Revised inspection arrangements come into effect this month which scrap the “satisfactory” category and replace it with the new “requires improvement” grade.
However, Ofsted has confirmed that those schools judged satisfactory at the end of last month will be given a “clean slate” before being inspected by the end of the 2013/14 academic year. Schools already judged “inadequate” and given a notice to improve will immediately be treated as schools that have “serious weaknesses”.
Elsewhere, schools will now need to demonstrate “outstanding” teaching in order to be judged as outstanding overall. Also, schools will now be notified of an inspection visit by telephone on the afternoon of the working day before the inspection starts.
It is the second time this year that the inspection framework has been revised after changes introduced in January. Ofsted said it is “raising the bar for school inspections” and will be putting more senior inspectors in the field to “promote improvement through inspection and to ensure the right amount of time is spent giving support to schools when they need it”.
Chief inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw added: “I make no apology for introducing an inspection framework that raises expectations and focuses on the importance of teaching. The new short-notice inspections allow inspectors to see schools as they really are. Schools judged ‘requires improvement’ will receive strong support from Ofsted.
“Showing the need for improvement is often the spur that brings about change. I want Ofsted to be giving the right support to the schools that need it. Inspectors will spend more time doing inspection and improvement work locally and they will be supported by eight new regional directors, each responsible for learning and improvement in their respective areas.”
Ofsted has produced leaflets explaining the new framework, which can be downloaded from www.ofsted.gov.uk