Beware ‘snake oil’ salesman peddling new framework training, warns Ofsted director

Ofsted’s national director of education has urged schools not to pay “snake-oil” salesman for training on the watchdog’s new inspection framework after a head reported being approached by private firms.

Sean Harford said leaders should instead watch videos and slides from the inspectorate’s programme of regional curriculum workshops, which are set to be released in mid-December, to get a better idea of how the framework will affect them.

The new inspection regime for schools will come in next September, and Ofsted has already set out a number of key changes, such as a new, broader “quality of education” judgment, a stronger focus on curriculum and a move away from judging schools on exam results.

However, the draft framework won’t be released for consultation until January, and schools are clamouring for more information.

This week, a headteacher based in the north east, who identified himself only as “Danny”, informed Harford via twitter that his email inbox is “full of companies offering training about next September’s framework”.

He asked whether such companies had “inside information” about the new framework.

But Harford said the offered training “will be snake oil” and urged him: “don’t buy it”.

He pointed to regional workshops organised by Ofsted to take place across the country, although the watchdog has not released a full timetable to the public.

Harford referred to them as nine “curriculum roadshows” and said the inspectorate will be releasing videos, slides and speaking notes from them for teachers who can’t attend the events.

Ofsted’s press team confirmed on Twitter the workshops have not been publicly advertised, but said invites were sent to local authorities and academy trusts to send on to school leaders.

The slides and videos will be published around mid-December, they added.

Ofsted was approached for comment.

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  1. Unless the Inspectorate have audited a significant number of these enterprises this raises issues with their claim to be an independent evidence based inspectorate that will report with fear or favour. The Office and HMCI are increasingly losing their: focus, impact and authority . Chris Woodhead and Sir Michael Wilshaw would never have tolerated this unsubstantiated claim . Love or loathe them the current generation have lost their focus, drive and empirical authenticity .