Ofsted has announced plans to change the way it inspects and assesses schools. Exam results will no longer be the principal focus for inspectors, who will instead look at the overall breadth and quality of education in schools.
Ofsted’s Chief Inspector Amanda Spielman conceded that in recent years Ofsted has placed ‘too much weight on test and exam results when we consider the overall effectiveness of schools.’ This has ‘increased the pressure on school leaders, teachers and indirectly on pupils to deliver perfect data above all else.’
Under the new framework, emphasis will be placed on the quality of education provided in schools. Inspectors will assess the teaching of the curriculum as a whole, and schools will be rewarded for offering pupils a broad range of subjects.
The Society of Authors welcomes the proposed move. We have long emphasised the importance of providing students with a well-rounded education that encourages interest in learning and develops creativity. Too much focus on teaching to exams can stifle enthusiasm and discourage students from acquiring a broader understanding of the subject.
We are concerned about the narrowing of the curriculum and the year-on-year decrease in the number of students taking creative subjects, largely due to the expansion of the EBacc which excludes creative subjects. We hope that a new approach from Ofsted, which recognises the value of a broad education, will go some way to addressing the current imbalance and encouraging more schools to take up creative subjects.
The proposals for a new inspection framework will go out to consultation in January.
Members of CWIG – the Children’s Writer’s and Illustrators Group of the Society of Authors – visit schools every day, talking about their work and teaching creative skills to students. Shoo Rayner, Chair of Children’s Writer’s and Illustrators Group (CWIG) of the Society of Authors, said:
Over the last few years we have all noticed, and been dismayed by the decline of creative subjects made available to children. Also, we have witnessed the increasing despair of teachers who have to teach to the test, leaving little time to offer a broader education.
The future workplace of this country requires a well-rounded, inquisitive, creative, self-motivated, collaborative workforce. CWIG welcomes the announcement of a change of approach from OFSTED. Our members are ready and willing to help schools bring creativity back to the classroom.