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Ofsted Framework welcomed

18 January 2019

Ofsted opened its 12-week Education Inspection Framework (EIF) consultation today, which closes on the 5 April 2019. Ofsted have unusually published their research, consultation document and draft handbook(s) all at once. AoC is very supportive about the direction of travel Ofsted have taken. We particularly welcome the move to focus on curriculum (intent, implementation and impact) and end the obsession with data. There is a danger that more subjectivity will creep into Ofsted’s judgements. This is a double-edged sword and an issue we will have to monitor closely when the framework is introduced in September 2019. Many of our asks have already been listened to, but we need to see an overhaul in accountability measures for this framework to have maximum impact. Alongside this we need to see major review of the complaints process and the way reports are structured and written. There are a few points of further clarification that we seek: If ‘outstanding’ exemption is to be removed from legislation, then is it likely that the re-inspection cycle will have to change? Are campus level inspection grades looking unlikely or just delayed? Are they compatible with short inspections? What adverse impact could there be if we remove the high needs grade? HMCI’s speech and foreword are both well worth a read. Amanda Spielman’s repeated warning on post-16 funding is particularly clear and stark: ‘Whilst real spending per school pupil has increased quite substantially since the early 1990s, this hasn’t happened for post-16. Indeed, real-terms cuts to post-16 funding are affecting both quality and sustainability. Our published reports and our insights indicate several areas where the student experience is being affected in some colleges. For that reason, I am firmly of the view that the government should increase the base rate for 16 to 19 funding in the forthcoming spending review. My view hasn’t changed. You can be sure that where there is clear evidence that funding is damaging standards, we will send that message plainly.’ We look forward to working closely with our members and Ofsted on these proposals through the consultation process. HMCI speech 2019 EIF draft handbook Overview of research Consultation document Webinar David Corke, Director of Education and Skills Policy, AoC and Paul Joyce, Deputy Director for Further Education & Skills, Ofsted will be delivering a webinar on the consultation, providing a summary of the proposals and the key issues raised by AoC members so far. This webinar will be available from 9am, 1 February 2019 onwards. Please register here.