While Ofsted’s ‘School inspection update’ documents are primarily aimed at inspectors, they offer a useful insight into what Ofsted is focussing on, how inspectors are told to look at these areas, and the implications for schools.

This article outlines what has been highlighted to inspectors in the update, ensuring you are up-to-date with the latest on how Ofsted is conducting inspections.


Transition arrangements for section 5 inspections


All section 5 inspections are now being conducted under the ‘The education inspection framework’ (EIF), which places a greater emphasis on the curriculum. As a result, some school leaders have asked what state of readiness Ofsted expects of schools when it comes to the curriculum.

A lot of schools are at different stages in establishing their curriculum – to account for this, Ofsted has put transition arrangements in place to ensure schools are treated fairly during the introduction of the new inspection framework.

Here’s what you need to know about the transition arrangements:

  • They only apply to the four ‘good’ criteria highlighted in the curriculum intent section of the ‘quality of education’ judgement – they are not used for the ‘outstanding’, ‘requires improvement’ or ‘inadequate’ criteria or the implementation and impact aspects of the good criteria.
  • For quality of education to be judged as good, a school must also meet the good criteria for implementation and impact.
  • In primary schools, the arrangements do not apply to reading, writing and maths.
  • Inspectors will use their professional judgement to determine if the arrangements apply – they will assess whether, based on clear actions to improve the curriculum, the quality of education at the school could reasonably be expected to be good in two years’ time.
  • Inspectors will take advice from the duty desk to ensure there is regional and national consistency in the way the arrangements are used.
  • If the arrangements are used, this will be reported in the inspection report.
  • The transition period lasts for one year from September 2019 – it will be reviewed in Summer 2020.


Transition arrangements for section 8 inspections


Section 8 inspections focus primarily on the quality of education and whether safeguarding is effective; therefore, the criteria for the quality of education will be applied in the same way as for section 5 inspections.

In section 8 inspections, the transition arrangements can only be used if a school’s quality of education remains good.

The transition arrangements do not apply:

  • If a school is judged as good with a marked improvement – to improve to outstanding, the school must meet every good criterion, without the need for the transition arrangements to be applied.
  • If the lead inspector is not satisfied that the school would be judged as good if it received a section 5 inspection at that time.
  • To the outstanding grade – therefore, the arrangements should not be taken into account when carrying out section 8 inspections of non-exempt outstanding schools.


Changes to Ofsted Parent View


Ofsted has updated the questions asked in its Parent View survey to link them more closely with the EIF. Some questions have been removed or adapted, and new questions have been added, including a question for parents of pupils with SEND. Our Ofsted Parent View: In-depth Questions for Parents template includes all the questions that parents will be asked.

Survey responses from parents will be split into academic year on provider results pages on the Ofsted Parent View site – there is no longer a ‘365 rolling results’ tab.


Inspections of outstanding schools


Ofsted will be carrying out a number of inspections of exempt outstanding primary schools between October 2019 and April 2020 – this is in addition to the 10 percent of outstanding schools that are already identified through the risk assessment process.

These inspections will aim to help Ofsted get a better understanding of strong curriculum management in primary leadership and to identify good practice in one of the following three subjects: MFL, history and geography.

The findings from the inspections will also contribute to Ofsted’s wider analysis of subject practice and to the proposed thematic reports on curriculum subjects, beginning in 2020.


Meetings with curriculum leaders


Inspectors meet with curriculum leaders more often under the new inspection regime. As part of the ‘deep dives’ during inspections, inspectors will meet with subject and other curriculum leaders to discuss:

  • Their area and to form an understanding of the intended curriculum in that area.
  • What leaders expect inspectors will see when they visit lessons, scrutinise pupils’ work, and speak to pupils and teachers.

Subject and curriculum leaders will be invited to carry out joint lesson visits and work scrutiny alongside inspectors – after collecting first-hand evidence, inspectors will discuss what they have seen with leaders.

Inspectors will ensure subject and curriculum leaders’ working days are not unnecessarily disrupted, while still having these vital discussions.


Expectations of pupils’ work


Ofsted has highlighted that it does not expect schools to keep pupils’ work between academic years solely to show inspectors.

Pupils’ work is just one type of evidence inspectors will use to base their judgements on, alongside evidence gathered from activities such as lesson visits and conversations with leaders, pupils and teachers.

Find out more about how Ofsted uses evidence under the new inspection model here.


Requires improvement schools that are subject to directive academy orders


A school that was previously judged as inadequate and made the subject of a directive academy order, but has subsequently been inspected and judged as requires improvement, will be treated as any other school judged as requires improvement for the first time – this means it will not normally be routinely monitored.

If a school receives two or more successive requires improvement judgements for its overall effectiveness, it will normally be monitored within between 12 and 30 months. 


The healthy schools rating scheme


The ‘Healthy schools rating scheme’ has been launched – schools can notify inspectors of their rating during an inspection and inspectors may consider the rating as evidence when making the ‘personal development’ judgement.

Get fully up-to-speed with the ‘Healthy schools rating scheme’ by reading our article.


Using Progress 8 estimate data  


Ofsted has highlighted that, before the official release of KS4 checking data, inspectors may be shown estimates of Progress 8 for 2019 from a tool provided by SISRA.

If the estimates are based on all pupils in the cohort included, inspectors can take these figures into account; however, they have been directed to be cautious when interpreting data from small cohorts.

Before the formal publication of the KS4 data, Ofsted does not consider the SISRA data to be internal data, meaning they can interpret it – this will change after the official release of the checking data. When the data is officially released, inspectors will not look at any SISRA data.




Ofsted (2019) ‘School inspection update’