No Notice Ofsted Inspections


Ofsted have announced that next week they will be starting a programme of unannounced inspections for schools where there might be behavioural concerns.

Ofsted will be selecting schools for visits based on the information received from parents via the Parent View website.

During the visit they will observe behaviour during lessons, during breaks and after school as well as discussing behaviour with pupils and staff.

Parent Surveys and Ofsted Parent View

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We've added a useful new report into our parent survey results. It takes your results from one of our parent surveys lists them against the Ofsted 'Parent View' questions for comparison.

The views of parents collected through Parent view are often from the vocal minority and could skew the view that an Ofsted Inspector forms of the school. Conducting your own parent survey which is likely to have a much higher response rate is a great way to put things into perspective.

The questions parents are asked by Ofsted are as follows:

  1. My child is happy at this school
  2. My child feels safe at this school
  3. My child makes good progress at this school
  4. My child is well looked after at this school
  5. My child is taught well at this school
  6. My child receives appropriate homework for their age
  7. This school ensures the pupils are well behaved
  8. This school deals effectively with bullying
  9. This school is well led and managed
  10. This school responds well to any concern I raise
  11. I receive valuable information from the school about my child's progress
  12. I would recommend this school to another parent

Ofsted Parent View

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Ofsted have launched their new parent view website allowing parents to give their views of schools. And anyone can view the results of a school once 3 parents have completed the survey.

Information is gathered by means of a 12 question online survey, answering each question strongly agree to strongly disagree. Here are the questions:

  1. My child is happy at this school
  2. My child feels safe at this school
  3. My child makes good progress at this school
  4. My child is well looked after at this school
  5. My child is taught well at this school
  6. My child receives appropriate homework for their age
  7. This school ensures the pupils are well behaved
  8. This school deals effectively with bullying
  9. This school is well led and managed
  10. This school responds well to any concern I raise
  11. I receive valuable information from the school about my child's progress
  12. I would recommend this school to another parent

The questions are similar but subtly different to the 13 question parental survey undertaken as part of an inspection by Ofsted. See related blog post.

Parents have to register with their email address to take the survey and if they complete the survey more than once per academic year the most recent submission takes precedent.

Here's how the results look:

New Ofsted Inspection Framework - 2012

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A new inspection framework is on its' way. What do we know so far?

27 judgement areas down to 4:

  • Pupil achievement
  • The quality of teaching
  • The quality of leadership and management
  • The behaviour and safety of pupils
Plus, there will be an overall effectiveness judgement.

You can read the Evaluation Schedule for Inspectors being used in the Summer 2011 pilots here.

To supplement their judgements, Inspectors are specifically asked to consider evidence from surveys of pupils, parents, staff or governors which either they or the school have undertaken.

Here's the relevant extracts from the guidance:

Teaching Quality

Inspectors should supplement first hand observations by:
"analysing evidence provided by the school about pupils’, parents’ and carers’ and staff views of teaching in addition to the outcomes of any questionnaires arranged as part of the inspection"

Behaviour and safety of pupils

"Inspectors must take into account a range of evidence to judge what behaviour is like over an extended period of time and should consider:"

"the views expressed by pupils, and different groups of pupils, on behaviour and safety, and their views on harassment, racism and bullying within the school, including cyber-bullying, homophobic and trans-gender bullying"


"the views of parents and carers, staff, governors and others"

So it's clear that in at least 2 key judgement areas, inspectors will be considering the views of those close to the school. The school can decide whether to rely on surveys completed as part of the inspection or put in a survey program in advance in order to prepare their evidence and take any corrective actions necessary.

Parents to trigger Inspection using Ofsted website to rate their school

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Ofsted has just published a consultation paper on its new proposals for inspecting schools from January 2012.

The TES, in a full page article, have quoted an Ofsted spokeswoman as saying "We are exploring the possibility of hosting a web-based survey on the Ofsted website, which we hope could generate high rates of response."

Ofsted "propose to gather parents’ views by inviting them to answer a range of questions about their children’s school via Ofsted’s website." (Page 16, para 42)

Ofsted also wish to be "confident that behaviour seen during the inspection is maintained at all times" so are proposing to take more account of the views of pupils and parents/carers in this respective. (Page 11, para 22)

How schools promote engagement of parents is proposed for consideration when Inspectors judge the effectiveness of leadership & management. (Page 14)

These proposals are a continuing extension of Ofsted's desire to include feedback from pupils and parents when inspecting a school.

