Evaluation of the Impact of Section 5 Inspections

Peter Rudd, Pauline Wade, Tami McCrone, Simon Rutt, Sarah Blenkinsop, Tilaye Yeshanew

04 April 2007

Available to download from Ofsted website

In 2006 Ofsted commissioned NFER to carry out an independent evaluation of the new inspection process for maintained schools in England, introduced in September 2005. The aim of the research was to assess the extent to which schools felt that the new inspections contributed to school improvement. The research methods used were a survey of all schools inspected over a six month period, statistical modelling, case-study visits to 36 schools and a desk-top review of case-study school documents.

Key Findings

  • The vast majority of schools were satisfied with the inspection process and it was generally perceived as contributing to school improvement.
  • Most schools agreed with the inspection report recommendations and valued the confirmation, prioritisation and clarification of improvement areas. Many schools felt that the report had provided an impetus to drive forward progress.
  • Although the majority of interviewees reported that it was time-consuming to complete the Self-Evaluation Form (SEF), there was also a strong view that it had been effective as a means of identifying school strengths and weaknesses.
  • Oral feedback from the inspection team was found to be vital. The research revealed a positive, and statistically significant, relationship between constructive oral feedback and overall satisfaction with the inspection process.
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