In their new framework, they’re thinking about how they can go further in dispelling this myth, demonstrating through their judgements that they are just as interested in what and why schools are teaching, alongside outcomes.
To coin one of Spielman’s phrases, Ofsted are going to pursue ‘Intelligent inspection’: that is valid, reliable and evidence based.
If you’re interested in termly, standardised tests, that come with free online reporting and help to inform your teacher judgement, why not browse through our PiRA (Progress in Reading Assessment), PUMA (Progress in understanding Mathematics Assessment) and GAPS (Progress in Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling) papers? They are also available as Interactive tests, with automatic marking and reporting!