If pupils or parents have concerns, or even axes to grind, much better that they share these in a controlled way which allows the school time to address their concerns. School surveys are a perfect way to do this.

Support for Outstanding School Inspections

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As previously commented on, outstanding schools are exempt from routine inspection, but an article in todays TES indicates that many people, from the predictable to the less predictable, are anxious about this 'gap'.

Christine Gilbert (Ofsted's Chief Inspector) is reported as suggesting it is a cost cutting measure and desktop analysis or complaints from parents may not pick up a deterioration in performance quickly enough.

Russell Hobby (general secretary of heads' union the NAHT) is quoted as being "uncomfortable with no inspections for outstanding schools.are both anxious about the impact of this."

Even the executive principal of a pair of federated schools, Andrew Hutchinson, said "Not having Ofsted inspections leaves a gap if the school is never looked at from the outside, and that is a recipe for potential problems."
He has decided to bring in external experts. An external company providing these services even suggested that the standards of inspectors may start to slip if they never visit the best schools...

Not every school can stretch to the expense of bringing in a team of external experts, but a very affordable way of staying on top of any parent, pupil or staff concerns is by means of a survey.

The Importance of the Views Parents when Ofsted Inspect

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The evaluation schedule for schools sets out the judgements that inspectors will make and report on.The judgements are made on the balance of evidence available.

We have reviewed the evaluation schedule and summarised below where evidence about the views of parents will form part of an inspectors judgement.

Grade: The extent to which pupils feel safe

  • the views expressed by pupils from a wide range of groups, and others, such as parents and carers, staff and governors, regarding pupils’ safety at school
  • the extent to which pupils and parents are confident that issues are considered fairly and that appropriate action is taken.
To get an Outstanding grade in this area, parents must strongly agree that the school keeps pupils safe.

Grade: Pupils’ behaviour

  • parents’ and pupils’ views on the standard of behaviour, such as those expressed in parental questionnaires and discussion with parents and pupils; give particular attention to pupils’ own views about being safe and free from harassment and how well pupils from different backgrounds get on with each other.

Grade: The extent to which pupils adopt healthy lifestyles

  • views, and those of others, such as parents and carers, staff and governors, regarding their adoption of healthy lifestyles.

Grade: The extent to which pupils contribute to the school and wider community

  • the views of parents and adults, including members of the local community, about the pupils’ interaction with them.

Grade: The extent to which pupils develop workplace and other skills that will contribute to their future economic well-being

  • pupils’ views and those of parents and carers about how well the school prepares pupils for their future education, training and employment

Grade: The effectiveness of care, guidance and support

  • pupils’ and parents’ views of the information, advice and guidance provided to pupils

Grade: The effectiveness of the governing body in challenging and supporting the school so that weaknesses are tackled decisively and statutory responsibilities met

To get an Outstanding grade in this area, Governors must "engage very effectively with parents, pupils and the staff as a whole and are well informed about users’ views of the school. They use these views to inform strategic priorities for development."

Grade: The effectiveness of the school’s engagement with parents and carers

  • the effectiveness with which the school communicates with all parents and carers with parental responsibility, including those who may be reluctant or unsure about approaching the school, such as mothers and fathers not living with their children, those accessing additional services and those whose children have special educational needs and/or disabilities
  • the views expressed by parents and carers through the Ofsted survey carried out at the point of inspection and any survey information provided by the school
  • the frequency and quality of the school’s communications with parents and carers regarding the achievement, well-being and development of their children, including, for example: reporting arrangements; parent/teacher consultation arrangements; clarity of lines of communication; response rates and complaints procedures
  • the frequency and quality of the school’s communications with parents and carers regarding important school developments, including the ways the school has used the views of stakeholders to influence the school’s priorities
  • the mechanisms for helping parents to support their children’s learning, for example through: information provided, activities for parents and carers and support for specific groups and individuals.
An Inadequate grading will result if "The school does not take sufficient account of parents’ and carers’ views, or the views of particular groups of parents and carers"

    Grade: The effectiveness with which the school deploys resources to achieve value for money

    • the views of parents, carers and pupils in relation to the suitability and availability of resources

    Parent Complaints to Ofsted

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    Parent complaints can trigger an interim Ofsted inspection which could be an unwelcome surprise. Rarely, if the complaint is deemed serious, this could be an immediate inspection.

