Ofsted to retain four-point grading system

The education watchdog has defended its decision to retain its existing grading system, saying that moving to a pass/fail system would make gradings more reliant on attainment and progress measures.

There will be no changes to the existing system of grading, according to a new report released by Ofsted.

‘Retaining the current grading system in education’ states that changing the system to a pass/fail system – or above/below the line judgement – could lead to parents relying too heavily on attainment data, which risks being confusing. It would also potentially make it difficult to gauge what the school itself was like for pupils, blurring distinctions between different schools.

The report says it could also  – ‘in turn, increase behaviours such as off-rolling and gaming’.

Resisting sector criticism
The report has been published ahead of the implementation of the new Education Inspection Framework (EIF) in September.

A range of arguments have been put forward for changing the current grading of early years settings, which include the fact that the current grading system leads to pressure on schools and headteachers, which can have negative consequences on provider’s behaviours, and the health and wellbeing of staff.

An open letter from the Headteachers Roundtable campaigning group recently described Ofsted’s four-point grading system as ‘hugely problematic’ and without any ‘independent empirical evidence base’.

While the report concedes that Ofsted has  not sought the views of parents about the four-point grading system, Her Majesty's chief inspector Amanda Speilman said: ‘Parents use the inspectorate’s reports to choose the right schools for their child and understand a school’s strengths and weaknesses. The grades are a reliable measure of quality.’

She added: ‘They are simple, they are well understood and they work for parents.’

Her statement is corroborated by the findings of a YouGov survey on behalf of Ofsted, which suggests that nine out of ten parents know the Ofsted rating of their child’s school or provider.

Read Ofsted’s report here





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