How Ofsted inspects schools, early years settings and further education and skills providers.

Commenting on Ofsted’s education inspection framework consultation which closes today:

dr Mary Bousted 100x100 edited 1

Dr Mary BoustedJoint General Secretary of the National Education Union, said:

“The NEU believes that we need a fundamental overhaul of the accountability system and that tinkering with the Ofsted framework will make no helpful difference to the government’s desire to improve teacher or headteacher recruitment, retention or wellbeing.

“While professional conversations about curriculum should be welcome, we believe it is the Ofsted regime which has led the profession away from that, and the continued use of inspection judgements will mean that schools and colleges will be doing work to please Ofsted, rather than engaging in the professional review which would support learners.

“We believe that the questions in the consultation document are both leading and shallow. Ofsted must properly engage the profession if it is to do any more than change the focus of an inherently damaging system.”

“Ofsted makes bold and ambitious claims for its new inspection framework, but the National Education Union remains deeply sceptical about whether these will be realised.

“The uncomfortable truth for Ofsted is that the practices it deplores - the narrowing of the school curriculum and teaching to the test - have been the results of its own enforcement, through inspection, of a range of narrow measures to judge school quality.

“None of these narrow accountability measures are being abolished. Schools will still be measured on the percentage of their pupils following the EBacc, GCSE results, progress 8 and attainment 8.

“Added to these quantitative measures, Ofsted intends to make qualitative judgements on the curriculum. Ofsted’s own research shows that those HMI doing the trial inspections asked how they could make curriculum judgements in the time available for inspection. How complex, detailed, value-laden judgements will be made consistently across England’s 20,000 schools is the fundamental question – and one that Ofsted cannot answer.

“Ofsted’s reputation as a reliable arbiter of school quality is gravely damaged. Government ministers are well aware that Ofsted judgements on schools are overwhelmingly based on the characteristics of their pupil intake rather than the education they provide.

“The NEU believes that there is no more time to tinker with Ofsted. England needs a new system of school accountability – one that keeps good teachers and school leaders in the profession, working to improve the life chances of our children and young people.”

MarkDawe 100x100Mark Dawe, Chief Executive, Association of Employment and Learning Providers, says:

"Ofsted have taken a sensible and welcome approach which recognises the reality that most skills training takes place in the workplace and the importance of the combination of different types of training rather than fixating on one aspect.   

"AELP strongly supports the emphasis on curriculum, education and training.  Data is important for day to day monitoring but shouldn’t be the only thing that Ofsted look at and so we approve of the new approach being adopted.  But we all must be mindful of the risks of relying on inspectors’ opinion and qualitative judgement rather purely quantitative evidence.  Ofsted are very aware of this and they need to ensure they have the appropriate expertise for each type of inspection.

"Devolved AEB provision will remain in scope and we believe that this is an appropriate safeguard and indicator for the awarding of future contracts."

Anne milton100x100Anne Milton, Minister of State for Apprenticeships and Skills, said:

"It helps in rebalancing the scales to give greater weight to the FE sector.

"My department has worked closely with Ofsted as it has developed its proposals – I encourage you all to respond to the consultation, and take this opportunity to shape the final framework."


Dawn Jotham100x100Dawn Jotham, Pastoral Care Specialist from EduCare, said:

"The whole education sector is eagerly awaiting details of Ofsted's planned revised inspection framework in the hope that it will remove the pressure from schools which is causing such manipulation of reports.

"EduCare will be releasing a full review of the new framework and how it impacts on a school’s training requirements as soon as details are released."

damian hinds100x100Secretary of State for Damian Hinds, said:

"Ofsted plays a critical role in our system and its inspection of schools, colleges and early years providers has helped drive up education standards across the country. Their inspections give confidence to parents and provide necessary accountability for institutions.

"We have been working closely with Ofsted as it develops this new framework and will continue to do so to make sure we keep raising standards.

"Since I took this post a year ago I’ve made cutting down unnecessary and bureaucratic workload my top priority. Accountability is vital. But we know that perceptions of what Ofsted wants have unintentionally contributed to unnecessary workload - so the fact that this framework addresses this is a hugely positive step forward for all our schools.

"As we have improved the curriculum and reformed GCSEs and A levels, we have been fully united with Ofsted in our drive to ensure all children and young people benefit from an ambitious, broad and balanced curriculum. This framework reflects that approach and our continuing activity around exclusions and ‘off-rolling’.

"I welcome this consultation as Ofsted reaches out to teachers, lecturers, early years providers, parents and leaders though the most comprehensive framework development in Ofsted’s history."

A DfE Spokesperson said:

"The new framework reflects many departmental priorities – such as the importance of the EBacc to a well-rounded education, as well as early literacy. These proposals emphasise the shared vision of Ofsted with the Department going forward.

"Another key element mentioned in the framework is the need to combat the issue of ‘off-rolling’. It is not acceptable for schools to remove pupils outside of the formal exclusions system, and we are in the process of a review into exclusions, being led by Edward Timpson.

"We want to see all schools provide an ambitious, broad and balanced curriculum for their pupils, and Ofsted’s proposed changes will complement our performance measures and our ambition."

You may also be interested in these articles:

Sponsored Video


Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In Jan 2021, FE News had over 173,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector, putting us in the top 2,000 websites in the UK.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.


We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.


FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page