What Do Schools Do after OFSTED School Inspections-or before?

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<ul><li><p>This article was downloaded by: [Moskow State Univ Bibliote]On: 25 September 2013, At: 16:54Publisher: RoutledgeInforma Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954Registered office: Mortimer House, 37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T3JH, UK</p><p>School Leadership &amp;Management: Formerly SchoolOrganisationPublication details, including instructions forauthors and subscription information:http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/cslm20</p><p>What Do Schools Do afterOFSTED School Inspections-orbefore?Janet Ouston , Brian Fidler &amp; Peter EarleyPublished online: 25 Aug 2010.</p><p>To cite this article: Janet Ouston , Brian Fidler &amp; Peter Earley (1997)What Do Schools Do after OFSTED School Inspections-or before?, SchoolLeadership &amp; Management: Formerly School Organisation, 17:1, 95-104, DOI:10.1080/13632439770195</p><p>To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13632439770195</p><p>PLEASE SCROLL DOWN FOR ARTICLE</p><p>Taylor &amp; Francis makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of all theinformation (the Content) contained in the publications on our platform.However, Taylor &amp; Francis, our agents, and our licensors make norepresentations or warranties whatsoever as to the accuracy, completeness,or suitability for any purpose of the Content. Any opinions and viewsexpressed in this publication are the opinions and views of the authors, andare not the views of or endorsed by Taylor &amp; Francis. The accuracy of theContent should not be relied upon and should be independently verified withprimary sources of information. Taylor and Francis shall not be liable for anylosses, actions, claims, proceedings, demands, costs, expenses, damages,and other liabilities whatsoever or howsoever caused arising directly orindirectly in connection with, in relation to or arising out of the use of theContent.</p></li><li><p>This article may be used for research, teaching, and private study purposes.Any substantial or systematic reproduction, redistribution, reselling, loan,sub-licensing, systematic supply, or distribution in any form to anyone isexpressly forbidden. Terms &amp; Conditions of access and use can be found athttp://www.tandfonline.com/page/terms-and-conditions</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [M</p><p>osko</p><p>w St</p><p>ate U</p><p>niv B</p><p>ibliot</p><p>e] at </p><p>16:54</p><p> 25 Se</p><p>ptemb</p><p>er 20</p><p>13 </p></li><li><p>School Leadership &amp; Management, Vol. 17, No. 1, pp. 95 104, 1997</p><p>What Do Schools Do afterOFSTED School Inspections orbefore?JANET OUSTONManagement Development Centre, Institute of Education, Bedford Way, London</p><p>WC1H 0AL, UK</p><p>BRIAN FIDLERCentre for Education Management, University of Reading, Earley, Reading RG6 1HY,</p><p>UK</p><p>PETER EARLEYOxford Centre for Education Management, Oxford Brookes University, Wheatley, Oxford</p><p>OX33 1HX, UK</p><p>ABSTRACT The results of research on the effects of OFSTED secondary school inspections in</p><p>England since 1994 are presented. The reactions of headteachers to the inspections and their</p><p>progress on the resulting school action plan are given. The results indicate considerable potential</p><p>for school inspections to contribute to the process of school improvement.</p><p>School Inspections by OFSTED</p><p>The Education Reform Act (1988) moved the focus of accountability of schools</p><p>decisively towards a market based on parental choice (Kogan, 1988). Judgements</p><p>about schools were to be made by parents on the basis of increasing amounts of</p><p>comparative quantitative data (Fidler, 1989). The professional scrutiny of schools by</p><p>Local Education Authority (LEA) inspectors and Her Majesty s Inspectorate (HMI)</p><p>was reduced, since both were reduced in numbers. Grant maintained schools were</p><p>only open to inspection by HMI.