Recent analysis of OFSTED gradings between 2005 and 2015 show that more schools are keeping or improving on their good ratings, with the BBC stating that nearly nine in 10 schools were at least good at their latest inspection – up five per cent on last year. This is despite “significant deterioration” in academic performance, as recently reported by the Education Policy Institute.Furthermore, the gap between primary and secondary schools is widening. The Ofsted data shows 90% of primary schools were rated good or outstanding, compared to 78% of secondaries.
So, what does all of this mean for school leaders with an Ofsted inspection around the corner? The change of emphasis in school performance measures from 2016 onwards will take time to bed down. It’s important not to compare 2016 progress measures with previous years. But…
Will good schools retain their Ofsted status if progress over time has indeed stagnated, or possibly dropped further than anticipated?
If you are a leader of a good school, here are three things about pupils’ progress you should consider to keep your coveted rating.
1. Collect precise data
Collect and review precise data on the progress of all pupils, but particularly key groups such as SEND, disadvantaged, pupil premium and EAL. Track the progress of individuals and groups from their starting points. Remember that the progress of your pupils is measured against those with the same starting points nationally. This will be true for Year 11 from Year 6, as well as for the end of post-16 from Year 11.
Ensure your progress data shows a positive three year trend despite the changes in performance measures. Especially focus on English and maths, as these are double weighted.
2. Compare your Progress 8 scores
Monitor and review your Progress 8 score through RAISEonline and early performance tables to ensure it is:
a. Positive, i.e. above 0.0
b. In the top two quintiles nationally (above average or well above average).
Note that the RAISE summary document includes two forms of shading for sig+ (green) and sig- (red). Consider how well your school is doing against the ‘Basics’ and Attainment 8 national figures. To be secure in your self-evaluation, being above the national average in most thresholds is clearly very desirable.
3. Demonstrate impact
Ensure you can demonstrate the impact that good or better leadership, at all levels, is having on securing the progress of all pupils in all year groups, not just those at the end of a transition point.
Demonstrate how your curriculum design has enhanced pupil outcomes and experiences. What have you done differently to your curriculum that is clearly having an impact on pupil outcomes?
And finally, make sure you are confident in your knowledge and expectations of a ‘short’ inspection and share this with your staff.
Where at all possible have your self-evaluation tested externally to validate the current position of your school against all judgements. Be open to challenge to provide the security and confidence that your school remains good and that your students have the best experience you can give them.