Wilshaw hails revamped school inspection regime

16 Jun 15

Reforms to the school inspection regime to be introduced from September represent the biggest change to regulation in the sector since the formation of Ofsted, Sir Michael Wilshaw has said.

The chief inspector of schools said that the reforms, which will lead to schools and further education providers rates as “good” facing only short inspections every three years, would reduce the burden of inspection without losing the rigour.

Currently, all schools are inspected every three to five years but under the new plans, those rated good or outstanding will be given more frequent, but less in-depth, one-day inspections. This is intended to ensure that standards are being maintained, while also allowing Ofsted to focus its more in-depth efforts on schools rated as inadequate or in need of improvement.

In the first of eight conferences being held around the country to share the details of the new inspection model, Wilshaw said “the starting assumption of Her Majesty’s Inspectors will be that the school or college is good”.

This was intended to engender an atmosphere in which honest, challenging, professional dialogue can take place, he told the audience of more than 400 headteachers, college principals and early years professionals in London.

“Make no mistake, this is a very different inspection model to what has gone before,” he added.

“Leaders will have nothing to fear from accurately identifying at the outset any weaknesses in their provision – as well as the strengths – based on their own evaluation. HMI will be looking to see that the leadership has a clear understanding of the key areas for development – and a credible and effective plan for addressing these.

“Short inspections will reduce the burden of inspection without losing the rigour which parents and the public rightly expect of Ofsted.”

Under the plans, if inspectors decide at the end of the short examination that they need more evidence to confirm a judgement – which could include increasing or decreasing the school’s grade – the visit will be converted to a full inspection.

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