</p><p>The Education (Schools) Act 1992 instituted a regime of systematic inspections</p><p>of all state schools on a four yearly cycle. Inspections were to be carried out</p><p>according to a framework produced by a newly formed Of ce for Standards in</p><p>Education (OFSTED). Inspectors are required to pass a registration assessment and</p><p>are contracted to carry out inspections after having a tender accepted by OFSTED</p><p>(Ouston et al., 1996a).</p><p>Inspections appear to have several functions:</p><p>1363-2434 /97/010095-10 $7.00 1997 Journals Oxford Ltd</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [M</p><p>osko</p><p>w St</p><p>ate U</p><p>niv B</p><p>ibliot</p><p>e] at </p><p>16:54</p><p> 25 Se</p><p>ptemb</p><p>er 20</p><p>13 </p></li><li><p>96 J. Ouston et al.</p><p>(1) They increase the amount of information, both factual and judgmental,</p><p>availab le to parents to inform their choice of school. This can be viewed as</p><p>an indirect impact of inspection.</p><p>(2) They provide a summary professional judgement on the performance of a</p><p>school. This does not have any direct impact on schools except for those</p><p>deemed `in need of special measures , when a series of actions are triggered</p><p>which can result in a school closing in the most extreme case.</p><p>(3) They provide a spur to improvement in two main ways (Matthews &amp; Smith,</p><p>1995).</p><p> Schools are given a substantial period of notice before an inspection takesplace. Schools can be expected to undertake developmental and remedial</p><p>measures in this time with the intention of avoiding adverse comment in</p><p>the forthcoming inspection.</p><p> After inspection, schools are required to produce an action plan whichaddresses areas of weakness identi ed in the inspection report. In 1996/7</p><p>schools will receive additional funding after submitting their action plan</p><p>(although this is only a targetted form of funding which would previously</p><p>have gone to all schools for staff development).</p><p>As originally envisaged, OFSTED inspections appeared to be a quality control</p><p>process. They were highly standardised and intended to provide comparable infor-</p><p>mation and judgements about schools. When the Improving School Management</p><p>Initiative group of the British Educational Management and Administration Society</p><p>(BEMAS) considered the potential of inspections for school improvement in 1992</p><p>it suggested that an approach based on quality assurance rather than quality control</p><p>would have been more valuable, but the group did recognise a key feature of</p><p>inspections they would in uence every state school over a 4 year period.</p><p>For this reason BEMAS supported an investigation of the developmental</p><p>impact of school inspections. The current results of this research are reported here.</p><p>A grant from the Nuf eld Foundation will support further research in 1996 and</p><p>1997.</p><p>Research on OFSTED Inspections</p><p>OFSTED inspection has become part of the life of schools. Secondary school</p><p>inspection started in September 1993 and primary inspection a year later. There has</p><p>been a considerable interest from researchers in the impact of OFSTED on schools,</p><p>teachers, inspectors, parents and governors: many of these studies are reported in</p><p>Ouston et al. (1996b). There has been corresponding interest in how inspections and</p><p>other initiatives can play a part in school development (OFSTED, 1994, 1995a;</p><p>Earley et al., 1996).</p><p>Since 1994 we have undertaken four linked postal surveys of the impact of</p><p>inspection on the management of secondary schools. The rst survey focused on all</p><p>English secondary schools inspected in the autumn term 1993 (n 5 284) (Fidleret al., 1994) and the second on those inspected a year later, in the autumn term 1994</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [M</p><p>osko</p><p>w St</p><p>ate U</p><p>niv B</p><p>ibliot</p><p>e] at </p><p>16:54</p><p> 25 Se</p><p>ptemb</p><p>er 20</p><p>13 </p></li><li><p>What Do Schools Do after OFSTED? 