Westminster Education Forum

Since lockdown, we have been organising our full programme of conferences online. We will continue online until further notice, to ensure we play our part in helping our employees and delegates to remain safe during this time. We are pleased that so many key stakeholders, policymakers and other interested parties - both old friends and new delegates - are taking up the opportunity to discuss public policy issues and network at our impartial seminars. New events are coming on to our conference programme all the time. So there are plenty of opportunities for you to join us if you haven’t already, from wherever you are. For booking-related queries, or information on speaking, please email us at info@forumsupport.co.uk or contact us using one of the following numbers: +44 (0)7538736244 / +44 (0)7503591880 / +44 (0)7951044809.
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The new Ofsted inspection framework - implementation progress, adapting to the impact of COVID-19, remote learning, and regulation of apprenticeship providers and FE colleges

Morning, Thursday, 25th March 2021

***Full-scale policy conference taking place online***

This conference focuses on the next steps for the new Ofsted inspection framework, following its initial implementation in September.

The discussion is bringing stakeholders together with parliamentary pass-holders from the House of Commons Library and key policy officials who are due to attend from the DfE; the Government Equalities Office; HMPPS; the MOD and the MoJ.

The agenda:

  • Implementation of the new inspection framework post-COVID-19
  • The current state of play for Ofsted inspections and supporting standards - impact of school closures, experience of Ofsted visits, and of the return to full education inspections
  • Inspecting apprenticeship, FE and HE providers - catching up with measuring standards, and ensuring consistency in regulation and the quality of courses
  • Remote learning - raising standards and measuring quality
  • The new inspection judgements in exceptional circumstances - assessing the quality of education, provision of blended learning, and ensuring a broad and balanced curriculum

Relevant developments at a glance:

  • the new Education inspection framework - introduced in September 2019, and the suspension of routine inspections in March 2020
  • phased return to inspections - Ofsted reporting that:
    • monitoring inspections for schools and further education providers previously judged inadequate are resuming, with inspections initially taking place remotely
    • inspections will focus on the quality of remote education - with:
      • Ofsted publishing a guide on what works well in remote education
      • schools expected to provide high quality remote learning now that school attendance has been limited to the children of keyworkers and those judged as vulnerable
    • routine inspections and grading will not be reintroduced until the summer term
  • Ofsted Annual Report 2019/20 - key findings: 
    • schools - the percentage judged good or outstanding dropped from 80% to 77%, with issues being found in the provision of SEND arrangements, and over half of inspections requiring a written statement of action to address weaknesses
    • Further Education - as a whole, the number of Independent Learning Providers judged good or outstanding has decreased by 1%, decreasing for the fourth consecutive year, findings showing that providers did not work closely enough with employers and that leaders were not held to account in identifying aspects of provision that needed improvement 
  • Future inspection of Cafcass from 2021 - Ofsted’s recent consultation on new approaches to bringing Cafcass inspections more in line with those for other children’s social care-related services

Areas for discussion:

  • learning from the experience of school closures - including impact on maintenance and regulation of standards moving forward, with only the most urgent inspections taking place during lockdown
  • Ofsted visits to schools and colleges - how they have worked in practice with suggestions that:
    • they would be a potential distraction for schools and risk becoming judgemental
    • schools should be anonymised in the post-visit report and the outcomes not directly addressed to parents
    • the schools visited in the autumn are exempt from a future inspection for the rest of the academic year
  • the intended return to full Ofsted inspections from the summer term:
    • with some suggestions that schools should be allowed to focus on dealing with any further COVID-19 outbreaks, pupil safety and to prioritise supporting students that are still catching up
  • the new inspection framework - expected to begin again from the summer term, looking at:
    • the four new judgements - how schools are adapting to assessments of the quality of education, behaviour and attitudes, personal development, and leadership and management
    • teacher workload - progress made by schools in its reduction following introduction of new framework
    • assessing the room for adjustments - how the quality of education and curricula can be judged in the exceptional circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic
    • the curriculum:
      • quality of education - changes made by schools to meet the new judgement prior to lockdown
      • balancing priorities - squaring the need for students to catch up in core subjects with the new framework’s emphasis on the importance of a broad and balanced curriculum
      • resumption - best practice in ensuring a smooth return to a full curriculum.
    • quality of remote learning - with increasing calls for Ofsted to have a greater role in assessment, particularly with the introduction of another lockdown
      • inspection - lessons learnt from Ofsted’s school and college visits through the autumn of 2020, with their focus on blended learning and both on-site and remote provision
      • practicalities - options for arranging oversight for remote and blended learning
      • identifying different criteria - how the pedagogical differences in online and in-person learning might warrant different approaches for measuring and reinforcing standards 
  • measuring standards for apprenticeships and further education courses:
    • adapting to the new framework - and the experience of education colleges and training providers of Ofsted’s autumn monitoring visits
    • guidance on inspections - assessing its provision by Ofsted to further education providers
    • the experience of learners - how they have been enabled by providers to access full provision of education, and taking into account remote education and safeguarding during the pandemic
    • remote education - how the experience of lockdown can inform providers on how to improve their online strategies going forward
    • consistent regulation - priorities for ensuring it takes place going forward
    • degree apprenticeships - examining the plans for Ofsted inspections of level 6 and 7 degree apprenticeships

