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Ofsted to emphasise teaching quality in school inspection shake-up

30/09/2011 Joanna
The education watchdog Ofsted has announced that it is to change the schools inspection service in a shake-up that will place more focus on the quality of teaching jobs.

New inspection criteria will give more focus to four categories: teaching standards, pupil achievement, behaviour and school leadership, the BBC reported.

This marks a move away from an emphasis on pupil wellbeing which included a list of 26 individual categories of assessment.

Under the new plans, the four areas of focus will see more practical issues such as reading ability and behaviour receive the most attention from inspectors.

Schools minister Nick Gibb said that the new guidelines will allow Ofsted to concentrate "on things that really matter to parents".
A major change will affect the intervals between inspections, with higher-rated schools inspected less frequently.

'Outstanding' schools will have their routine inspections replaced by a responsive inspection that will occur if complaints are made or results change.

Schools rated as 'good' will be inspected every five years while 'satisfactory' schools will have visits made every three. Schools with the status of 'inadequate' will have regular inspections to maintain close monitoring of their performance.

Acting Ofsted chief, Miriam Rosen, said that guidelines will be strengthened to make it more difficult to achieve the 'outstanding' rating.

She said: "It is increasingly important that we focus on the key aspects of schools' work and make sure we use our resources where they have the most impact," the BBC quoted.

One area of the reforms drawing heavy criticism is the plan to implement a website on which parents can anonymously criticise their children's schools.

It is feared that the website could induce malicious criticism and lead to hysteric complaints. Comments on the site will be considered when Ofsted writes inspection reports while a sudden surge of complaints could result in an inspection.

Responding to the new criteria, Dr Mary Bousted, general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, said: "The framework will only help schools get better if it supports staff training and development and encourages a proper professional dialogue.

"Ofsted won’t improve teaching unless it moves away from fear-driven inspection."

Posted by Tim ColmanADNFCR-2164-ID-800744935-ADNFCR
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