Ofsted’s “Non-association independent schools inspections and outcomes: management information” was published yesterday. What interests me the most when it comes to inspection statistics is the in-year data as it tells you how well schools are faring at the moment. The other data available, “Most Recent Inspections” might sound more appealing but as the name suggests it refers to the most recent inspections outcomes for each school, whenever that may have been – this means that the inspection data for some schools can be from 3 years ago if they haven’t been inspected since. Okay, enough about that, that’s not what I want to talk about – it’s just that when Ofsted summarise inspection data they usually refer to “most recent inspections” and that can be misleading if what you want to know is how schools are doing in inspections now.
Anyway, moving on. According to the data published yesterday, for the 198 standard inspections carried out between September 2021 and March 2022 (and whose reports were published by the 31st of March 2022), these were the outcomes in percentages.
Now, naturally you will want to compare this with data from the same time last year – unfortunately, standard inspections were still suspended at that time due to you know what. So, reaching further back to the period September 2019 – March 2020, 189 inspections were completed and below are the outcomes:
Clearly schools are not doing quite as well now as they did during the period above as seen by the slight decline in positive outcomes. 66% of schools were awarded grade 2 or better then and now only 63%.
When it comes to progress monitoring inspections, schools are also not doing as well as they were doing before. Fortunately, unlike standard inspections, progress monitoring inspections were taking place during the same period last year so here are the outcomes for this year, followed by last year.
Having said that, the number of inspections last year was close to double the figure for the current year and we should take this into account.
So, why am I talking about this? To raise awareness amongst those who own and are responsible for managing independent schools that are inspected by Ofsted. It is becoming a bit more challenging to get positive inspection outcomes during standard inspections and a lot more challenging for those who have previously failed to meet the independent school standards to bounce back during progress monitoring inspections.
What should you do?
Know what to expect from inspection – How?
Read the inspection handbook, it is freely available, and it tells you exactly what to expect.
Also, read recent inspection reports for independent schools, again freely available here Just type “independent schools” where it says Name, URN or Keyword
If you know someone in the same sector who has recently gone through an inspection, talk to them
If you don’t have time to do any of the above and you can spare 3 hours, invite us to deliver a training workshop which tells you what to expect: https://bit.ly/3kXmMZh
Know where you stand – How?
Conduct a thorough self-evaluation. Make sure you include Ofsted’s inspection criteria in your evaluation criteria. Be honest and make judgments based on evidence available from more than one source. Here is a free guidance document we prepared, you might find it useful: https://bit.ly/3yuOg0n
Invite a peer who leads another school like yours to carry out an independent evaluation of your school. I think this works best if you reciprocate. Again, make sure that they include Ofsted inspection criteria in their evaluation criteria. Also make sure that they are objective (especially if you are friends) and that they make judgments based on evidence available from more than one source.
If you haven’t or can’t do any of the above for whatever reason and you still want to get an idea about where you stand – please invite us to carry out a full audit of your provision using Ofsted inspection criteria. We can talk about it in a free, no obligation consultation call/Zoom meeting, book you’re here: https://bit.ly/3M3DvGj
For a quick evaluation of your readiness for inspection you can also take our 2-minute test here: https://inspection-readiness.scoreapp.com/
Finally, and this is a long-term feat – build a system for evaluating and continuously improving the overall effectiveness of your provision. Make sure that your system:
Is practical and not one to put in a folder and forget about
Evaluates every aspect of your provision
Incorporates Ofsted’s inspection criteria
Includes a strategy for ensuring consistent compliance with the Independent School Standards
Includes criteria for evaluating what matters to your school (as outlined in vision/mission/values/ethos statements)
Here is a free guidance document we have compiled – it could be useful: https://bit.ly/3w3C5Gd
What if you have already been inspected and things didn't go well?
Here is a free guidance document which could help you as you take action to address issues identified during inspection: https://bit.ly/3wni2Bl
You could also ask us to work with you during this process, just get in touch! Book your free, no obligation consultation call/Zoom meeting here: https://bit.ly/3M3DvGj
At Marell Consulting Limited, our main aim is to promote excellence in non-association independent schools. In order to do this properly, you can’t be constantly worrying about your next inspection or working frantically to recover from the previous one. For this reason, we do everything we can to support schools to develop inspection readiness and ensure consistent compliance with the standards.
Getting good inspection outcomes and meeting the standards is clearly something that you can achieve on your own, but if you need support or a critical friend, we are here. Just get in touch. Book your free, no obligation consultation call/Zoom meeting here: https://bit.ly/3M3DvGj