Ofsted: inspections will be shorter but more often

From September, Ofsted will inspect ‘good’ schools and further education and skills providers approximately once every three years, rather than once every seven years, in what the regulator has called a ‘radical reform’ as part of a bid to raise standards.

Under the new system, schools that have been judged as ‘good’ will no longer face an automatic inspection every three to five years, but will instead have a much shorter inspection every three years. The brief inspections will be designed to pick up problems sooner, without subjecting schools to the disruption of the full inspection.

An Ofsted spokeswoman described the shorter inspections as a ‘temperature check’ if serious concerns emerge about a school then inspectors will call for a full inspection. Ofsted’s National Director of Schools, Sean Harford said: ‘We believe that these changes to our inspection methods and the inspection workforce will drive even greater consistency and quality in our inspections – and ultimately raise standards in education across England.’

A common inspection framework will also be introduced to standardise the approach to all inspections, as well as inspecting all non-association independent schools in the next three years.

Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Pre-school Learning Alliance, said they welcomed the announcement of a new common inspection framework. He said they hoped the system would lead to a ‘fairer and more consistent approach’ to inspections and that, ‘for the new approach to be successful, however, it is vital that inspectors avoid adopting a one-size-fits-all approach and ensure that all inspections are tailored to the relevant provision types.’

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