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)7951044809 / +44 (0)7503591880 / +44 (0)7538736244.
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Next steps for the Ofsted inspection framework - adapting to the impact of COVID-19 and the return to school, remote learning, and regulation of apprenticeship providers and FE colleges

Morning, Thursday, 25th March 2021

Online Conference

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

This conference focuses on the next steps for the new Ofsted inspection framework, including:

  • the impact of school closures and the suspension of routine Ofsted inspections on school standards
  • the experience of Ofsted visits in the autumn of 2020, and of the expected return to full education inspections in January 2021
  • regulation of apprenticeship providers and FE colleges, and supporting standards and recovery from the pandemic in the further education sector
  • the application of the inspection judgements to exceptional circumstances such as the post-COVID-19 educational landscape, and measuring the quality of remote and blended learning

The conference follows the implementation of the new Ofsted education inspection framework last September.

Delegates will have the opportunity to discuss the impact of the inspection framework prior to the pandemic, and how schools have adapted at a time of significant change including the increased use of remote learning and the need for students to catch up in the wake of COVID-19.

Why this is relevant now - the context:

  • Introduction of the new Ofsted education inspection framework in September 2019 and the suspension of routine inspections in March this year
  • Modification to Ofsted inspections in responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, with ‘visits’ to schools and colleges taking place in the autumn of 2020 that will not be graded but are intended as:
    • constructive conversations about how to get students back up to speed with their studies
    • opportunities to identify barriers faced by schools in managing the return of pupils as they prepare for an expected return to full inspections early next year
  • Ofsted’s recent review into the quality of learners’ and apprentices’ experiences of online education in further education and skills settings during the lockdown
  • Government initiatives:

The discussion in detail:

The impact of the pandemic on implementing the new inspection framework, and return to full inspections

  • What can be learnt from the experience of school closures and the impact on maintenance and regulation of standards moving forward, with only the most urgent inspections having taken place during the COVID-19 lockdown
  • The experience of the recently announced Ofsted visits to school and colleges, - with suggestions that:
    • they will 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 that are visited in the autumn are exempted from a future inspection for the rest of the academic year
  • The intended return to full Ofsted inspections from next January, with some headteachers suggesting that schools should be allowed to focus on dealing with any COVID-19 outbreaks, pupil safety and to prioritise supporting students that are still catching up

Measuring standards for apprenticeships and further education courses

  • How further education colleges and training providers have adapted to the new framework and their experience of Ofsted’s autumn monitoring visits
  • Priorities for ensuring that further education and apprenticeships providers are regulated consistently
  • How the experience of lockdown can inform further education providers on how to improve their online education strategies going forward

Inspecting in exceptional circumstances - measuring the quality of education, curricula and remote learning

  • Inspections -  with the new framework expected to begin again from January 2021:
    • the impact of the new framework so far on the inspections process and rating of the standard of schools
    • how schools are adapting to the framework’s four new judgements - the quality of education, behaviour and attitudes, personal development, and leadership and management
    • progress made by schools in reducing teacher workload following introduction of new framework
    • how the quality of education and curricula can be judged in the exceptional circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic
  • The curriculum:
    • changes made by schools to meet the new quality of education judgement prior to lockdown
    • how the need for students to catch up in core subjects can be squared with the new inspection framework’s emphasis on the importance of a broad and balanced curriculum
    • best practice in ensuring a smooth return to a full curriculum.
  • With increasing calls for Ofsted to have a greater role in assessing the quality of remote learning, particularly in the event of another lockdown, and with Ofsted’s school and college visits in the autumn expected to have a focus on blended learning and to look at both on-site and remote provision:
    • options and practicalities of arranging oversight for remote and blended learning
    • how the pedagogical differences in online and in-person learning might warrant different approaches for measuring and reinforcing standards
  • How insights and methodology from Ofsted’s review of online learning in FE colleges and apprenticeship providers - which found that the sector had reacted very well to meet the needs of students but access, engagement and assessment have been the main challenges for colleges - could be applied more widely to look into primary and secondary students’ experiences with remote learning

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 and FE 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

Policy officials attending:

Our forums are known for attracting strong interest from policymakers and stakeholders.

Overall, we expect speakers and attendees to be a senior and informed group including Members of both Houses of Parliament, senior government and regulatory officials involved in this area of policy as well as schools and teaching professionals, representatives of trade unions and local government, exam boards, subject associations, accountability experts, groups representing parents, education consultancies, assessment providers, specialist academics and charities, together with reporters from the national and trade media.

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

  • full, four-hour programme including comfort breaks - you’ll also get a full recording 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


Professor Matt O’Leary

Professor of Education, Birmingham City University

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

Michele Barrett

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

Dr Sarah Charles

Head, Institute of Education, University of Derby