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Evaluation article: Know your strengths Evaluation article: Developing an ethos of high expectation Achieving an ‘Outstanding’ Grade: Focused on Excellence Evaluation article: HR and the successful school: A case study Evaluation article: Leading the way to outstanding learner progress Evaluation article: Attainment and progress: The Rochford Review Evaluation article: How to create a leadership team that drives school improvement Evaluation article: Prioritising the budget for school improvement Evaluation article: Transforming a failing school Evaluation article: Evaluating alternative and specially resourced provision Evaluation article: Taking a school-wide approach to mental health and wellbeing Evaluation article: The latest developments in education - January 2016 Evaluation article: Managing uncertainty Evaluation article: Pupil voice as an evaluation technique Evaluation article: The latest developments in education - September 2016 Evaluation article: Deconstructing Ofsted: Reflection after inspection Evaluation article: MAT expansion: Don’t let school improvement become a casualty Evaluation article: Ten rules for outstanding leaders Evaluation article: The governing body as a critical friend Evaluation article: Developing an ethos of high expectations Evaluation article: The exam post-mortem Evaluation article: Safeguarding: Everyone’s responsibility Evaluation article: How do inspectors make the judgement about overall effectiveness? The Ofsted model Evaluation article: Effective leadership builds effective teams Evaluation article: Baseline assessment and SEND Evaluation article: Making performance management count in school improvement Evaluation article: Joining or setting up a multi-academy trust Evaluation article: Case study from Carlton Bolling College: Ensuring high-quality governance Evaluation article: Using pupil voice to support school evaluation Evaluation article: What are the signs of a good school improvement service adviser? Evaluation article: Headteachers’ appraisal Evaluation article: Making CPD work harder Evaluation article: Using the Framework for governance Evaluation article: Interpreting the inspection dashboard Evaluation article: The government's Prevent guidance Evaluation article: Improving provision for the most able Evaluation article: Personal development, behaviour and welfare Evaluation article: Is there a mental health crisis in our schools? Evaluation article: Evaluating the effectiveness of assessment Evaluation article: Raising boys’ achievement Evaluation article: National standards of excellence for headteachers Evaluation article: Governors and the inspection interview Evaluation article: Monitoring and coaching through lesson observation Evaluation article: CPD: Less measurement and more development Evaluation article: Challenging 
the most able Evaluation article: Using the teachers’ standards as a framework for CPD and accountability Evaluation article: Managing behaviour outside the classroom Evaluation article: Managing pupils’ behaviour in lessons Evaluation article: Keeping Children Safe Statutory Guidance Evaluation article: Four steps to school improvement Evaluation article: Finding a way through the jungle: The essence of leadership Evaluation article: How to audit your whole-school literacy provision Evaluation article: Professional development: the growing case for evidence Evaluation article: Getting personal  with CPD Evaluation article: Making performance appraisal an objective and helpful process Evaluation article: Parent View — an update Evaluation article: Raising pupil achievement through parental engagement: a practical approach Evaluation article: Effective parental engagement

Evaluation article: Know your strengths

Can you make inspection an enriching learning process that is actually good for your school? Heather Clements of Best Practice Network offers some advice. 

Evaluation article: Developing an ethos of high expectation

In this article, Steve Burnage shares some practical strategies to enable school leaders to develop an ethos of high expectation in their schools. 

Achieving an ‘Outstanding’ Grade: Focused on Excellence

Tony Powell outlines a step-by-step approach to support schools in achieving the accolade of ‘outstanding’ as defined by Ofsted.

Evaluation article: HR and the successful school: A case study

Adrian Kneeshaw, Headteacher of Carlton Bolling College, gives a personal viewpoint of the benefits of bringing in the experts.

Evaluation article: Leading the way to outstanding learner progress

Steve Burnage discusses engaging with good practice in the leadership of teaching and learning.

Evaluation article: Attainment and progress: The Rochford Review

Tony Powell reports on the findings of the final Rochford Review.

Evaluation article: How to create a leadership team that drives school improvement

A high-performing leadership team is at the centre of any school improvement mission. But how do you go about creating an excellent SLT? Colin McLean of Best Practice Network asks…

Evaluation article: Prioritising the budget for school improvement

Adrian Kneeshaw of Carlton Bolling school gives advice on how to focus school spending on improvement planning.

Evaluation article: Transforming a failing school

Matt Bromley offers some advice on turning around an underperforming school in a short space of time while laying down the foundations for sustainable improvement.

Evaluation article: Evaluating alternative and specially resourced provision

Tony Powell explains how inspectors gather evidence and make judgements on the quality of alternative and specially resourced provision.

