Created in collaboration with our Ofsted expert 


How will data be used under the new inspection framework?


Ofsted has published the final version of the ‘Education inspection framework’, which sets out the inspection principles and judgements that will be used from September 2019.

Under the new framework, and the inspection handbooks that have been created alongside it, inspectors will no longer look at non-statutory internal progress and attainment data during inspections. Instead of reviewing actual internal data, inspectors will consider the actions taken by schools in response to whatever internal data they have.

Published data will still be used, but only ever as a starting point to identify key lines of enquiry for the inspection. Inspectors will look at nationally-generated performance data in the context of a school – e.g. if a school is in the process of improving from a low point, their data will be viewed in the context of a ‘school in turnaround’. Schools need to thoroughly understand their published data, as this can signal what inspectors will focus on during an inspection.


Why is internal data no longer being used during inspections?


Inspectors have highlighted a number of limitations to using internal data during inspections, including the following:

  • Schools present data in many different forms, which can make it difficult for inspectors to interpret data in the time they have.
  • Internal data may not be an accurate representation of the education of pupils.
  • Interpreting internal data can be very time consuming.
  • Conducting book reviews is a more effective indicator of outcomes compared to internal data.

The new inspection framework will look closely at assessment data collection points and focus on the impact on teachers’ workload. In the framework consultation, Ofsted referred to the ‘Making data work’ report which advised that schools should not have more than two or three collection points a year. Inspectors will look at how school leaders have addressed staff workload and if data collection is disproportionate, ineffective or unsustainable, this will be noted in the inspection report.


How can schools prepare for the move away from internal data use?


Schools should focus on developing the learning journey of their pupils – this will highlight the impact of the curriculum and teaching on pupils and the progress that has been made. Leaders need to closely monitor the impact of the curriculum and the curriculum experiences of pupils – they need to demonstrate that they are looking at this on a classroom level and assessing the impact of the curriculum on outcomes for all pupils.

All school leaders, including governors, need to have a strong understanding of what is going on at classroom level – to achieve this, monitoring needs to be robust. Time should be taken to triangulate the information gathered during monitoring to establish the effectiveness and impact of the curriculum. Our Governor Learning Walk Template: Monitoring a Broad and Balanced Curriculum can be used by governors during visits aiming to monitor the impact of the curriculum.

Under the existing framework, progress could be displayed through presenting assessment data to inspectors; however, now leaders need to display this progress through demonstrating their thorough understanding of what is happening in the classroom and how they are adapting the curriculum to meet the needs of pupils.

Governors should take a hands-on approach and demonstrate how they have looked at pupils’ outcomes at a classroom level. They should be trained to look at learning journeys and have a thorough understanding of the strengths, weaknesses and impact of the curriculum.


What’s next?


Ofsted will implement its new inspection framework and handbooks from September 2019. Find out everything you need to know about how inspections will be changing by reading our Up-to-speed on: Changes to Ofsted Inspections from September 2019.