15 Mar


I’ve spent quite an amount of time this week working alongside colleagues from Ofsted.

You may have noticed that Ofsted are presently consulting about a new and revised “framework” (available here).

There are many urban myths about the inspection process: inspectors don’t listen, haven’t got the appropriate skills, there is too much stress placed on school leaders etc. etc. I absolutely see the value of effective inspection/evaluation. I believe that, as recipients of public money, it is entirely appropriate that our schools are judged in relation to the effectiveness of the education that they provide. I guess my challenge to the system has, in the past, been about what we all agree as being “the effectiveness of the education provided.”

I have experienced a myriad of different “frameworks.” I even remember the time when we used to receive 9 months’ notice. Inspectors in that era must have thought all schools smelt of paint and had clean carpets!! I’ve also led schools where the inspectorate rarely looked at teaching and learning but were more concerned about the latest educational “fad.”

The contents of this draft framework are like a breath of fresh air. It’s built around really simple principles. “Every child matters” appears to be a core pillar of the new framework, alongside the “purpose” of a broad, balanced and relevant curriculum. All schools will need to demonstrate that all children participate and succeed. All is crucial.

The emphasis, within the suggested framework, centres on 3 key areas:

  • Intent – what are we intending/planning to teach the children – what will they learn – what are our principles and values?
  • Implementation – what does the curriculum (including the extra curriculum) look/feel like – can all children access it?
  • Impact – how do we evidence that we’ve been successful?

It gives school leaders and school teams the freedom to individualise and personalise the offer. It gives families and young people the opportunity to celebrate success at a myriad of levels – employment, volunteering, participation in communities, living independently, exam results, qualifications, further study, etc etc.

Success measures will be judged at every level. We will move away from the narrow confines of performance indicators at the end of key stage 2 and key stage 4. We have the freedom to personalise, to determine what is important for each child. All our schools have similar values – we want our children to become responsible and well-adjusted citizens who contribute (at every or any level). Special schools have lobbied for these freedoms for years – now let’s put our money where our (collective) mouth is!

Accountability – absolutely. Another step in the direction that means every child (really does) matter.

Have a great weekend,


You can find all Graham’s previous blog entries here