Ofsted Inspections – Outstanding Schools – Most Able pupils

In this series of articles, we are looking at Ofsted inspectors' comments on schools which they have judged to be outstanding. In this article, we'll have a look at their comments regarding the "most able" pupils (typically pupils which a high Prior Attainment). The attainment and progress of most able pupils It is not surprising that in these schools the most able pupils are working above age-related expectations. However, it seems that these pupils exceed even the high attainment shown nationally for high prior attainers: Teachers also ensure that the most able are regularly challenged to reach and exceed high targets. The most able pupils made outstanding progress in reading, writing and mathematics.The most able pupils in the school attain particularly well compared with similar pupils nationally. It should be noted that, under the KS2 Progress calculation methodology, there is a lower cap on how much progress can be measured for high prior attainers compared to others. For example, a Level 3...
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Ofsted inspections – Outstanding schools – Early years provision

In this series of articles, we are looking at Ofsted inspector's comments regarding Outstanding schools. In this article, we will be looking at their comments in relation to Early Years Provision. Ofsted comments about the dedication of the staff: Leaders, teachers and teaching assistants in the early years are extremely dedicated to ensuring that children get the best start.Leadership is highly effective, with a strong emphasis on providing care and nurture as well as challenge and ambition.The high quality of phonics teaching contributes to this success. and their ambition for the children: They plan activities which consistently provide the right level of difficulty for all ability groups.Leaders have ensured that the early years curriculum is interesting, engaging, broad and balanced. Children develop curiosity and want to find out more. Most activities have a clear purpose behind them and build upon what the children have previously learned to do. Two schools which were judged "Outstanding" overall were only "Good" for Early Years: However, questioning is...
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What will Ofsted inspections look like in your school from September 2019?

With the launch of the new Ofsted Education Inspection Framework and School Inspection Handbook, what will inspections under the new framework be actually like? There will be main parts of the inspection regime: Pre-inspection Deep dives Bringing it together Most inspections will generally be two days (apart from smaller schools), but preparation will start the day before. Next Steps Pre-inspection Ofsted will phone the school by 2pm on the day before the inspection, to let the school know who is coming, confirm things such as number of pupils on roll. They will also send emails requests that certain information (attendance analysis, exclusions, bad behaviour records) is available to inspectors by 8 a.m. the next day (inspectors will not arrive on school before this time). There will then be a more substantive call with the headteacher (or other school leaders if not available). This will focus on three aspects: . The school's context, and progress since the previous inspection including elements for improvement previously identified in previous inspections. The headteacher's assessment...
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Ofsted Inspections – Outstanding Schools – Phonics

In this series of articles, we are looking at Ofsted inspectors' comments made when inspecting "outstanding" schools. In this article, we'll see what those comments were regarding phonics. Comparison with the National Average As might be expected for outstanding schools, the percentage of pupils who have passed the Year 1 phonics is above the national average. And it generally is not a one-off. Attainment in the phonics screening check is consistently above national expectations. The proportion of pupils achieving the expected standard in the Year 1 phonics screening check has been consistently above the national average for the last three years. Inspectors also look at those pupils who don't pass in Year 1. Nearly all of them (but not necessarily 100%) pass by the end of Year 2. Most of the very small number of pupils not achieving the standard by the end of Year 1 go on to meet it by the end of Year 2. By the end of Year 2, almost...
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Ofsted Inspections – Outstanding Schools – Attainment

In previous articles, we had a look at Ofsted inspector's comments relating to "requires improvement" and "good schools". In this new series of articles, we'll look at 42 primary-phase schools which Ofsted has deemed to be "outstanding". In this article, we'll have a look at attainment. Outcomes exceeding National Standards Perhaps unsurprising for "outstanding" schools, school's attainment is above average: The proportion of current pupils achieving higher standards in reading and mathematics in Year 6 is well above the most recent national averages...By the end of key stage 1, pupils attain standards that are consistently above those of other pupils nationally in reading, writing, mathematics and science.Pupils' excellent personal skills, as well as their academic achievements, mean that they are exceptionally well prepared for the next stage of their education. In 2018, 98% of Year 6 pupils attained the expected standard in reading, writing and mathematics. Ofsted's inspectors sometimes comment on why this is: ... because of the high expectations of staff and very effective...
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What benefits do schools like yours get from a good Year 7 Transition QLA?