97</p><p>TABLE I. Survey schedule</p><p>Follow-up</p><p>Survey Inspected First questionnaire questionnaire</p><p>1.1 and 1.2 Autumn 1993 June 1994 (1.1) June 1995 (1.2)</p><p>2.1 and 2.2 Autumn 1994 June 1995 (2.1) June 1996 (2.2)</p><p>(n 5 399) (Fidler et al., 1994). These surveys were undertaken two terms after theinspection in the summer terms of 1994 and 1995 to ensure that the action</p><p>planning process was completed. The response to each survey was good (around</p><p>60%) and a similar range of schools responded. The third study followed up</p><p>the schools inspected in 1993 two years later (Ouston et al., 1996b) and the</p><p>fourth survey, undertaken in 1996, followed up those inspected in 1994. (Table I</p><p>summarises the survey schedule.) Each follow-up survey asked whether the</p><p>inspection still played a part in the decision making process. It also asked for</p><p>information about the progress made on implementing the inspectors recommenda-</p><p>tions. All questionnaires were addressed to the headteacher and nearly all were</p><p>completed by the head or, occasionally, by a deputy. The surveys should, therefore,</p><p>be seen as a senior management view of the inspection process and its consequences.</p><p>Schools Inspected in 1993 and 1994</p><p>In 1994 (survey 1.1) almost a quarter of schools had used an external consultant or</p><p>inspector to give guidance on the state of the school before inspection, whilst in</p><p>1995 (survey 2.1) this gure had risen to 38%. The value of preparation for school</p><p>development was reported to be much higher in 1995: 48% rated it highly compared</p><p>with 36% in 1994 and the mean response (on a ve point scale) went up from 2.9</p><p>to 3.3. A number of heads indicated that they had used the Framework to prepare</p><p>their schools for inspection and had obviously found it of value. The mean for the</p><p>value of the verbal feedback for school development was 2.93 (survey 2.1) compared</p><p>with 2.96 (survey 1.1), whilst the value of the nal report fell from 3.16 (survey 2.1)</p><p>to 3.01 (survey 1.1).</p><p>In 1995 (survey 2.1) we asked about the accuracy of the report in describing the</p><p>school and about the report s judgement of the four main areas of inspection. Most</p><p>respondents (two thirds) said that the report was fair, 12% said that the report was</p><p>too positive and 21% that it was too negative.</p><p>On a ve point scale we asked about the reaction of the head to the report. The</p><p>scale ran from dispirited to encouraged. The greatest number were encouraged</p><p>(69%), 21% were dispirited in some way and only 10% were neutral. In the</p><p>overwhelming number of cases this view was perceived to be shared by the staff</p><p>(92%).</p><p>When we asked about the effect of inspection on the speed of development, the</p><p>range of answers was striking. Four per cent said that development had stopped,</p><p>24% said that it had slowed, 34% said it had speeded up and the remaining 38%,</p><p>the largest single group, said that it had been unaffected. Some respondents</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [M</p><p>osko</p><p>w St</p><p>ate U</p><p>niv B</p><p>ibliot</p><p>e] at </p><p>16:54</p><p> 25 Se</p><p>ptemb</p><p>er 20</p><p>13 </p></li><li><p>98 J. Ouston et al.</p><p>explained that the process of preparing for their inspection has prevented develop-</p><p>ments they wished to make, whilst others pointed out that preparing for inspection</p><p>had led them to make developments earlier than they might otherwise have done.</p><p>The reaction is both a function of the state of the school and how the school</p><p>perceived the inspection process.</p><p>In 1994 (survey 1.1), although the action plan was referred to as the governors</p><p>action plan, almost half the respondents thought that the governors played little or</p><p>no part in its creation. In 1995 (survey 2.1) there was evidence of a little more</p><p>involvement of governors. Only 39% said the governors had made little or no</p><p>contribution and 18% compared with 14% said that governors had made a major</p><p>contribution. Nineteen per cent had used a consultant to help devise the action plan</p><p>and 12% had received a major input from their LEA; in both cases these are small</p><p>changes on 1994. Nineteen per cent expected to use a consultant to help implement</p><p>their action plan.