Ofsted seeking views on improved approach to short inspections

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On the 15h June Ofsted launched a consultation on proposals to improve the short inspection model.

Short inspections began in September 2015 as a proportionate approach to inspecting schools previously judged to be good. They last for one day and begin with the assumption that the school remains good.

Most schools inspected this way keep their good rating. But when the lead inspector decides there is insufficient evidence to confirm the school is still good, or thinks it may now be outstanding, they will convert the short inspection into a full inspection. A team of inspectors then arrives at the school within 48 hours, to gather more evidence and reach a final judgment. Currently, around one-third of short inspections convert to full inspections.

While this inspection model has been widely welcomed, both school leaders and inspectors have told us that the 48 hour conversion period can be challenging, for the following reasons.

  1. Inspection schedules often change at the last minute, which can mean standing down Ofsted Inspectors (OIs) at short notice.
  2. The decision to convert a short inspection is usually taken mid-afternoon, and a team of inspectors then arrives on site early the next day.
  3. In about 20% of cases, before a short inspection takes place it is already clear that a school is facing complex circumstances that warrant a full inspection.

So what exactly are the changes being proposed?

  1. When a short inspection converts, the full inspection will be completed within a maximum of 15 working days, rather than 48 hours.
  2. A full inspection will automatically take place in around 1 in 5 cases where Ofsted has prior evidence that a school is in complex circumstances.

To read the full proposal please click here to visit the .gov website.