Inspection: Small but important changes

A new school year and an updated Ofsted handbook. While there have only been minor changes this time around, Colin Logan highlights some of the key things that school leaders should take note of

The 2016 version of the Ofsted inspection handbook for Section 5 inspections in schools that was released on August 23 contains many mainly cosmetic changes in terminology and presentation.

Among these, however, are a number of amendments and additions which, although largely originating from changes to school accountability measures, have substantial implications for school leaders.

All previous references to closing in-school performance gaps for, for example, disadvantaged pupils now refer to reducing (or, in the case of pupils with SEN, removing) the differences between them.

What is significant, however, is that the comparator has changed. The performance of a school’s disadvantaged pupils will be compared with that of other (i.e. non-disadvantaged) pupils nationally – not their peers in school. This is in line with changes in the school performance tables, where in-school gaps will no longer be reported.

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