This series of articles examines Ofsted Inspectors' comments, as published in their Inspection Reports, in relation to "Outstanding" schools.
In this article, we will have a look at work in pupils' books.
Work in Books
In the 2018 Ofsted School inspection handbook, which was the current one at the time of these inspections, Ofsted said that (my emphasis added):
188. Inspectors will gather evidence about the progress of current pupils through: • observations in lessons • discussions with pupils about their understanding of things they have been learning about • scrutiny of pupils’ acquisition of knowledge, understanding and skills over time as shown in their work, including that in their books • the school’s own information, taking account of the quality and rigour of the assessment on which it is based.
However, in the draft 2019 handbook, Ofsted are proposing to essentially remove the last bullet point. They say:
178. While they will consider the school’s use of assessment (see paras...
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 student...
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.
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:
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...
In this series of articles, we are looking 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 teaching. The highly positive outcomes in mathematics are due to leaders’ highly effective approach to teaching and assessing...
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...
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...
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.
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 proportion of pupils reaching the expected level...
This series of articles looks at the Ofsted inspectors' comments on 80 "good" schools. This article looks at their comments for Key Stage 1.
A lot of inspectors comments focus on Phonics, particularly in Year 1. Please see our article on Phonics for a further analysis of these comments.
The Expected Standard
Unlike previous years, where inspectors could look at specific progress from Early Years for Emerging, Expected and Exceeding pupils, inspectors only have quantified data for all pupils and disadvantaged pupils.
For most of these schools, the school was at or above the National Average:
The proportions of pupils reaching the expected and greater-depth standards are broadly in line with national averages. Standards at the end of key stage 1 in reading, writing and mathematics are above the national averages. Pupils attained above the national average at the expected standard in 2018 at key stage 1 ... in national tests.
When standards were below the National Average, inspectors highlight it, together with any...
This series of articles analyses Ofsted inspectors' comments in their judgements about "good" schools. This article looks at the role of examining pupils' books.
The new Ofsted Inspection framework
In the School Inspection update of January 2019, Ofsted said that, under the new Ofsted framework,
53. ...In doing so, inspectors will not review a school’s internal performance data for current pupils. 61. Inspectors will not consider schools’ internal performance data for current pupils during an inspection. ... This is because: internal data for current pupils has its limitations for us...inspectors will have meaningful discussions with leaders about how they know that the curriculum is having an impactinspectors will gather first-hand evidence of the quality of education in schools.
The first-hand evidence sources including:
54. ...Inspectors will listen to pupils read and look at examples of pupils’ work for evidence of progression in knowledge, understanding and skills towards defined endpoints
So what does pupils' works show under the current framework?
Works in books
Under the current...