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Education inspection framework: consultation guide

From September 2019, Ofsted will change the way it inspects schools, colleges, further education institutions and early years settings when the common inspection framework (CIF) is replaced by the education inspection framework (EIF).

Ofsted has published a draft version of the EIF, along with a draft early years inspection handbook. It is now consulting on these proposed changes until 5th April 2019.

We have produced a guide summarising the key proposed changes in the draft early years inspection handbook.

As these new inspection arrangements will affect all Ofsted-registered early years providers, PACEY strongly urges you to read these documents and submit your feedback to both PACEY and Ofsted.

What is changing – and what is not?

The most significant proposals concern the new judgement areas and grade descriptors. Three out of the four judgement areas are new, though they draw on a number of elements from the current judgements.

The proposed judgement areas in the EIF are:

  • overall effectiveness
  • the quality of education
  • behaviour and attitudes
  • personal development
  • leadership and management.

There are a number of additional proposed changes to the way that inspections are conducted. Some of the most noteworthy proposals are:

  • The list of things inspectors should consider how well staff do now includes:
    • read aloud and tell stories to children
    • sing action songs, nursery rhymes and games.
  • For childminders, the requirement to observe a specific planned activity and discuss its aims and learning intention with the inspector has been removed.
  • Clarification that there does not need to be a breach of a statutory requirement for provision to be judged as requires improvement.
  • All providers, including childminders, will be judged as inadequate if they have been given two previous ‘requires improvement’ judgements and are still not good.

In terms of what is not changing, Ofsted has been clear that it will continue to:

  • use a four-point grading scale (outstanding; good; requires improvement; inadequate)
  • inspect the overall quality and standards of early years provision in line with the principles and requirements of the Statutory framework for the early years foundation stage (EYFS).
  • make an EY judgement when inspecting the EYFS in schools (Section 5 inspection handbook).

Why is inspection changing?

In Ofsted’s words, the purpose of the new proposed new inspection framework is to:

  • put the curriculum at the heart of the new framework
  • put more emphasis on the quality of education and care as a whole. It will ensure that we consider children’s experiences and how their learning is being developed
  • reduce the focus on data, particularly internal progress data. We hope this will help reduce unnecessary workload for childcare providers.

How to respond to the consultation

You have until 5 April 2019 to submit your views on the draft education inspection framework, and the accompanying draft early years inspection handbook.

You can respond to the consultation online.

In addition, you can send your feedback on any aspects of the draft education inspection framework and draft early years inspection handbook to Ofsted and PACEY