Ofsted to ease judgements on school exam results

12 Oct 18

School inspections will relax the emphasis on grades and focus instead on the wider ‘quality of education’, according to Ofsted head Amanda Spielman.

The chief inspector proposed four new inspection judgements focused on the substance of education and a broad curriculum as opposed to exam results.

Speaking at the annual Schools NorthEast summit in Newcastle, Spielman said: “For a long time, our inspections have looked hardest at outcomes, placing too much weight on test and exam results when we consider the overall effectiveness of schools.

“But we know that focusing too narrowly on test and exam results can often leave little time or energy for hard thinking about the curriculum, and in fact can sometimes end up making a casualty of it.”

Spielman said Ofsted would consult on the introduction of a new judgment for ‘quality of education’ to replace the current ‘outcomes for pupils’ and ‘teaching, learning and assessment’ judgements with a broader, single judgement.

Ofsted will also challenge those schools where too much time is spent on preparation for tests at the expense of teaching.

A consultation – to be launched in January – will include three other categories: personal development, behaviour and attitudes and school leadership and management.

Separately, education union leaders urged their members to write to MPs to highlight the funding challenges faced by schools ahead of the Budget late this month.

National Association of Head Teachers general secretary Paul Whiteman said school leaders were being “forced into an impossible situation where the only way to afford to pay staff the recommended amount is to lay some of them off”.

He added: “Only new money from the Treasury will solve the school funding crisis.”

Association of School and College Leaders general secretary Geoff Barton said: “Parliament needs to understand that educational standards are being put at risk by the government’s underfunding of schools and colleges.”

Education secretary Damian Hinds’ recent funding announcement came under fire from unions who claimed it was not good enough.

In September, head teachers marched on Downing Street over school funding.

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