Changes afoot at Ofsted

With spring approaching, change is also afoot at Ofsted. We recently announced proposals to change the way we inspect early years, schools and post 16 provision.

The rationale for the changes, I hope, will resonate with many parents. At the heart of it, we want to shift the focus away from test results to look at whether children are being taught a full range of subjects within the curriculum.

English and mathematics are important subjects of course, but we also want to see children deepen their understanding of the world they live in. So learning about the arts, sciences, geography, history and modern languages are just as important.

That said, we recognise that early reading is key for primary school children if they are to fully grasp and enjoy all the different subjects they will be taught. So we will look at how well schools are teaching children to become confident, fluent readers, starting with phonics and building up from there.

For instance, if you want children to read really well by the end of primary school, you can make a huge positive difference if you read to them, teach them new words and have them read as much as possible. Fluency is not achieved just by having them take countless reading comprehension practice tests.


One of the things that parents are keen to know about is how behaviour is managed in schools. It goes without saying that for children to learn, they need to have a calm, orderly and safe environment. So for this reason we are proposing a new inspection judgement that will look specifically at how schools manage behaviour and encourage children to have good attitudes to learning.

We want your views

The views of parents are very important to us. We want to make sure that our proposals reflect the things that matter most to you. After all, Ofsted exists to serve parents and children by reporting on how well schools are making sure that children get the very best education.

You have until 5 April to have your say on the consultation and I would very much welcome parents’ feedback. It is your chance to contribute to the way we inspect, which will begin from this September 2019.

You can read the full proposals and have your say on the Ofsted website, or by clicking here.

Andrew Cook

Ofsted North West Regional Director