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Ofsted proposes changes to short inspection system

26/09/2017 Joanna

Ofsted has confirmed a number of changes to its system of short inspections, while launching a consultation seeking views on proposed future overhauls.

The regulator has responded to feedback on its process for converting short inspections and will be introducing new changes to make the conversion process more manageable. To achieve this, around 20 per cent of schools judged to be good during their most recent inspection will automatically receive a full two-day inspection instead of a short assessment, effective from the upcoming October half-term onwards.

This will only occur when evidence shows that the quality of provision may have deteriorated significantly; the other 80 per cent of good schools will continue to receive short inspections. Additionally, until the end of the year, the conversion from a short to a full inspection will normally take place within 48 hours, although in some cases it may take up to seven days.

Additionally, the regulator has agreed to increase the number of inspectors deployed on short inspections of secondary schools with more than 1,100 pupils to three.

These changes have been announced alongside a series of new proposals, including a move for inspectors to continue to convert short inspections within 48 hours when serious concerns about safeguarding, behaviour or the standard of education are raised.

Meanwhile, in cases where inspectors are not confident that a school is still good, but teaching standards, safeguarding or behaviour remain sound, a letter setting out the school's strengths and areas for improvement will be issued instead of an immediate inspection. This is intended to give the school more time to improve.

Sean Harford, Ofsted's national director of education, said: "Under the new proposals, good schools will get detailed feedback on their strengths and weaknesses. And they'll have more time to improve following a short inspection. In this way, we hope to catch schools before they fall."

He added: "We believe this new approach strikes the best possible balance between minimising the inspection burden on schools and Ofsted being able to deliver the short inspection programme."

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