Revisiting the Education Inspection Framework

While routine inspections have been put on hold until the beginning of 2021 it is important that early years teams continue to build their understanding of the relatively new Education Inspection Framework. The role of leadership, and how it is demonstrated to Ofsted, will be key in the wake of the pandemic.

In the Practical Pre-School Book The Education Inspection Framework: 101 audit questions to evaluate your practice and prepare for inspection, author Pennie Akehurst provides a self evaluation framework and explores Ofsted’s new approach.

The Education Inspection Framework (EIF) became effective in September 2019, when it formally replaced the Common Inspection Framework.

The EIF sets out how Ofsted will inspect for early years settings, schools and further education providers, and is supported by an inspection handbook for each of the sectors.

Ofsted’s 2019 revision of the inspection framework places the curriculum and learners at the very heart of the inspection process.

It is, therefore, expected that providers will be able to discuss how they organise their early years provision, which will include discussing their rationale for curriculum delivery (Ofsted, 2019b) and ensuring that practitioners are able to talk about what their key children know, understand and can do, as well as what they want children to learn and have experience of in the future (next steps for learning and development).

Quality of Education
The key, Quality of Education judgement has been created by amalgamating the areas of teaching, learning and assessment and outcomes for children. This clearly communicates Ofsted’s desire to rebalance its focus, ensuring that inspectors see children’s progress and outcomes as part of the process of teaching children.

This is a welcome move which should give more leaders and managers the confidence to step back and review the entirety of what they do from beginning to end, to better understand whether their educational programmes, learning environment and practice make a demonstrable difference to the learning and development of each child.

The separation of Personal Development, Behaviour and Welfare, is in principle a sound move, which reinforces that inspectors will more keenly focus on providers’ core business.

While this is welcome it will mean that inspectors will spend more time looking at practice. The language used in both the judgement of Behaviour and Attitudes and Personal Development can be ambiguous at times and needs careful consideration by leadership teams, to unpick what the statements may mean for practice in their setting.

Held accountable
Finally, the area previously known as the effectiveness of leadership and management is now Leadership and Management and is placed towards the back of the Early Years Inspection Handbook.

This does not signify that the area of leadership and management is any less important, in fact quite the reverse.

Leadership teams will still be held accountable for the quality of the provision, the effectiveness of curriculum delivery and the effectiveness of the performance management systems that have been put in place to support staff to develop their knowledge and skills.

Find out more and order your copy of The Education Inspection Framework: 101 audit questions to evaluate


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