The Optimus blog

The blog that inspires leaders in the UK education sector

The Optimus blog

The blog that inspires leaders in the UK education sector

School performance and accountability

John Viner

We need to talk about Ofsted

New proposals from Ofsted have prompted a shift in the rhetoric around inspection. John Viner summarises the changing times. With the departure of Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Schools, Sir Michael Wilshaw, Ofsted moved into a new phase under the leadership of Amanda Spielman. Out went the old-...
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John Viner

Pupil premium: is it making a difference?

While pupil premium funding was introduced with the good intention of helping schools narrow the attainment gap, its future looks increasingly uncertain. In April 2011, the coalition government introduced the pupil premium and the service premium. This injected an additional £625 million of funding...
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Diane Leedham

Ethical assessment and tracking for EAL learners

Diane Leedham argues why data should be the servant and not the master when it comes to championing the needs of EAL learners. After months of uncertainty and behind the scenes speculation about the position for EAL and BAME learners in the 2018/19 school census return, the DfE finally released the...
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John Viner

When is outstanding not good enough?

Recent reports have brought renewed criticism of Ofsted’s delay in inspecting 'outstanding' schools. John Viner summarises what has changed – and what hasn’t. It has taken rather longer to surface than might be expected, but you must have noticed the frequency with which the education press is...
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Lisa Griffin

MATs: inspection and accountability

We asked three multi-academy trust CEOs for their views on Ofsted, inspection and how MATs can measure and evaluate their own impact. Ofsted have asked for the power to inspect MATs. What would this mean for trusts? The key issue is not who inspects MATs, but rather how MATs are to be inspected...
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Elizabeth Holmes

Bouncing back from a disappointing inspection outcome

Your Ofsted inspection has come and gone, but the outcome wasn't what you'd hoped. What are the next steps? If social media is anything to go by, an Ofsted inspection remains a source of dread for those who work in schools. While much work has been done by Ofsted – and particularly its national...
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John Viner

When inspection is not by Ofsted

While the majority of state schools focus on the Ofsted inspection process for their self-evaluation, around a third must also prepare for a separate inspection of their faith character. Ofsted inspection is carried out under sections 5 and 8 of the Education Act 2005, and every headteacher in the...
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Dai Durbridge

GDPR: your questions answered

We were inundated with questions at our recent GDPR conference. Browne Jacobson lawyer Dai Durbridge answers the most popular ones. 1. What are the implications of staff working remotely with access to confidential information? There is no reason why staff cannot continue to access personal and...
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John Viner

Another year, another education secretary

Unexpected departures and new arrivals at the DfE have brought the future of government education policy into question. Just as the profession was developing a good working relationship with a new secretary of state for education, we looked up and, instead of Justine Greening, found Damian Hinds...
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Damian Moore

'One happy family': reviewing and refining practice for 2018

One year on from our Ofsted report, Holy Family is committed to implementing our plan for better SEND support. Here are some of our priorities. Reviewing and planning are the main two priorities for many SENCOs as the year ends. Ours has just given a wonderful exposition of the history of SEND to...
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