Changes to the school inspection system
Next week I am out of school for three days inspecting another independent school in the north of England. It happens to be a coeducational school, but that doesn’t matter as I shall be using my experience and inspector training to check their compliance with regulations and then how well they perform matched against criteria that measures their teaching, pupils’ learning and children’s achievement as well as their well-being and social progress. It is a school like PHS in that it has children across a junior and senior school and I examine both sections as an inspector.
It is perhaps timely that I should be about to head off to inspect another school as Ofsted announce a change to the way they inspect schools. Past experience tells me that the independent sector then changes too to keep ourselves regulated and in line with the Government’s approach to inspection and indeed at the Girls’ School Association conference in November, Christine Ryan the Chief Inspector for Independent schools, confirmed that plans for change were already being discussed. I am not against the system of checking schools as there is no denying the fact that schools have become more accountable since the inspection system changed to a form of the current model.
It came as no surprise that the Ofsted system is about to undergo a radical overhaul – there have been criticisms of the present model and it is time for a review. Ofsted was established in 1992 and whilst there have been changes along the way, nothing so major as those announced this week. Under the new system, due to be implemented in September, inspections will be shorter but more frequent and Headteachers and senior leaders will be expected to provide quality assurance and evidence of their own system of checking. There will be more emphasis on the quality of the curriculum provision too.
I am not concerned about how this will affect PHS. We have already revised our curriculum and our provision across both schools is outstanding. It isn’t yet known the changes to the independent inspection system but we are in the best position to rise to any amendments and as a trained inspector I will be at least aware of the challenges they bring.