Changes to the UK A&R framework to commence in September

by Freya Lucas

May 15

UK early childhood education and care (ECEC) regulatory body, Ofsted, has confirmed changes to the way in which early years providers, schools and colleges are inspected after receiving “strong support” from three quarters of consultation respondents for a refocus on “the substance of education,” Nursery World has reported.

 

The Education Inspection Framework (EIF), which will be enacted from September this year, has been made available to the public alongside a report outlining responses gathered during a three month consultation period. Handbooks on the EIF specific to early years, schools and further education and skills providers are also available.

 

The reforms reportedly garnered a lot of attention from the community, with Ofsted saying it had received “the biggest response in its history” with more than 15,000 responses. The comprehensive EIF cover all aspects of education from birth to adult, and is “the result of two years of work, including research on curriculum and ‘road testing’ across age ranges”.

 

By the time the EIF rolls out in September, Nursery World said, pilot inspections of over 250 sites will have taken place across the education span, and in a number of regions. Chief Ofsted Inspector Amanda Spielman said the two focus words which have been used in the development and testing of the EIF have been ‘substance’ and ‘integrity’.

 

“Is it education with substance, and is it being done with integrity?”

 

Ms Spielman said the new quality of education judgement is that of re-balancing education, looking more closely at what’s being taught, and how it is being taught, with tests and exam outcomes being looked at in that context, rather than as standalone outcomes being viewed in isolation.

 

She described the consultation phases as “a very thorough listening exercise” speaking with people who are involved in education and care in a variety of contexts. There was widespread agreement, she said, about the value of judging learners behaviour and attitudes separately from their wider personal development, with over 75 per cent of respondents supporting this notion.

 

Specific to the early years, Ofsted outlined the receipt of a number of responses outlining a disconnect between the judgement criteria for early years provision in schools compared with the criteria for registered early learning settings.

 

The consultation report noted “they felt that the criteria for schools were too focused on reception-age children and did not take enough account of schools with two- and three-year-olds.”

 

As a result, Ofsted has amended the criteria to ensure an emphasis for early years provision for younger children, while clarifying where criteria apply to reception-age children.

 

For more information about the Ofsted changes, see here.

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