Evaluation article: Taking a school-wide approach to mental health and wellbeing

With concerns about mental health rising, what can schools do to help their pupils? Suzanne O’Connell outlines the advice available from the National Children’s Bureau and how it might be…

Evaluation article: The latest developments in education - January 2016

Suzanne O’Connell provides a look at what’s currently being discussed, debated and determined in the world of education.

Evaluation article: Managing uncertainty

If you are struggling with a sense of uncertainty, be reassured: you are not alone. 2016 has been a year of upheaval, with the promise of big changes on the…

Evaluation article: Pupil voice as an evaluation technique

Tony Powell provides guidance on how to use discussion with pupils as a tool for self-evaluation.

Evaluation article: The latest developments in education - September 2016

Suzanne O’Connell provides a look at what’s currently being discussed, debated and determined in the world of education.

Evaluation article: Deconstructing Ofsted: Reflection after inspection

Tony Powell looks at how to use the feedback from your inspection in school improvement planning.

Evaluation article: MAT expansion: Don’t let school improvement become a casualty

How can an expanding multi-academy trust ensure that school improvement doesn’t become a casualty of change? Colin McLean of Best Practice Network looks at the issue and offers some guidance.

Evaluation article: Ten rules for outstanding leaders

Adrian Kneeshaw looks at how leadership is important to the success of the school, and how to lead effectively.

Evaluation article: The governing body as a critical friend

In his second article on the headteacher and governor relationship, Tony Powell defines what is meant by a ‘critical friend’.

Evaluation article: Developing an ethos of high expectations

Steve Burnage shares some practical strategies to enable school leaders to develop an ethos of high expectations in their schools.

Evaluation article: The exam post-mortem

Matt Bromley considers how schools can learn from exam performance data and build this into school improvement.

Evaluation article: Safeguarding: Everyone’s responsibility

With new safeguarding guidance released, it’s time to check your arrangements and update your staff.

Evaluation article: How do inspectors make the judgement about overall effectiveness? The Ofsted model

This article outlines the Ofsted methodology for determining whether a school is ‘outstanding’, ‘good’, ‘requires improvement’ or ‘inadequate’.

Evaluation article: Effective leadership builds effective teams

Steve Burnage offers advice on motivating staff, getting the best from them and building effective teams.

Evaluation article: Baseline assessment and SEND

Suzanne O’Connell looks at a report on baseline assessment in primary schools and it’s affect on identifying children with SEND.

Evaluation article: Making performance management count in school improvement

What do you need to do to make performance management a watertight process that makes a real contribution to school improvement? Keith Wright has some suggestions.

Evaluation article: Joining or setting up a multi-academy trust

Tony Stephens, of the Co-operative Academies Trust, looks at what is the best type of multi-academy trust for a school to join or establish.

Evaluation article: Case study from Carlton Bolling College: Ensuring high-quality governance

Adrian Kneeshaw, Headteacher of Carlton Bolling, gives a personal take on renewing a failing governing body having designed and built one from scratch.

Evaluation article: Using pupil voice to support school evaluation

David Birch explains how capturing the views of students can sharpen school self-evaluation and have a positive impact on your school improvement strategies.

Evaluation article: What are the signs of a good school improvement service adviser?

Frank Norris offers advice on how to choose the most appropriate school improvement partner to work with your school.

Evaluation article: Headteachers’ appraisal

David Birch outlines best practice in the management of the headteacher appraisal process and offers advice for headteachers on how to make the most of appraisal in their own professional development.

Evaluation article: Making CPD work harder

Professional development is a crucial factor in school improvement and improving pupil outcomes, but it could work harder, says Keith Wright.

Evaluation article: Using the Framework for governance

Tony Powell looks at how the Framework for governance can be used to clarify the strategic direction of your school.

Evaluation article: Interpreting the inspection dashboard

There is a new inspection dashboard to go with Ofsted's new Common inspection framework. Tony Powell explains how it can be used.

Evaluation article: The government's Prevent guidance

Suzanne O'Connell considers the guidance available regarding Prevent and school leaders' responsibilities.

Evaluation article: Improving provision for the most able

Ofsted reports are making it clear. The DfE wants to see secondary schools challenging their most able students. In this article, Suzanne O’Connell summarises the criticisms and recommendations from ‘The…

Evaluation article: Personal development, behaviour and welfare

Tony Powell looks at the new key area ‘personal development, behaviour and welfare’ under the new Ofsted inspection framework.

Evaluation article: Is there a mental health crisis in our schools?

