Has your child's school been inspected recently? Or is an inspection due soon? From September this year, Ofsted will change the way it inspects your child's school.
Take our survey for parents which will inform our response to Ofsted, or read on for more details.
What is changing?
The main changes that parents need to know about are that Ofsted will:
- Focus on 'quality of education', which means that they will take the focus away from academic outcomes (how well children do in exams) and concentrate instead on curriculum.
- Conduct education-focused rather than data-focused inspections.
- Separate pupils' "personal development" from "behaviour and attitudes".
- Increase the length of monitoring inspections from one to two days.
Why is this change being made?
Educators have raised concerns that the focus on outcomes has created unintended consequences such as 'teaching to the test' (narrowing the curriculum by teaching children how to do well in exams, which comes at the expense of a broad curriculum and deep knowledge of a subject), and unfair 'off-rolling' (removal of pupils from the register for the school's benefit rather than the child's).
Academic outcomes - how well children do in exams - will still be a core part of Ofsted's inspection framework. Adding to that a judgement on how well a school designs and teaches its curriculum, and an assessment of its off-rolling and exclusion rates, will help Ofsted to ensure malpractice is spotted and any appropriate action is taken to address it.
Has the new inspection framework already been decided?
Currently, Ofsted has an open consultation on its education inspection framework. This means that they have published a draft document outlining their proposals, along with a list of questions to gauge opinion on their plans. Many of the respondents to the consultation will be education professionals, but it is important that parent voice is also heard.
Why should parents respond to Ofsted's consultation?
Parents are the most important stakeholder in the education of children. We all know that when parents are engaged in their child's learning, it benefits the child's school experience and improves outcomes. Homes and schools must work closely together to realise the potential every child has to prepare for adult life, so Ofsted must understand what parents look for in a school, what works for them in the reports Ofsted draws up for every school, and how well each school engages its parent community.
See four short videos from Ofsted's National Director for Education Sean Harford in which he gives reasons why the inspectorate wants to hear from parents.
Changes to Ofsted inspections are especially important to parents because:
- Our Annual Parent Survey 2018 revealed that curriculum tops the list of areas of school life that parents would like to be consulted on, with 56% of 1,500 parent respondents nominating that option. Ofsted is changing their focus to an area that parents have told us matters to them.
- We have already commented that parents were the main stakeholder not strongly engaged by Ofsted before the consultation was released. It's important to take this opportunity to have a say.
- Ofsted will take into consideration every response they receive. This means that the more parents who write back, the more parent voice will be considered by Ofsted as they move forwards.
Top tips for parents giving their views to Ofsted
Finding the consultation
The consultation can be filled in online or the form can be downloaded, printed and posted to Ofsted.
Take our survey
We would encourage parents to respond to the Ofsted consultation, but we will be responding as an organisation, and have created a survey for parents which will gather data on parental opinion to tell Ofsted about. If time is a factor, consider taking our survey.
Working with time limits is motivational for many people. The closing date to send your views to Ofsted is Friday 5th April, and you can submit your response to Ofsted any time up to and including that day.
Which questions are relevant to parents?
Not every question needs to be answered. It's fine to return a consultation with only one or some of the questions completed, where others are left blank. We suggest below which questions may be the most relevant for parents, but this may vary depending upon individual circumstances.
See our guidance on what the Ofsted consultation is asking and questions parents may wish to consider. If you prefer, you can download and print out a Word document of our guidance on the Ofsted consultation, for ease of reference.