Best Practice

Preparing for Ofsted: Key changes in the 2016/17 inspection handbook

There were only minor changes to this year's Ofsted inspection handbook, but there are still some things schools should note. Accountability expert Stephen Rollett discusses the vital questions school leaders should consider when preparing for an Ofsted inspection this year

It is symptomatic of the state of educational flux in England’s education system that the recently updated Ofsted handbook was heralded for its apparently minor revisions. While it is true that the 2016 version reflected more continuity in the framework than occurred this time last year, there are some important changes of emphasis which are worth paying due attention to.

To a large extent, these changes illustrate the direction of government policy already announced, including, for example, the Education and Adoption Act 2016.

However, dig beneath the relatively minor changes in the handbook and you throw light on the shifting sands below the surface. In this way, the handbook’s utility is not confined to schools facing imminent inspection; it is a window into the challenges and opportunities facing all schools.

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