Bold Beginnings: Ofsted publishes methods behind controversial report

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Faced with a number of Freedom of Information requests, Ofsted has bowed to pressure and published more information on the methodology of the Bold Beginnings report.


Ofsted has faced criticism over the report into Reception class teaching

The report on Reception class teaching was published at the end of November and has continued to attract widespread criticism over its depiction of Reception class teaching.

On Friday (5 January) Ofsted updated the web page where the report is published by adding Annex C, which it described as ‘a technical document to accompany the report “Bold Beginnings: the Reception curriculum in a sample of good and outstanding primary schools”.

Ofsted said that there had been a number of FOI requests requesting similar information, which had led the inspectorate to conclude that there was interest in the background of the report.

The technical document (Annex C) sets out the report methodology. It includes the rationale for choosing the 41 ‘high performing’ schools that inspectors visited for the report. It also includes the names and profiles of the inspectors that carried out the inspection visits. As part of the school visits inspectors were asked to complete a short survey in each school, and Annexe C includes the survey questions. They include detailed questions about how Reception classes teach spoken language and comprehension; phonics; reading comprehension; spelling and handwriting; and writing composition (composing sentences and short texts).

Ofsted has also published ‘the judgement record’, the form that inspectors used to capture the data.

On Twitter 'Reading technical info re . The survey is heavily focussed on Literacy and maths. At least speaking gets a mention... Where’s the questions about CoEL and the 2 remaining prime areas? The sharing of this technical information just raises even more questions...'

  • View the updated Ofsted web page here.
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