Changes to Ofsted inspections

Topics covered: Ridouts professional advice

From September 2015, Ofsted will only use directly employed inspectors to inspect schools and colleges and will no longer use third-party contractors.

Currently, most inspectors are employed by outsourced private contractors. Ofsted believes that the changes will mean direct control over the “selection, training and quality assurance” of inspectors.

Chief inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw has previously said: “Inspection, as far as I’m concerned, is just too important for Ofsted to simply have oversight of third-party arrangements.”

Head teachers’ leaders have welcomed the change as a way of improving the consistency of inspections as the “additional inspectors” who are currently employed by private contractors will become directly managed by Ofsted.

The current outsourcing contracts that Ofsted have will not be extended when they come to an end next year. Nick Jackson, director of corporate services at Ofsted, said that with the conclusion of these contracts “the time was right to look again at how Ofsted can best deliver a service that is both efficient and flexible.”

Russell Hobby, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers said: “The variability of delivery is one of the profession’s biggest concerns. Ofsted needs to be sure that its own internal quality assurance is up to spec, though. It is inspecting too many things too frequently for us to be entirely confident about quality.”

Malcolm Trobe, deputy general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, also welcomed the changes and said he wanted them to go further to ensure the quality of inspection teams. He said: “We believe HMIs should lead the inspection service. The inspection workforce should involve serving or recently retired school leaders who work directly for Ofsted and who receive the calibre of training needed to support the work of HMIs leading to a skilled, knowledgeable and respected inspection team.”

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