Ofsted publishes final version of its new inspection framework

Ofsted has published the finalised version of its new inspection framework, which will govern all school visits from this September.

Ofsted has made a number of changes to the framework since the draft was published earlier this year, in response to a consultation to which received more than 15,000 responses, including from the ISM.

Deborah Annetts, Chief Executive of the Incorporated Society of Musicians and Founder of the Bacc for the Future campaign said:

‘The ISM welcomes the Quality of Education judgement in the new Ofsted Education Inspection Framework (EIF) and that the ‘intent’ grade descriptors will be phased in more gradually to allow for changes to curriculum to be implemented.

However, we are disappointed that the EBacc is still included in the Education Inspection Framework as the academic core at Key Stage 4, especially given that the inclusion of the EBacc was a ‘commonly raised concern’. Whilst it is reassuring that inspectors ‘will not make a judgement about the quality of education based solely or primarily on its progress towards the EBacc ambition’, it is disappointing that inspectors will take schools’ preparations for the EBacc into consideration when evaluating the intent of the school’s curriculum. The EBacc excludes creative subjects including music from counting in school league tables, damaging the uptake of these subjects. Furthermore, the EBacc policy is failing on its own terms – despite the Government’s EBacc uptake target of 75% (rising to 90% by 2025), the rate of take up has plateaued at 38% since 2014. It is also deeply concerning despite all the feedback from the music education sector that schools will still be able to be rated ‘Outstanding’ without a high quality music offer.

We are also disappointed that students’ learning at Key Stage 1 has been reduced to the ability to ‘read, write and use mathematical knowledge, ideas and operations so they are able to access a broad and balanced curriculum at Key Stage 2’. The requirement for a broad and balanced curriculum should also apply to Key Stage 1, especially given that music is part of the National Curriculum at Key Stage 1.

The ISM urges Ofsted to take note of the recommendations released yesterday by the DCMS Select Committee in its report, Changing Lives: the social impact of participation in culture and sport, – namely, that the DfE and DCMS should “work alongside Ofsted to design an inspection regime for primary and secondary schools that measures the volume of cultural education; the integration of cultural education with other areas of the curriculum; and the universality of schools’ cultural offers in ensuring that all children have access to the benefits that cultural participation can bring”. We do not think the new inspection framework meets recommendations.’