Ofsted consults on plans to give schools separate grades for their sixth form and early-years’ provision

Ofsted has this week set out its proposals for introducing separate graded judgements on the quality of nursery and reception, and post-16 provision in its school inspection reports.  In the consultation Ofsted recognise that that it is important to place as much emphasis during inspection on the early years and the sixth form as on the quality of provision for five to 16 year olds.

The criteria of the judgements will encompass the same criteria as used for the overall effectiveness of a school, namely: pupil achievement; the quality of teaching; behaviour and safety; and leadership and management.  The separate judgements will be taken into account by inspectors when making their judgement on the overall effectiveness of a school.  The proposed changes are due to come into effect from September 2014.

Ofsted’s national director for schools, Michael Cladingbowl, said: “We know that the early years of education set children up for life – so it is really important that schools get this right. I want our inspection reports to be even clearer about how well children are doing in reception and nursery classes.  It’s also important that parents and young people have a clear understanding of how well the school’s sixth form is doing so they can make informed choices about where to continue their studies when they reach 16.”

James Kewin, deputy chief executive of the Sixth Form Colleges’ Association, welcomed the announcement.  He said “We’re very pleased that sixth forms will be graded separately.  We’re pleased that, in principle, there’s an acceptance that they should be judged on the same criteria as sixth-form colleges, and be given a separate grade but, of course, the devil is in the detail. If young people and parents are going to make the important decision to choose a provider, they need to be able to compare them.”

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