Focus Education - Ofsted
Lucy: Thanks so much for joining us. Welcome to another thought-provoking episode of the Headteacher Chat Twitter Spaces. We'll be engaging with experts in meaningful conversations about challenges in our educational institutions.
Lucy: I'm Lucy.
Jon: And I'm Jonathan, co-founder of the Head Teacher Chat. We are experienced school leaders dedicated to supporting those in education. This session, sponsored by Focus Education, will explore thoughts and potential future scenarios with Ofsted. For the latest information about Ofsted, check their website.
Lucy: Tonight's episode is sponsored by Focus Education. Joining us is Clive Davies, a primary education expert with over four decades of experience, including roles as a headteacher, Ofsted inspector, local authority advisor, trainer, and consultant. He was awarded an OBE for services to education in 2009 and is a founding director of Focus Education and an influential author. Welcome, Clive.
Clive: Thank you. It's lovely to be here.
Jon: We're also joined by Claire Dutton, Clive's colleague and director of Focus Education. Welcome, Claire.
Claire: Hi, thanks for having us. Feel free to send questions in the chat, and we'll address them during the discussion.
Lucy: Let's start with the main changes to school inspections this year. Clive, can you enlighten us?
Clive: The changes are minor for now, with expectations of more significant changes when the new chief inspector takes over in December. One major change is around safeguarding. If a school is judged good or better in other areas but ineffective in safeguarding, it will be reinspected within three months. This helps schools not to be overshadowed by this judgment for too long.
Clive: There's also more transparency in how safeguarding is judged, helping parents make better decisions. Another change concerns the handling of complaints about inspections. There's a new service, the Inspection Complaints Adjudication Service (ICAS), to address closed complaints.
Clive: The notice of inspection for outstanding schools has also changed. They will now be told the year they will be inspected, and face-to-face seminars will be offered to help them understand modern inspection processes.
Clive: Reports will be depersonalised to prevent pinpointing individuals, and provisional judgments will be shared more openly with school staff. These changes represent a cautious approach by Ofsted to enhance transparency.
Lucy: It's interesting to see these changes, especially considering recent events with Ofsted, like the tragic case of a teacher who took her life following an inspection. What changes can we expect with the new Chief Inspector next year?
Clive: Martin Oliver, the incoming Chief Inspector, has a background in improving struggling schools, though not without controversy. He's been critical of the current framework, suggesting a potential shift towards a greater emphasis on exam results. However, immediate wholesale changes are unlikely. The current framework, for all its criticisms, has improved teaching quality in primary schools, particularly in non-core subjects.
Jon: What about your recent work, Clive?
Clive: I've been advising a parliamentary committee on inspection reform. If there's a change in government, we might see significant reforms, such as annual safeguarding checks by a separate body and changes to the end-of-inspection judgment. The focus might also shift more towards multi-academy trusts.
Lucy: That's a lot to consider. For our listeners wanting more information about Focus Education, Claire, where can they find you?
Claire: Visit our website, www.focus-education.co.uk, or follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook. We offer a range of resources, courses, and consultancy services.
Jon: To close, remember Dame Alison Peacock's words: "The most powerful learning happens when we collaborate, share ideas and experiences, and work together towards a common goal." Keep learning and innovating!