Leader magazineASCL - Association of School and College Leaders

Beware of Ofsted penalties

Members should be aware of two issues that are having a negative effect on inspection results.

First, it doesn't say this in any of the Ofsted documentation, but what is clear from ASCL's monitoring is that schools which do not review the progress of each individual child are falling foul of Ofsted.

In her annual report, HMCI Christine Gilbert put it this way: "The big question is how all secondary schools can maintain the relentless focus on each individual's progress that is characteristic of the best schools."

Failure to monitor individual progress is likely to impact on three areas of the inspection judgements so, to put it somewhat colloquially, it's a 'triple whammy'.

It is likely to impact first in the judgement of outcomes in 'achievement and standards'. Ofsted will say that without this individual monitoring, achievement is unlikely to be what it should.

Then it will impact in the judgement of the processes inspected under 'care, guidance and support'. Schools have received 'outstanding', or grade 1, for personal development but a grade 2 for care, guidance and support because the care did not extend to monitoring individual progress.

Finally, for the school's failure to ensure that individual monitoring is in place, the judgement on leadership and management will be affected.

Of course, it is never enough to simply be doing something - what is done must always lead to improvement, and leaders must know whether or not the actions which the school takes have a positive impact.

So, when the monitoring shows that a student's progress has slipped below the expected level, inspectors will be looking for intervention to be triggered which enables that individual to get back on track.

Vocational courses

Some vocational college courses for year 11 students do not lead to accreditation, which shows in schools' CVA measures.  This has a massive negative impact on CVA scores and, at best, when Ofsted calls, leaves schools having to do some explaining and feeling that their efforts to provide personalised learning routes are unappreciated. 

Schools are strongly advised to ensure that, using Section 96, these courses are appropriately accredited.

By Keith Dennis, ASCL Inspection Consultant

© 2017 Association of School and College Leaders