Editor’s view - Inspecting the framework

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Ofsted’s draft Education Inspection Framework promises a move from data to curriculum, but the transition might not be easy


Liz Roberts

Ofsted’s every pronouncement about early years inspection is seized upon by our readers when we report on them – hardly surprising when the regulator and its verdicts are so fundamental to a setting’s success and sustainability.

So details of the completely new Education Inspection Framework arriving in September are of huge interest and are being pored over as they are released.

Last week, Ofsted launched a consultation on the proposed EIF, and you can read about the draft framework and handbook in our story:

Education Inspection Framework 2019: key changes for early years

The biggest change is the switch of emphasis from outcomes to ‘quality of education’, recognising an over-reliance on data in current inspections.

This should be a welcome shift, although there will be undoubted challenges. As the EIF covers all educational stages, it must be clear what the terminology and intentions mean for early years, as distinct from schools and further education. Here, the early years handbook makes encouraging mentions of providing experiences prompting ‘awe and wonder’, and cites the characteristics of effective learning in the section on behaviour and attitudes.

‘Educational programmes’ could be a concern given how these have been amended for the worse in the proposed EYFS revision. How will Ofsted’s judgements tie in with what is set down in the EYFS. Government guidance and policy seems to be moving in the opposite direction to the new EIF.

And demonstrating a high quality of education could be increasingly hard for some early years providers, as Ceeda’s About Early Years report reveals large skills gaps in staff teams, and the Education Policy Institute shows recruitment problems intensified by falling pay rates.

Ceeda Data: About Early Years - gaps in the market

Staff facing high financial insecurity

Grades could also be falling unless both Government and sector take action and adequate funding is sorted out.

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