General News

The New Ofsted Framework – What focus on attendance?

Following a period of consultation, Ofsted has now published its new Education Inspection Framework. This came into effect from September 2019 with a focus on inspectors looking at what children learn, ahead of exam results. There is a recognition that whilst schools in challenging situations might not always get pass rates on par with others, they still might be providing good quality education and outcomes for their pupils.   

Attendance will be covered under the new “Behaviour and Attitudes Judgement”. Inspectors will evaluate the extent to which pupils have high attendance and are punctual, looking for evidence of a strong focus on attendance and punctuality so that disruption is minimised. They will want to see that a school has clear and effective behaviour and attendance policies in place with evidence that they are being applied consistently and fairly by all staff.

The grade descriptor for Good and Outstanding schools is less detailed than previously and in regards to attendance states simply that:

‘Pupils have high attendance, come on time to school and are punctual to lessons.’

In order to make a judgement, inspectors will observe pupils punctuality in arriving at school and to lessons; analyse absence and PA rates for all pupils and for different groups, and look at how low attendees are improving. Positive trends will be recognised and schools with low attendance will not be unfairly criticised if – attendance is improving over time; there is a clear understanding of the reason for low attendance in the past, and a clear strategy in place for tackling absences.

Within the ‘Leadership and Management Judgement” inspectors will focus on the extent of the school’s high ambitions being in place for all pupils, including those who are hard to reach and they will be particularly alert to any evidence of removing pupils form roll without a formal permanent exclusion.

WPA can provide support to your school by reviewing your attendance policy to ensure that it fits with Ofsted’s requirements.  We can also help with preparing for your next inspection with audits on your attendance and recommendations for strategies to improve it, and advice on what information to have ready for the inspectors. To discuss how we can support you please contact us on 01689 843322 or click here for our contact form.

Written by Sue Mellish
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