Ofsted’s new inspection framework in the spotlight

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Ofsted has started delivering on its new inspection framework. What can providers expect?

In September, Ofsted launched its new Inspection Framework.  The Framework, described by one provider as “a pretty significant shift in focus and emphasis on the inspection process,” shifts Ofsted’s quality focus from outcomes to intent, implementation and impact.

What does this shift mean for providers?

The meaning of the ‘three i’s’ are outlined in the Ofsted document, the Education Inspection Framework.

‘Intent’ applies to the curriculum and aims at learning that is ambitious, coherently planned for education and employment going forward, where all learners are treated equally and is inclusive of those with SEND or high needs.

‘Implementation’ addresses the quality of teaching and their capacity to deliver an ambitious curriculum.

‘Impact’ is considered more broadly than simple criteria of success. It means that learners acquire the knowledge and skills embedded in the curriculum and achieve as a result. They should also be prepared for the next stage of their careers – whether this is further learning or employment. Learners are expected to ‘read widely and often’ as a result of their education.

What’s new is that Ofsted will have a much sharper focus on the curriculum – what it delivers to the learner in terms of skills, knowledge and behaviours, and preparedness for further study or work.

Chris Jones, Her Majesty’s Inspector – Special Adviser for Apprenticeships, said in our quarterly newsletter, the Pulse:

“What’s different about the Framework is the focus on curriculum. Apprenticeship standards documents don’t say much about the content of learning and how learners get to the point of acquiring the skills, knowledge and behaviours set out in the standard.

“Providers and employers need to think about the development stages an apprentice goes through before they are judged to be competent.”

As Jones further clarified in an article in FE Week:

“Previously, we looked at the curriculum as a small element of leadership and management, and not through a teaching and assessment lens. With this Framework, we will look in greater depth at what the provider chooses to offer, how well the curriculum is ordered and structured, and whether it is taught well.”

FE Week reported on one provider who had undergone an inspection under the new Framework. The inspectors, said John Deaville, managing director of Woodspeen Training, spent most of their time talking to teachers to assess impact, rather than conducting lesson observations or looking at the paperwork.

“It was a real focus on what have you done for these people, not just did they get a piece of paper and a qualification, and that was hugely different,” said Deaville.

Richard Alberg, Chief Executive of MWS Technology, said:

“The focus on a quality curriculum and ensuring learners are properly prepared for further study or employment is absolutely right, and a qualitative improvement from focusing on outcomes. No provider offering a quality product should fear the new Inspection Framework.

“At MWS, all our efforts are focused on helping providers deliver that quality product – one that also helps keep learners on track and helps manage Ofsted compliance. We would welcome a call from any provider who wants to improve performance for their business and learners.”

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