    What sort of complaints might Ofsted act on?

    Examples listed in the document Complaints to Ofsted about Schools guidance include:
    • the school is not providing a good enough education
    • the pupils are not achieving as much as they should, or their different needs are not being met
    • the school is not well led and managed, or is wasting money, or
    • the pupils’ personal development and well-being are being neglected.
    Complaints should relate to the whole school and Ofsted won't normally investigate issues relating to individual pupils or events nor complaints which have other statutory channels such as admissions or exclusions.

    Goodbye SEF

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    So Michael Gove announced yesterday "another step in the lifting of the bureaucratic burden on heads and teachers" and has asked Ofsted to ditch the SEF. View the full press release.

    Although the SEF was never a statutory requirement, schools felt obliged to complete it - I can imagine how the conversation might go should a team of inspectors turn up to a school without one....

    But Ofsted is still in place and the current inspection framework is based to a large extent on evaluating the schools own self-evaluation. Some schools, whilst detesting the exercise of form filling, have said that it was at least a structured way to record their self-evaluation in 'Ofsted speak' ready for a short notice inspection.

    So, a dilemma? How best to record the results of your self-evaluation?

    Parent Survey Reports - Getting the most from them


    Okay, all your parents have completed the questionnaires and we've sent you back lots of pretty charts. Now what?

    We're going to take a detailed look by way of an example of one way you can use our statistical reports from your parent survey results to quickly get to grips with the wealth of information contained within them.

    At the beginning of the statistical report you are presented with the "Expert Summary". This is a one page summary which quickly allows you to home in on areas of both strengths and weakness.

    Results are grouped by survey areas such as Well-being, Relationships, Involvement etc. By scanning down the page and looking for either long red bars to the left, or long green bars to the right you can quickly identify those areas where parents agree or disagree the most. For the expert summary the green bar is defined as Strongly Disagree plus Agree responses.

    In this example, we can see that 18% of parents disagree that communication is timely and useful. Why?

    We would probably flick through to the summary reports:

    Here we can check the responses in more detail - the number of respondents and also whether the level of "No Repsonses" or "No Opinions" is normal.

    Next we would look to see if this was a common feeling amongst parents across all year groups:

    Straight away from this view we can see that parents of pupils in Year 3 are much more likely to disagree that communication is timely & useful than parents in other year groups. 60% of of Year 3 parents agree, whilst 31% disagree. Disagreements of more than 25% are highlighted in red for you, whilst agreements over 75% are highlighted in green.

    The variance columns to the right compare each year group to the average response for that question. Variances of more than 10% are highlighted as either red or green.

    We can see that whilst the number of responses from Year 3 parents was lower than from Years 5 & 6 at 52, it is comparable to the 51 responses from Year 4.

    Finally, alongside the variance report, we can go back to the summary report for just year 3 parents and look to see if this particular concern of theirs has impacted any of their other perceptions of the school.

    And that's how easy it is. Of course there are many other ways of reviewing your data!

    Ofsted Inspection Questionnaires - A Handy Summary

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    We've posted about the now not so new Ofsted Inspection questionnaires previously but I thought it might be useful to bring all the posts together as a handy reference:

    And a summary of the key documents last revised April 2010:
    The questionnaires and any guidance can also be downloaded from the Guidance section of the Ofsted website.

    Food in Schools - Ofsted Report

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    Ofsted have recently published a report into the progress schools are making in encouraging healthy eating. The Food in Schools report is based on visits to 39 schools and as its' starting point looks at compliance with food based standards and then explores both success & limiting factors.
    They found that 21 of the 39 schools were fully compliant with all food based standards, rising to 24 when school lunches were excluded.
    Parental engagement was highlighted repeatedly, both in terms of parents knowing which foods children were not permitted to bring into school and the content of school lunches.

    We know from our extensive database of parental responses, that when parents are asked "The school provides healthy food options" typically a third of parents disagree.
    While typically 80-90% of parents are very positive that the school encourages their child to eat & drink healthily.

    Interestingly the report recommends "easy ways of monitoring the food choices made by different groups and individuals".
    Again, analysis of our database suggests that when pupils are asked "The school provides healthy food options", ethnic groups in some schools are often markedly more negative in their responses. This most often appears to be an issue for Asian, Black and Other White ethnic groups although results are highly variable.

    If you'd like to know more about what pupils and parents think about food in your school, contact the School Survey Experts.