The mental health of children and young people is at the top of the agenda at the moment. Increased anxiety, self-harm and eating disorders are bringing some schools to crisis…

Evaluation article: Evaluating the effectiveness of assessment

Tony Powell interprets government guidance on assessment to help schools support self-evaluation.

Evaluation article: Raising boys’ achievement

John Viner looks at research into boys’ underachievement and reviews some successful strategies.

Evaluation article: National standards of excellence for headteachers

Tony Powell looks at the revised national standards for headteachers and how they should be used by schools.

Evaluation article: Governors and the inspection interview

Tony Powell discusses how to prepare governors in advance for an inspection interview.

Evaluation article: Monitoring and coaching through lesson observation

John Viner explores ways to develop a culture of continual improvement in teaching through lesson observation.

Evaluation article: CPD: Less measurement and more development

How can schools translate CPD into genuine improvement for staff? Keith Wright asked leaders to share their views, and discovered an emerging consensus about which approaches work best.

Evaluation article: Challenging 
the most able

Tony Powell looks at how to identify the most able pupils, and the key factors that enable the brightest pupils to achieve.

Evaluation article: Using the teachers’ standards as a framework for CPD and accountability

Tony Powell looks at how the teachers’ standards can be used to evaluate performance and support improvement.

Evaluation article: Managing behaviour outside the classroom

Since January 2014 there has been increased emphasis on the behaviour of pupils. In this article, Jim Donnelly offers advice on managing behaviour around the school.

Evaluation article: Managing pupils’ behaviour in lessons

David Birch offers advice on effective classroom management and argues that effective practice relies on a combination of the consistent application of agreed policy and the development of awareness and…

Evaluation article: Keeping Children Safe Statutory Guidance

This is statutory guidance, which means that schools and colleges (including academies and free schools) must have regard to it. It contains what schools should do and what they must…

Evaluation article: Four steps to school improvement

School improvement is a complex recipe that takes time to perfect. Keith Wright looks at some of the key barriers to school improvement and suggests strategies and systems to overcome…

Evaluation article: Finding a way through the jungle: The essence of leadership

Louise Wingrove gives practical advice on how to become a leader your team will want to follow.

Evaluation article: How to audit your whole-school literacy provision

Given that whole-school literacy is central to raising standards of achievement in schools and that it is a key focus for Ofsted, David Birch outlines some of the actions schools…

Evaluation article: Professional development: the growing case for evidence

Teachers are good at gathering evidence of pupil progress, but many find it difficult to do the same with regard to their own professional development.  Keith Wright looks at the…

Evaluation article: Getting personal with CPD

Less than a fifth of teachers in England’s schools think their continuing profession development (CPD) is any good, according to a recent survey. One of the keys to unlocking the…

Evaluation article: Making performance appraisal an objective and helpful process

Performance appraisal is crucial to school improvement, but many schools are still without a rigorous and transparent way of carrying it out, says Keith Wright. Here, he analyses the challenges…

Evaluation article: Parent View — an update

Jenny Townsend looks at the importance of Parent View in achieving an outstanding rating in inspection, and how comments from parents are used by Ofsted.

Evaluation article: Raising pupil achievement through parental engagement: a practical approach

Jenny Townsend explores how parental engagement can contribute to school improvement and in particular the role this can play in raising pupil achievement levels.

Evaluation article: Effective parental engagement

Ofsted’s Parent View means that parents have a direct influence on the decision to inspect. Jenny Townsend examines why this matters to schools.

Evaluation article: How do inspectors make the judgement about overall effectiveness? The Ofsted model

Published: Wednesday, 14 September 2016

This article outlines the Ofsted methodology for determining whether a school is ‘outstanding’, ‘good’, ‘requires improvement’ or ‘inadequate’.

Summary

  • The aim of the Common Inspection Framework (CIF) is to ensure consistency across all providers in the inspection process and outcomes, so that schools achieving an ‘outstanding’ rating will be comparable to other providers.
  • Ofsted will rate the three key areas: personal development, behaviour and welfare; teaching, learning and assessment, and outcomes for learners.
  • If safeguarding is ineffective, overall effectiveness will be graded as inadequate and, depending on the severity of the weakness, the school will be identified as having ‘serious weaknesses’ or be placed in ‘special measures’.

Introduction

Given the level of criticism of Ofsted, the number of formal complaints is low. Nevertheless, Ofsted investigates and takes each one seriously. Lead inspectors know this and also know that the real sin for an inspector is failing to follow the handbook. It is only really in such circumstances that a complaint will be upheld. As they prepare for each inspection, therefore, lead inspectors will make sure they have the latest guidance and instructions. At the same time, they are expected to use their professional experience and knowledge to reach a ‘best fit’ judgement, particularly with the final judgement on overall effectiveness.

