The Ofsted document School Inspection Update: Special Edition (September 2017) includes in its introduction that data is “a signpost, not a destination for inspection”. The theme is that inspectors must use data in valid and reliable ways and that:
For many schools, this news will come too late. The use of data, almost to the exclusion of all other evidence, has already determined Ofsted judgements for years now.
However, for those currently anticipating an Ofsted visit, could this really lead to a more considered and reflective inspection that values both the qualitative as well as the quantitative?
One of the chief concerns has been schools’ and inspectors’ ever-narrowing analysis of small cohorts of pupils, leading to a skewed understanding of where strengths and weaknesses really lie. For example, drilling down into small groups such as high-attaining, disadvantaged boys can lead to very small numbers being analysed with meaningless results.
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