Ofsted should get rid of ‘crude’ single inspection framework

Sector leaders have called for Ofsted to end its single inspection framework, labelling it ‘flawed and not conducive to improvement.’

The Local Government Association (LGA), Association of Directors for Children’s Services (ADCS) and Solace has co-authored a position paper on the issue of Ofsted inspections. The paper has called for an accountability framework that is ‘less reactive and more holistic than the current single inspection framework.’ The organisations claimed it should be replaced by a portfolio approach, which would include an unannounced inspection of the contact, referral and assessment front door services. This would be on a multi-agency basis, depending on local arrangements.

The paper indicates that if an inspection identifies serious concerns or inadequacies then the local authority and its partners would be subject to a wider, multi-agency joint inspection with a narrative judgment, replacing the ‘crudely graded, overall judgment’ currently in use. It also raised concerns about how the current ‘inadequate’ judgment is counterproductive to staff recruitment and retention.

Alan Wood, president of the ADCS, said the organisation believes that the current framework, ‘does not get to the heart of how well services are working.’ He said that, ‘a new regime is needed, one that takes into account the input of all safeguarding partners and contributes much more positively to achieving better outcomes for children and young people.’

David Simmonds, chair of the LGA’s Children and Young People Board, said there needs to be a ‘back to basics’ review of Ofsted. President of Solace, Mark Rogers, argued that currently Ofsted inspects ‘around artificial boundaries using blunt judgments.’

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