Policy officials attending:

Our forums are known for attracting strong interest from policymakers and stakeholders. Places have been reserved by parliamentary pass-holders from the House of Commons Library, and officials from the Department for Education; the Government Equalities Office; HMPPS; the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Justice. Also due to attend are representatives from Anglia Ruskin University; Bracknell Forest Borough Council; Bramley Grange Primary School; Buckingshire College Group; Buxton & Leek College (University of Derby); Cardinal Pole Catholic School; Educ8 Group; HeadStart/Resilience Revolution; Kent County Council; Kent Music; Kirklees College; Lancashire School Improvement Service; Leeds Arts University; Liverpool Hope University; Music Education Council; National Foundation for Educational Research; Norfolk County Council; OCR; Orchard Hill College; Oxford Professional Education Group; Oxford University Press; Sheffield City Council; TES Global; The Careers and Enterprise Company; The Education People; UCRA; UCW (Weston College); University of Bristol; University of Derby Online Learning; University of East London; University Of Huddersfield; University of Sunderland; Victorious Academies Trust and Watford Grammar School for Girls.

This is a full-scale conference taking place online***

  • full, four-hour programme including comfort breaks - you’ll also get a full recording and transcript to refer back to
  • information-rich discussion involving key policymakers and stakeholders
  • conference materials provided in advance, including speaker biographies
  • speakers presenting via webcam, accompanied by slides if they wish, using the Cisco WebEx professional online conference platform (easy for delegates - we’ll provide full details)
  • opportunities for live delegate questions and comments with all speakers
  • a recording of the addresses, all slides cleared by speakers, and further materials, is made available to all delegates afterwards as a permanent record of the proceedings
  • delegates are able to add their own written comments and articles following the conference, to be distributed to all attendees and more widely
  • networking too - there will be opportunities for delegates to e-meet and interact - we’ll tell you how!

Full information and guidance on how to take part will be sent to delegates before the conference

Keynote Speaker

Professor Daniel Muijs

Deputy Director, Research and Evaluation, Ofsted

Keynote Speaker

Professor Daniel Muijs

Deputy Director, Research and Evaluation, Ofsted


Christian Wakeford MP

Member, Education Select Committee

Lord Storey

Liberal Democrats Education Spokesperson, House of Lords


Ben Hulme

Headteacher, St Paul’s Church of England Primary School, Kent

Matthew Shanks

Executive Principal, Education South West

Professor Matt O’Leary

Professor of Education, Birmingham City University

Professor Lynne McKenna

Dean, Faculty of Education and Society, University of Sunderland

Professor Jonathan Glazzard

Professor of Inclusive Education, Carnegie School of Education, Leeds Beckett University

David Corke

Director, Education and Skills Policy, Association of Colleges

Darren Northcott

National Official for Education, NASUWT

Liz Twist

Head of Assessment Research and Product Development, National Foundation for Educational Research

Sarah Pashley

Principal, Ron Dearing UTC, Hull

Stephen Exley

Director of External Affairs, Villiers Park Educational Trust, Former Further Education Editor, TES and Policy Report Author, Further Education Trust for Leadership

Sam Strickland

Principal, The Duston School

Stuart Gardner

Chief Executive, Thinking Schools Academy Trust

Adrian Anderson

Chief Executive, University Vocational and Awards Council

Michele Barrett

Executive Headteacher, Vanessa Nursery School & Randolph Beresford Early Years Centre, London

Dr Sarah Charles

Head, Institute of Education, University of Derby