OFSTED UPDATED Guidance for School inspections Jan 2014

OFSTED have issued new guidance re. inspections from January 1st. Here are the highlights including information for EAL. Interestingly in the part about teaching it informs inspectors to be careful when judging lesson styles and if the Pupil premium usage is of concern they can ask for either;

a) an internal review

b) an external review

c) both 

What are your views on this?

OFSTED Subsidiary Guidance Jan 2014

Inspectors should use this guidance during section 5 inspections in conjunction with the School inspection handbook[1] and The framework for school inspection[2]. It is designed to provide guidance on particular aspects of the section 5 inspections


[1] School inspection handbook (120101), Ofsted, 2014; www.ofsted.gov.uk/resources/120101.

[2] The framework for school inspection (120100), Ofsted, 2014; www.ofsted.gov.uk/resources/120100.

Judging progress across the Early Years Foundation Stage and into Key Stage 1 

 

Identifying starting points

  1. Schools should have clear systems to:
  •  make an assessment of children’s starting points (baseline)
  •  plan next steps that challenge children sufficiently
  • track the progress of individuals, groups of children and cohorts across the Early Years Foundation Stage and into Key Stage 1
  •  identify how much progress is made by individuals as well as groups of children and the cohort.

 

Children who speak English as an additional language: as indicated in the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile Handbook (2013)[1] , learning to speak English as an additional language is not a special educational need. Practitioners should assess the development of children who speak English as an additional language in their home language as well as in English, where possible. While the children’s skills in communication, language and literacy must be assessed in relation to their competency in English, the remaining areas of learning may be assessed in any language.

‘Children must have opportunities to engage in activities and first hand experiences that do not depend solely on English for success, and where they can participate in ways that reveal what they know and can do in the security of their home language. For children to grow in confidence, and hence demonstrate their embedded learning, their environment must reflect their cultural and linguistic heritage and their learning be supported by a wide range of stimuli and experiences.’  (Early Years Foundation Stage Profile Handbook, page 15).

 

Teaching

Inspectors must not give the impression that Ofsted favours a particular teaching style. Moreover, they must not inspect or report in a way that is not stipulated in the framework, handbook or guidance. For example, they should not criticise teacher talk for being overlong or bemoan a lack of opportunity for different activities in lessons unless there is unequivocal evidence that this is slowing learning over time. It is unrealistic, too, for inspectors to necessarily expect that all work in all lessons is always matched to the specific needs of each individual. Do not expect to see ‘independent learning’ in all lessons and do not make the assumption that this is always necessary or desirable. On occasions, too, pupils are rightly passive rather than active recipients of learning. Do not criticise ‘passivity’ as a matter of course and certainly not unless it is evidently stopping pupils from learning new knowledge or gaining skills and understanding.

When in lessons, also remember that we are gathering evidence about a variety of aspects of provision and outcomes. We are not simply observing the features of the lesson but we are gathering evidence about a range of issues through observation in a lesson. Do not focus on the lesson structure at the expense of its content or the wide range of other evidence about how well children are learning in the school.

Behaviour and safety of pupils at the school

During the initial contact with the school, the lead inspector must ensure that the headteacher understands that the inspection evaluates what behaviour is typically like, not just the behaviour of pupils during the inspection. Often, the grade for behaviour and safety is a grade higher than overall effectiveness.  Where this is the case, reports will be given additional scrutiny. Please make sure that sufficient evidence is gathered to warrant the grade awarded.

Inspectors should identify disruptive behaviour of any kind. This may be overt, for example, ‘shouting out’, or pupils ‘talking over the teacher’, or ‘arguing back’, or low level disruption, for example, through continuous chatter, not bringing the right equipment to lessons, not having books or doing homework, pupils arriving late to lessons, pupils chatting when they are supposed to be working together or pupils being slow to settle to their work and so on. It may also be more covert, taking the form, for example, of quiet reluctance from a number of pupils to participate in group work or to cooperate with each other.