As the lead inspector gathers and weighs evidence, she or he will refer constantly to the grade descriptors, but should also have in mind the simple question: What is it like to be a child in this school?

The Common Inspection Framework (CIF)

The aim of the CIF is to ensure consistency across all providers in the inspection process and outcomes. So, an ‘outstanding’ FE provider should be comparable to an ‘outstanding’ school. In order to achieve this, the CIF instructs inspectors to focus on:

  • evidence of impact across all key judgements
  • impact of the culture of the school
  • safeguarding as a golden thread running through all judgements
  • importance of a broad and balanced curriculum
  • personal development, behaviour and welfare as a new judgement
  • alignment of judgements on early years and sixth forms.

For example, when considering whether to grade teaching as good or outstanding, an inspector will consider whether the quality of teaching has a good or outstanding impact on personal development, behaviour and welfare, academic outcomes and SMSC. Similarly, the breadth and balance of the curriculum will be measured by the extent to which it enables all pupils to thrive in all aspects of their development.

The sequence for key inspection judgements

1. Safeguarding

Safeguarding, the ‘golden thread’, is always the starting point. If safeguarding is ineffective, overall effectiveness will be graded as inadequate and, depending on the severity of the weakness, the school will be identified as having ‘serious weaknesses’ or be placed in ‘special measures’. There will always be a written judgement on safeguarding but not a grade. Inspectors have been issued with separate guidance on evaluating safeguarding: Inspecting safeguarding in early years, education and skills settings (www.ofsted.gov.uk).

In short inspections of ‘good’ schools, inspectors must establish only two judgements:

  • whether provision remains good and
  • whether safeguarding is effective.

Following this judgement on safeguarding, the grade for overall effectiveness will be determined by the following process. Note that although the grades are determined in a set order, this does not mean that each aspect of the school’s work is considered separately. In practice, inspectors will draw upon all the evidence they have gathered.

2. Grade three key areas

Each of the following key areas will be graded on the four-point scale and in this order:

a) Teaching, learning and assessment

The quality of teaching is graded first because it governs the grade for overall effectiveness in that, unless teaching is graded as ‘outstanding’, overall effectiveness cannot be ‘outstanding’. Inspectors will evaluate teaching over time using a range of evidence, including the school’s own self-evaluation. The guidance and grade descriptors make it clear that they will still be looking for criteria such as good planning, subject knowledge and pedagogical skills.

b) Personal development, behaviour and welfare

Each of the three strands is important in reaching the overall grade. Within the report there will be two separate judgements on behaviour and personal development and welfare. The overall grade will be limited by the lowest judgement and the overall grade for the key area will feed into the grade for overall effectiveness.

c) Outcomes for learners

In judging outcomes, inspectors will focus on progress and, within this, greatest weight will be given to the progress of all groups of pupils currently in the school across the curriculum.

3. Factor in early years and/or sixth form provision

When deciding on the most appropriate grade for each of the key areas, inspectors will factor in evidence from inspection of any early years provision or from the 16 to 19 study programmes (the sixth form provision) and consider its impact in the wider context of the school. For example, if a primary school has nursery and reception provision this will have a greater weighting than if it only had reception provision.

4. Grade early years and/or sixth form provision

Inspectors will then separately judge the effectiveness of any early years provision and/or the 16 to 19 study programmes. For either case or both, inspectors must provide a grade and write sections in the report that summarise the key findings and explain the effectiveness grading for early years and sixth form.

5. Effectiveness of leadership and management

Inspectors will then make the key judgement on the effectiveness of leadership and management. Inspectors must take into proportionate account any significant issues in the quality of early years provision and/or 16 to 19 study programmes that may have an impact on the effectiveness of the leadership and management of the school as a whole.
The section on leadership and management will contain the judgement on the effectiveness of safeguarding arrangements.

6. Overall effectiveness

Before the final judgement on overall effectiveness, inspectors must evaluate but will not grade:

  • the effectiveness and impact of the provision for pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development
  • the extent to which the education provided by the school meets the needs of the range of pupils at the school including:
    • disabled pupils
    • pupils who have special educational needs.

Obviously, the easiest judgement is when all aspects of the school’s work are outstanding or good. If this is not the case, the report will explain the improvements needed to move to the next grade.

Toolkit

Use the following item in the Toolkit to put the ideas in the article into practice:

About the author

Tony Powell is an experienced Additional Inspector and LA adviser. He writes extensively on education management, but his main work is in supporting schools to develop systems for self-evaluation, school improvement and continuing professional development. Tony can be contacted at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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