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What did you make of this term’s OFSTED changes?

December 12, 2015

I thought I’d post now about the changes in OFSTED from the start of this term, mainly to see if people have noticed a difference. I’m inclined to view the changes positively, but it would be interesting to hear what others think. Please either leave something in the comments (avoid anything that might be libellous, thanks) or email me here.

The old system of private contractors running inspections has been abolished. This means all inspections are “in-house” and one would hope this should have led to greater quality control this term. So here’s my first question:

If you had an OFSTED inspection this term, how was it?

A lot of the old “Additional Inspectors” (AIs) employed by the external contractors are no longer inspecting. The new equivalent position is “OFSTED Inspector” or OI. A full list of OIs can be found here. Which leads to my second question:

If you have experienced a “rogue” AI in the past (i.e. one whose judgements were based on criteria other than those OFSTED are meant to use) are they still on the list?

Please don’t actually include anyone’s name in the response to that, just a rough idea of what they did in the past and whether or not they are still on the list. For what it’s worth, the inspector who observed me back in 2013 and led me to my initial realisation that inspectors were still enforcing a particular teaching style is still on the list.

The old system of inspectors moonlighting as consultants has been tightened up considerably. The new conflict of interest policy for OIs has some clauses that might make a difference to those hoping to cash in on their status as OIs. While OIs can do other work, such as consultancy, they are now subject to the following provision:

If the OI is permitted to continue an interest alongside their work for Ofsted, with or without measures/conditions, the Senior HMI considering the declaration must ensure that:

  • no information relating to the current or future work of Ofsted may be disclosed, other than information that is already in the public domain
  • the interest may not be advertised or promoted in any way that refers to Ofsted, its employees or stakeholders, and
  • the interest must not result in improper conduct, for example, through the use of Ofsted time, titles or contacts.

So, obviously, my next question is:

Do you have examples of OIs violating these rules?

Please use some common sense on this, I can’t allow unsupported allegations to appear in the comments, but I would be interested to know what you’ve seen, and I’m happy to look into where would be the best place to report any violations. I’ve already found a couple of examples this term of consultants apparently breaking these rules on websites.

I think these rules also prevent inspectors from carrying our “Mocksteds”. If not, I assume that other rules do, on the basis of this report in July:

Last night Ofsted said it was imposing a ban on taking part in Mocksteds. A spokeswoman for the education standards watchdog said: “Ofsted has repeatedly said we do not expect, or want, schools to prepare for inspections. Schools should do nothing other than focus on providing a good education.”

She added: “Under the terms of their new engagement, Ofsted inspectors will not be allowed to carry out mock Ofsted inspections. Furthermore, we have been clear with our contracted Ofsted inspector workforcethat they are not allowed to carry out mock Ofsted inspections.” A spokeswoman for the Department of Education said: “We have been clear that headteachers do not need to prepare for visits from Ofsted.”

So my final question is:

Have you experienced a “Mocksted” this term, and if so, was it conducted by serving inspectors?

I look forward to hearing from you.

4 comments

  1. Can’t answer either of those important questions but did read a report yesterday where a key issue was ‘ Robust assessment systems for tracking pupils’ progress are not fully in place, particularly to show progression in writing from early years through to each key stage’. Which seems to suggest that schools have to have data based tracking – which Sean Harford says are not necessary. This was from and HMI. Talking of which in our local authority I would say on the limited evidence available, far more schools are going RI are the new one day HMI l do inspections than previously. People are saying ‘good’ is the new ‘outstanding’


  2. https://joiningthedebate.wordpress.com/2015/11/05/tough-luck-ordinary-teacher/
    I would love Sean Harford to replace the word SCHOOL with TEACHER in the clarification for schools. My school (management) don’t seem to be aware of Ofsted clarification or maybe they are right to ignore it, and carry on with data madness and marking madness!


  3. Reblogged this on The Echo Chamber.


  4. Today Ofsted tells Head of school told to remove press release mentioning a non Ofsted inspection that could be interpreted as to appear as the real thing. Misleading. Also claimed school was Ofsted outstanding, when marked good.



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