White paper: Ofsted to stop grading quality of teaching

Government wants teachers to stop thinking they must use certain teaching styles to impress inspectors

Schools watchdog Ofsted will stop grading the quality of teaching in schools, under proposals designed to prevent teachers from thinking they must use certain teaching styles in order to impress inspectors.

The government’s new schools white paper, published this morning, says Ofsted will consult on “removing the separate graded judgements on the quality of teaching, learning and assessment” from its reports.

There are currently four categories in an Ofsted report: leadership and management; behaviour and safety; quality of teaching, learning and assessment and outcomes for pupils. Schools with sixth forms or early years provision also receive a separate judgement for these.

Under the proposals, inspectors would continue to report on the “impact” of teaching through the other three judgements, but they would no longer publish a separate grade for schools based on the quality of teaching.

“Despite recent reforms and clarifications, such as Ofsted no longer judging the quality of individual lessons and confirming they do not have a preferred teaching style, some schools continue to tell us that they feel they are judged on whether or not they follow particular styles of teaching,” the white paper says.

Sources said inspectors would still have to understand “what is happening in a school” and it is not expected that inspectors would be removed from classrooms altogether under the proposals, although further details will be outlined when the consultation document is published.

“You should judge the quality of teaching based on the outcomes of that teaching, as long as it’s based on progress,” a source said.

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