We surveyed secondary schools up and down the country asking this question, and the results can be categorised as follows: Firstly, your new Year 7 pupils have already taken six standardised tests in May. What not use them? You can get the analysis from these tests before your pupils have set foot in your school. If you choose, you can then supplement them with additional in-house tests – but in the meantime, you already can be acting on the results of the Transition QLA. Secondly, for better or worse, your Year 7 SATs results are the baseline for your Progress 8 scores in five years’ time. Having an early analysis allowing you to secure some rapid improvement and quick wins with your new mixed-ability cohort is a positive boost for pupils and teachers alike. Topic - based targeted intervention from the start of Year 7 For maths, some schools were able to split their pupils into various topic-based groups, to ensure that pupils had...
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Ofsted Inspections – Good Schools – SEND

In this series of articles, we look at Ofsted inspector's comments regarding 80 schools which were deemed to be "good" overall. In this article, we'll have a look at comments relating to pupils who have SEN and/or disabilities (also known as SEND). The Ofsted Inspection Handbook (as of September 2018) states: Inspectors will consider the progress of pupils who have special educational needs and/or disabilities in relation to the progress of all pupils nationally with similar starting points. Inspectors will examine the impact of funded support for them on removing any differences in progress and attainment. The expectation is that the identification of special educational needs leads to additional or different arrangements being made and a consequent improvement in progress. For groups of pupils whose cognitive ability is such that their attainment is unlikely ever to rise above ‘low’, the judgement on outcomes will be based on an evaluation of the pupils’ learning and progress relative to their starting points at particular...
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Year 7 Catch-up Premium

What does Ofsted look for in your Year 7? How much notice does it take of the Year 7 literacy and numeracy catch-up premium? The 2019 Ofsted Inspection Handbook says: In evaluating progress in literacy and mathematics, inspectors will take into account the progress of those for whom the Year 7 literacy and numeracy catch-up premium provides support. [In Outstanding schools,] Governors systematically challenge senior leaders so that the effective deployment of … Year 7 literacy and numeracy catch-up premium … secures excellent outcomes for pupils. But what happens in practice? The following quotes are taken from Ofsted Inspection Reports of Outstanding secondary and all-through schools in 2018/19: Leaders use additional funding very effectively for disadvantaged pupils and those in Year 7 who need extra help to catch up with others. … Year 7 pupils who join the school with low starting points are provided with targeted support to improve their reading. Pupils benefit from work that closely matches their abilities and aptitudes. Pupils who join...
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Ofsted Inspections – Good Schools – Progress

This series of articles examines the comments of Ofsted Inspectors from 80 full inspections of schools which were deemed to be "good". Previous articles have looked at Ofsted's comments regarding attainment at KS2. This article looks at progress. Whilst inspectors have advanced knowledge of the school's progress at the end of Key Stage 2, as calculated by the DfE, and the 5 levels (e.g. "below average", "well above average") which are displayed on the DfE's website, this headline measure was often not explicitly commented on by inspectors. When it was, the measures showed the school to be broadly in line with national averages: Progress in writing across key stage 2 has improved steadily since the last inspection and is now broadly average.As a result, pupils’ progress in mathematics improved from well below average to average...Progress has also improved during this time and is in line with other schools nationally. Pupils’ progress from the end of key stage 1 to the end of...
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Ofsted inspections – Good schools – Other subjects

This series of articles analyses Ofsted inspectors' comments in their judgements about "good" schools. Other articles have focused on attainment and progress in Reading, Writing, Maths and Phonics. Click here to view the full series This article has a look at Ofsted inspectors' comments for "Outcomes for pupils" for other subjects. GPS (English Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling) Ofsted's inspectors commented on English Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling ("GPS" - also known as "EPGS" or "SPaG") in around a third of these reports. Please note - to improve readability, we have changed the phrase "grammar, punctuation and spelling" in the following quotes to GPS. Around half of these reports commented on the attainment level at the end of Key Stage 2, some positively: Pupils’ attainment at the end of key stage 2 in reading, writing and GPS has remained above the national average figures for the past three years....the proportion achieving and exceeding the expected standard in GPS was exceptionally high in 2018.Provisional results indicate that the...
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