Schools will get at least six more months to bring their curriculums into line with Ofsted’s inspection framework due to ongoing Covid disruption.
Transition arrangements, in place since the new framework was brought in in 2019, were due to be reviewed in March.
But Ofsted has now confirmed in an update to its inspection handbooks that the period has been extended to September at the earliest, and raised the possibility they may be
Transition arrangements for initial teacher education inspections have also been extended.
Here’s what schools need to know.
1. Transition extended to September at the earliest
The grace period was originally only meant to last a year, but Ofsted has repeatedly extended it due to Covid.
The new framework places greater weight on what is taught in schools, and requires schools to have a curriculum which meets certain criteria to be rated ‘good’.
However, during the transition period, schools have only had to demonstrate that they are “in the process” of implementing their plans.
The watchdog said at the beginning of this academic year that it would review its transition arrangements this March.
However, Ofsted now says it needs a “longer review period” up to September 2022 “due to ongoing Covid disruption”.
The watchdog will use the time to review whether transition arrangements need to continue into the next academic year.
2. Teacher trainers also given more time
Ofsted started inspecting initial teacher education under a new framework last year, and has confirmed that transition arrangements for ITE inspections have also been extended.
The transition arrangements apply to the “quality of education and training” part of ITE inspections.
Under the framework, providers have to demonstrate they have designed an “ambitious” ITE curriculum to be rated ‘good’.
However, the transition arrangements “recognise that some providers will have completed new curriculum plans but disruption to normal operations, as a result of Covid-19, has meant that they have not had the opportunity to deliver their new plans fully”.
Again, the transition arrangements will now be reviewed to see if they are “still needed” from September 2022.
3. ‘Ofsted should extend further if needed’
School leaders’ union ASCL has welcomed the extension.
Geoff Barton, general secretary, said schools were working “under extremely demanding conditions” and for many it is a “huge task just keeping their school or college fully open, let alone conducting new rafts of curriculum planning”.
He added that he was “not wholly convinced either that the extension is enough given that the time in which to carry out this work in this academic year is increasingly constrained and the disruption caused by Covid continues to be relentless”.
“This does need to be kept under review and Ofsted needs to be prepared to extend it further if necessary.”