Ofsted shakes-up school inspections


School inspections are to concentrate on four key areas from January 2012: teaching quality, pupil achievement, effective leadership and management, and standards of behaviour and safety in schools.

These priorities have been announced as part of a major reorganisation of how Ofsted inspects schools, in line with the Government’s Education Bill, which is currently making its way through Parliament.

The focus on these four key areas represents a dramatic simplification of the Office’s inspection criteria, which previously comprised 26 categories, and it will, Ofsted claims, provide a “sharper focus” for its inspections. More time observing lessons in classrooms is promised under the new proposals and there will be a greater emphasis on ensuring reading standards in primary schools.

In a move that has provoked opposition from many school leaders, Ofsted has also announced that parents will be able to contribute their views on a school’s performance via an official Ofsted website.

The framework and evaluation schedule for inspection are published on Ofsted’s website in draft form, as both are subject to final parliamentary approval of the Education Bill:

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