This afternoon I held a direct meeting with the Chief Inspector of Education, Amanda Spielman, and the National Director (education), Chris Russell.
I wanted to talk about the Ofsted framework, and incentivising good provision of SEND. From being in contact with schools and headteachers, I’ve unfortunately heard quite a few negative reports about how the Ofsted reports framework have reflected on the work schools do for SEND.
However, I was pleased to hear reassurance in the meeting this afternoon, which highlighted the differences in the new framework, introduced in September 2019. Due to the pandemic, only about 20% of schools have yet been judged under the new system, however I am encouraged that this new framework steps away from results tables and towards judging the ‘positive difference’ made to students – this is particularly important for SEND pupils.
It was explained in our meeting that a school with a low SEND intake but high attainment in exams might not perform as well in Ofsted reports as a school which has a higher number of SEND students, for whom it makes a significant and positive difference, despite seemingly lower outcomes in a league table. What really matters is the positive difference made to the students and I am pleased to see that reflected in Ofsted thinking. I’m encouraged that once the new framework beds in properly, improvements will follow.