Ofsted chief sets out five-year plan

Ofsted chief sets out five-year plan

Ofsted’s Chief Inspector, Amanda Spielman, has set out her organisation’s five-year plan, which details its priorities for raisin standards across the sector.

Speaking at the National Children and Adult Services (NCASC) annual conference, Ms Spielman told delegates: “Like you, we have continued with our work while adjusting to big changes in context. But we have also been looking to the future. We recently published a new five-year strategy taking us to 2027…. that reflects on the last 5 years, especially the pressures the pandemic put on our sectors, but it does also look forward to recovery and beyond.”

During her speech, she highlighted five of the Inspectorate’s eight key priorities including:

  • Inspections that raise standards
  • Delivering ‘right touch regulation’
  • Keeping children safe
  • Keeping pace with sector changes
  • Making sure children get ‘the best start in life’

Highlighting the need to make ‘the best start in life’ a top priority, Ms Spielman said: “Children only get one childhood. Each of us has a role in making sure we are getting it right from the start. We make no apology for prioritising the early years.

“Over the last year we have published reports highlighting the serious impact the pandemic has had on some of the youngest children.

“There are clear concerns about the impact on children’s social and wider development. Many have gaps in communication and language skills and are behind where they should be in personal, social, emotional, and physical development.”

Responding to concerns raised about Ofsted’s inspection process, she said: “Coming out of the pandemic, schools and nurseries told us they wanted stability and continuity, including in the inspection model. That is why we are allowing the Education Inspection Framework (EIF) to embed properly rather than change it to focus on pandemic recovery.

“We have [also] recently published our new guidance for Joint Targeted Area Inspections (JTAIs). We will look at how children’s social care, education, health, and the police, work together to reduce risks and harm to children and to give early help.”

Explaining Ofsted’s focus on ‘right touch regulation’, she continued:  “We know that our ‘right touch regulation’ strategic priority is so important to the sector right now. Proportionate and risk-based regulation is critical to ensuring good outcomes for children.

“There have been several recent reviews and reports with recommendations for Ofsted and for the sectors we work with. We welcome these contributions and the ongoing discussions that they bring. We’ll continue to support improvement based on the recommendations we and you have been making for a number of years to deliver the best possible outcomes for children.

“Where there are lessons for Ofsted to learn, we will take that on board. We will continue to use our regulatory powers with careful thought and only where we have serious concerns. But, when we find care that is simply not good enough, it is right that we continue to act.”