By Rob Pritchard
30 May, 2022
As our academies start to settle into their first normal summer term since 2019, many are preparing for an inevitable inspection from Ofsted. The standards agency is set to visit all schools to check on their improvement progress and to ensure children and young people across the country are being fully supported following two years of disruption to their education.
In April of this year, Ofsted published its five-year strategy, which outlines its focus and aims for 2022 to 2027. The strategy sets out their eight new priorities and their plan for how they will be met in education and children’s social care. Most notably the standards agency has stated its intention to accelerate the inspection cycle so that all schools are inspected by July 2025. This announcement is not wholly unexpected, following a pause to full inspections during the pandemic and with an increased focus on ensuring that students are being fully supported in catching up on any missed learning.
Additionally, the agency has also committed to expanding its SEND inspection framework to ensure that no student faces barriers to success. There will also be a heightened focus on increasing oversight and security of schools’ safeguarding efforts. Ofsted has also stated its intention for a deeper consideration of the effectiveness of decisions being made at Trust level.
As a Trust, we believe it is imperative to work closely with Ofsted and the DfE to ensure that any extension of the standards agency’s remit is done so in a constructive way that supports the Trust in its mission to improve education standards. Ofsted at OAT
Receiving a call from Ofsted about an inspection can cause concern in any academy, but it is equally a fantastic opportunity to showcase how leadership and staff are providing an outstanding education or to demonstrate the strides that have been made to ensure school improvement. It is also a time to learn and reflect on what is working and what is not, to support schools in continuing to provide students with every opportunity to achieve. By talking to teachers and pupils, inspectors are provided with real insight into the school that is then shared with staff in a constructive manner.
As is the case nationwide, inspections across the Trust have increased considerably and many of our academies have already had inspections in recent months. This has been a chance to take a deeper look into where we are as a Trust and to build on our overarching strategy moving forward so that we can keep driving improvement and providing our students with the education and opportunities they need to achieve whatever they put their minds to.
We have seen some amazing results from our academies that have showcased the Trust-wide dedication to providing all our pupils with a great education. At the heart of this has been the commitment from all of our staff to fully support students following the pandemic.
We are incredibly proud of all of our academies that have recently undergone Ofsted inspections since January and the outcomes are a clear indication of how our academies are providing that “great education” for their pupils.
Some of our Ofsted highlights include – Ormiston SWB Academy, Ormiston NEW Academy, Ormiston Meridian Academy have all received their best-ever judgements and are now good schools. Stoke High School has been working incredibly hard over the past three years and been transformed, thanks to the incredible staff and students. Following a recent inspection, the academy has now achieved a good grading. Ormiston Cliff Park Primary Academy, since merging into one school and having only joined the Trust back in December 2019 have also been graded a good school.
As the summer term goes on and we get closer to the first in-person exams in two years, our academies have not wavered in providing academic and wellbeing support for all our pupils. There is a strong assurance across the Trust that our staff, students and wider communities will continue to do a fantastic job in the face of the ever-evolving education landscape.