</p><p>In 1995 (survey 2.1) 55% said that the action points were coincident with their</p><p>school development plan (SDP) (Hargreaves &amp; Hopkins, 1991). The corresponding</p><p> gure in 1994 (survey 1.1) was 29%. In 1994, 17% said that there were major</p><p>differences between the SDP and the post-OFSTED action plan. In 1995 (survey</p><p>2.1) this had fallen to 5%, suggesting that the inspection framework is having a</p><p>major in uence on the priorities schools set themselves.</p><p>In the 1995 survey (survey 2.1) schools reported that the inspectors reported an</p><p>average of 6.8 `key issues for action . Not all of these were rated important by the</p><p>schools. The respondents were asked for their assessment of the numbers of action</p><p>points they considered to be `important : the mean number was 3.9; 2.9 action</p><p>points were regarded by schools as less than `important .</p><p>The Follow-up Studies</p><p>The third survey (survey 1.2) followed up the schools inspected in the autumn term</p><p>1993 almost 2 years later, in the summer term 1995. Every school in the `1993</p><p>group was asked if they would be willing to be followed up later. One hundred and</p><p>seventy schools replied (out of 284) and 120 agreed to be followed up. Of the 120,</p><p>87 replied to the follow-up. Again, this was a good response (70%), but we must be</p><p>aware that this is only one third of the total population of schools inspected in the</p><p>autumn term 1993. Using evidence from respondents at different stages of these</p><p>linked studies, schools that replied to the follow-up survey had been, on average,</p><p>slightly more positive about the value of inspection 1 year earlier. This must be kept</p><p>in mind when interpreting the follow-up data.</p><p>The fourth survey (survey 2.2) followed up the schools inspected in the autumn</p><p>term 1994. Of these schools, 208 were willing to be followed up and 118 question-</p><p>naires had been returned by the end of August 1996.</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [M</p><p>osko</p><p>w St</p><p>ate U</p><p>niv B</p><p>ibliot</p><p>e] at </p><p>16:54</p><p> 25 Se</p><p>ptemb</p><p>er 20</p><p>13 </p></li><li><p>What Do Schools Do after OFSTED? 99</p><p>TABLE II. Key issues for action (survey 1.2 only)</p><p>Per cent of</p><p>Key issues for action schools</p><p>The corporate act of worship 65</p><p>Assessment 37</p><p>Monitoring and evaluation 30</p><p>Teaching and learning styles 29</p><p>School development planning 28</p><p>Differentiation 28</p><p>Academic achievement 23</p><p>Results</p><p>The follow-up questionnaires were distributed in the summer terms of 1995 and</p><p>1996. Schools were asked about their OFSTED inspection which had taken place</p><p>nearly 2 years earlier, in either the autumn term 1993 or 1994. The data from the</p><p> rst follow-up study will be presented rst, with the second follow up data given in</p><p>parentheses.</p><p>In survey 1.2, 32% of schools (35% in survey 2.2) felt that the report was `very</p><p>positive about the school , 40% (43%) that it was `generally positive , 24% (19%)</p><p>that it was `mixed and 3% (3%) that it was `mainly or totally negative .</p><p>Thirty six per cent of schools (21% in survey 2.2) said that the inspection had</p><p>a considerable impact on the whole school and a further 39% (36%) that it had a</p><p>moderate impact. Three quarters (63%) saw the impact of inspection to have been</p><p>positive and one quarter (30%) that it was mixed. Only 1% (3%) saw the impact as</p><p>negative. The greatest impact was in the schools who reported a `mixed or</p><p>`negative report. These data suggest a decline in the impact of inspection and in its</p><p>positive outcomes.</p><p>Forty eight per cent (35%) said that the inspection still played a direct part in</p><p>the discussions of the senior management team. This was unrelated to whether they</p><p>perceived the report itself to have been positive or negative. The main issues</p><p>reported were concerned with planning: the school development plan and the</p><p>OFSTED action plan. This was followed by issues concerned with academic</p><p>attainment and teaching and learning styles. (These data are not yet available for</p><p>survey 2.2.)</p><p>The number o...</p></li></ul>