Welwyn Hatfield headteachers respond to proposed changes to Ofsted inspections

Monk's Walk School. Picture: Danny Loo

Monk's Walk School. Picture: Danny Loo - Credit: Archant

Headteachers from Welwyn Garden City have responded to Ofsted’s proposals to judge more on personal development and leadership than on exam results.

Ridgeway Academy headteacher Jed Whelan.

Ridgeway Academy headteacher Jed Whelan. - Credit: Archant

Ofsted chief inspector Amanda Spielman announced last week that the focus on exam results has narrowed what is taught in schools. The proposals should make it easier for inspectors to recognise the good work down by schools in challenging circumstances, and should lessen the pressure on heads, teachers and pupils to deliver perfect data above all else.

The biggest planned change to the inspection framework is to replace the ‘pupil outcomes’ section, which focuses on exam results, with ‘quality of education’.

Kate Smith, head of Monk’s Walk School in Welwyn Garden City, said: “In regard to the proposed new Ofsted framework, the devil will be in the detail. We await the publication of the framework.

“Broadly speaking, however, I welcome a more holistic approach which values the breadth and relevance of the curriculum as well as the academic standards achieved in schools.”

Bishop's Hatfield Girls' School headteacher Theodora Nickson.

Bishop's Hatfield Girls' School headteacher Theodora Nickson. - Credit: Archant

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Jed Whelan, head of Ridgeway Academy, said: “I am in favour of a new school accountability model which involves a comprehensive picture of everything a school and its students achieve.

“Currently Ofsted focuses too heavily on measurable outcomes and particularly in English and maths. They need to broaden their approach and recognise the creative aspects of school life, such as drama, art, music, sport and other student achievements.

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“This would lead to a more constructive inspection experience and this can only benefit us all.“

Head of Bishops Hatfield Girls’ School Theodora Nickson agreed, saying: “Each school does its best to provide an education that meets the needs of its pupils and I welcome the fact that Ofsted are recognising that the curriculum on offer is more important than the eventual results.

Monk's Walk headteacher Kate Smith. Picture courtesy of School Life Pictures

Monk's Walk headteacher Kate Smith. Picture courtesy of School Life Pictures - Credit: Archant

“There will be far more emphasis on how schools design a curriculum and meet the needs of the pupils. It’s going away from the ‘one size fits all’ approach.”

A consultation on Ofsted’s proposed changes will launch in January, in the hope of delivering the new inspection framework at the start of the school year in September 2019.

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