Attendance

Inspectors should take into account any differences between the attendance of different groups of learners, such as those of different genders or ethnicities (for example Gypsy, Roma and Traveller children) when evaluating attendance. Inspectors should evaluate how much the school knows about the attendance patterns of groups of learners and the effectiveness of systems to alert them to changes in pupils’ attendance. A sudden or a gradual alteration can indicate a safeguarding issue.

Evaluating the curriculum

The increasing diversity and autonomy of schools and the decisions they make about the curriculum may present some contradictions. Inspectors will need to make a professional judgement about the appropriateness of the curriculum with respect to the specific circumstances of the school[2]. In instances where there is major curriculum balance, or where the curriculum does not prepare children for life in modern British society, inspectors must say so clearly and explain why.

 

Schools judged as ‘requires improvement’

  1. Where governance is ineffective in a school judged as ‘requires improvement’ and is graded three for leadership and management, inspectors should include an external review of governance in their recommendations for improvement. The form of words to be used in the report under ‘What the school should do to improve further’ is ‘An external review of governance should be undertaken in order to assess how this aspect of leadership and governance may be improved’. It is for the school to decide how this review will take place, and to commission and pay for it. Such reviews aim to be developmental, and do not represent a further inspection. Full details on what might be the form and nature of such reviews can be found on the following link: http://www.education.gov.uk/nationalcollege/review-of-governance.
  2. Where the report identifies specific issues regarding the provision for pupils eligible for the pupil premium, inspectors should also recommend an external review on the school’s use of the pupil premium. The form of words to be used is ‘An external review of the school’s use of the pupil premium should be undertaken in order to assess how this aspect of leadership and governance may be improved’. In such instances, in addition to any support that the governing body may benefit from, inspectors should advise that the school seeks support from an external system leader with a track record of accelerating disadvantaged pupils’ achievement and closing gaps. Full details on what might be the form and nature of such reviews can be found on the following link:  http://www.education.gov.uk/nationalcollege/index/support-for-schools/pupilpremiumreviews.htm
  3. It is expected that there will be many cases where inspectors will recommend both an external review of governance and an external review of the school’s use of the pupil premium. However, there may be instances where this will not be necessary, for example, where the proportions of pupils eligible for the pupil premium that make and exceed expected progress are above national figures and are similar to those for other pupils in the school, or where the number of eligible pupils is five or fewer.
  4. Even where leadership and management is judged to be good, inspectors should use their professional judgement to determine whether a recommendation for an external review of the school’s use of the pupil premium would benefit the school.

Disapplication of the National Curriculum

  1. The majority of the national curriculum is being ‘disapplied’ (ie suspended) from September 2013 for one year for most subjects to give all schools the freedom to change what they teach in order to prepare for the new national curriculum. Disapplication is a suspension of the content of the national curriculum, not the subjects themselves. New statutory programmes of study will be introduced for all subjects from 2014 (2015 for Key Stage 4 English, maths and science) – with the addition of foreign languages at Key Stage 2. ICT will be renamed computing.
  2. Whilst schools will still have to teach all national curriculum subjects, what they cover will be up to them. The intention is to help teachers to manage the transition from the old national curriculum to the new one.  For example, teachers can stick broadly to the current national curriculum but will be able to vary when they teach topics and what topics they teach. They can use this freedom to cover any gaps in pupils’ knowledge and understanding to make sure they are prepared to learn the new curriculum from 2014.
  3. Disapplication is a permissive measure – no school will be required to change its curriculum in 2013/14. At Key Stage 4 for English, mathematics and science the freedom will last for two academic years because the new national curriculum will be taught from 2015/16 for those pupils. Teachers will still have to teach the national curriculum for English, maths and science to pupils in years 1, 2, 5 and 6 in 2013/14.  This is to ensure that pupils are properly prepared for national curriculum tests at Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 in summer 2014.
  4. It is for schools to decide how the pupil premium is spent. However, they are accountable for their use of this funding. Since September 2012, schools have been required to publish online information about their pupil premium allocation and how they plan to spend it. They must also publish a statement of how they spent the money for the previous year, and its impact on the attainment of pupils eligible for support through the pupil premium. This is intended to ensure that parents and others are made fully aware of the impact on the attainment of pupils covered by the pupil premium.
  5. Local authorities decide how to allocate the pupil premium for pupils from low-income families in non-mainstream settings. The local authority must consult non-mainstream settings about how the premium for these pupils should be used.
  6. When evaluating the effectiveness of leaders, managers and governors, inspectors should gather evidence about the use of the pupil premium in relation to the following key issues:

