Three considerations before you aim for Ofsted ‘Outstanding’

Three considerations before you aim for Ofsted “Outstanding”

I’ve long been a champion for the removal of the single Ofsted grade in England.

Its problems outweigh the value. I hope it happens. There is considerably more use in focusing on the aspect grades alone.

Here’s what we tell every client we work with about striving to achieve an overall ‘Outstanding’ judgement:

1) It’s a decision – not an absolute- as to whether you want to achieve it.

There are other ways to measure success that will matter more or equally to your learners and employers.

2) It isn’t linear – just a point in time.

You might not hold onto it because the framework changes and your provision changes. Decide whether you’ll be OK with that. If your grade drops to ‘Good’, you haven’t failed. Anyone who tells you otherwise is a plonker.

3) ‘Outstanding’ is often hidden behind ‘Good’. 

We work with some fantastic ‘Outstanding’ providers.

I’m fortunate to chair 3 schools that worked relentlessly to get it. But it is madness to only focus your attention on looking at them if you’re trying to learn what Outstanding provision looks like. Look at the many providers who are Outstanding in one or more aspects. You’ll learn just as much – if not more – about making the step change.

We often look to Ofsted to fix the high stakes of inspection. We can do a lot ourselves to lower the stakes too – with a balanced approach.

Lou Doyle is the CEO of Mesma.

Mesma 2024 roadmap is set to supercharge clarity and confidence in quality assurance and improvement. These developments include new features, resources, AI enhancement, as well as launching the not for profit Quality Professionals Awards.

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