Evaluating the school’s use of the pupil premium[3]

  • the level of pupil premium funding received by the school in the current academic year and levels of funding received in previous academic years
  • how the school has spent the pupil premium and why it has decided to spend it in the way it has
  • any differences made to the learning and progress of pupils eligible for the pupil premium as shown by performance data and inspection evidence.
  1. In many schools, the number of looked-after children is small and these pupils may not figure in headline performance data. Inspectors should record evidence of the impact of the pupil premium on looked-after children currently on roll in the school on a separate evidence form.
  2. Inspectors should note that they should not report separately on the progress, attainment and/or achievement of pupils eligible for support through the pupil premium, or make comparisons with the progress made by other pupils, where individual pupils eligible for support through the pupil premium might be identified. Generally, this will be the case where there are five or fewer pupils at the school. However, where a small number of eligible pupils represents a sizeable proportion of the overall number of pupils on roll, inspectors should exercise their judgement on reporting on how well these pupils are supported. Inspectors should be mindful that the need to avoid identification of individuals remains a key consideration.
  3. For example, inspectors may write in the report ‘In this school, the pupil premium funding is used/is not used well to support individual pupils’, and in the context section ‘only a very small number of pupils is supported by the pupil premium.’
  4. Inspectors must consider the difference between the average points scores in each of English and mathematics in national assessments at the end of Key Stage 2, and at GCSE at the end of Key Stage 4, for the following groups:

Impact of pupil premium and Year 7 catch-up

  •  those pupils known to be eligible for free school meals and all other pupils (FSM and non-FSM pupils)
  • children who are looked after and all other pupils (CLA and non-CLA)
  •  children of service families and all other pupils. (This information is not contained in RAISEonline, but inspectors will expect schools to provide it during the inspection.)
  1. Inspectors must evaluate the performance in English and in mathematics of groups of pupils who are supported through the pupil premium. Where a gap is identified between the performance of pupils supported through the pupil premium and all others in the school, inspectors must report this and whether it is narrowing. They should express gaps in terms of National Curriculum levels or a period of time (such as ‘two terms’) at the end of Key Stage 2, or GCSE grades at the end of Key Stage 4.
  2. The following table shows suitable ways of expressing gaps in average points scores using plain language and simple fractions, which should be reported in words. Inspectors should take into account the way in which the school divides up the school year, such as into terms, in selecting wording that readers will understand.
points

1

1.5

2

3

4

4.5

5

6

 

Key Stage 2

NC levels

1/4

1/3

1/2

2/3

3/4

1

terms (3 per year)

1

2

3

4

5

6

years

1/3

1/2

2/3

1

11/2

2

months

4

6

8

12

16

18

20

24

 

 

 

 

 

 

Key Stage 4

 

 

 

 

 

GCSE grades

1/4

1/3

1/2

2/3

3/4

1

 

  1. Inspectors must also evaluate and report on the progress being made by pupils targeted for the Year 7 catch-up programme, including through analysis of summary data kept by the school.[4]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


[2] Studio schools and UTCs, for example, are established with a particular curriculum, based on a different rationale and approach to teaching.

[3]The pupil premium is specific, additional funding provided to support the education of pupils known to be eligible for free school meals, pupils who have been eligible for free school meals at any point in the last 6 years (known as the Ever6 free school meal measure), children who have been looked after continuously for a period of 6 months and children whose parents are currently serving in the armed forces. See http://www.education.gov.uk/schools/pupilsupport/premium/a0076063/pp for further information.

[4] This programme is for pupils who did not achieve the expected Level 4 in either reading or mathematics at the end of Key Stage 2. http://www.education.gov.uk/schools/pupilsupport/year7catchup/a00216777/y7-catch-up-premium-faq

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