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What's new for the autumn term - a focus on OFSTED, accountability, policy and CPD

Welcome back to the new term

back to schoolWe have read and reviewed the main documents that have been issued from OFSTED and from the Department of Education over the past few weeks in order to highlight some of the issues and detail that are essential parts of the planning process for the autumn term and beyond.  The following sections include links to relevant documents and will hopefully provide a comprehensive one stop place to go to find what is new and relevant now.  We endeavour to be as accurate and up to date as possible, if there is anything else you think should be included contact us.  It is pretty much business as usual and most of the information contained in the documentation simply reinforces what is already in place and emphasises that the current status quo in relation to assessment and accountability are to remain for some time yet.

We have reviewed the latest changes to the Ofsted Handbook and looked at the accountability issues that are included in a statement of intent document produced by DfE.  We are naturally looking closely at the CPD standard introduced before the end of last term which is useful in clarifying some of the thinking behind the scrutiny about how the profession is to develop and continue to grow in order that it can provide a world class education system in line with other high quality education systems around the world. Coaching continues to be our main focus for training and development and we are delighted to see how many schools are now adopting coaching as their preferred structure for developing a positive and powerful whole school, sustainable and cost effective CPD strategy that creates opportunities to measure impact and that has a measurable influence on change, attainment and achievement. It has been a quiet summer in relation to policy change.  There is a lot pending and in the pipeline and a whole raft of documents and fact sheets promised for the autumn.  All the documents we have cited are listed in the resources section at the end of this newsletter.

We wish you a successful start to the new term and hope that you have had a restful and enjoyable summer break. 


What is included in the new OFSTED handbook for the autumn term?

OFSTED have published their updates to section 5 and section 8 of their handbook for maintained schools and colleges in line with statutory requirements or changes that have been published since the last version of the handbook back in January of this year.  OFSTED emphasise that they have tried to make as few changes as possible and that expectations for schools and colleges remain the same. The new Inspection Handbook for Maintained schools was published on 23rd August 2016. Section 8 of the handbook has been updated in line with the Education and Adoption ACT which came into force earlier this year and the changes to Section 5 reflect the latest education policy such as the government's new Schools Causing Concern Guidance. OFSTED have put together a short statement on the changes they have made. Changes to section 5 include clarification of the details about who inspectors should meet with to inspect governance at the school and how governors are developed in their role as part of the effectiveness of school leadership. Changes to section 8 include a detailed update to the guidance on monitoring of schools causing concern in the light of recent legislative changes in the Education and Adoption Act 2016 which includes requirements relating to statements of action for schools in categories of concern.

Join us at one of our curriculum events where we look in detail at the requirements of the inspectorate, OFSTED and ISI in England and ESTYN in Wales. 

  • Planning and delivering the Secondary Curriculum - creating a continuum of learning from Year 7 to Year 11 and beyond
  • Mastering the Primary Curriculum - creating a platform for progress, learning and achievement

What are the accountability measurements linked to the recent statement of intent published by the government?

Earlier in August the Department of Education published a document 2016 School and college performance tables - Statement of Intent This statement of intent covers the data that DfE will publish for schools and colleges in the 2016 primary, secondary and 16 to 18 performance tables. It includes information on the data that will appear for the first time in these tables, as a result of government reforms to the way schools and colleges are accountable for their performance. The document also provides an overview of future accountability developments. There is a section on coasting schools, the definition of a coasting school is,

“A coasting school is where data shows that, over a three-year period, the school is failing to ensure that pupils reach their potential. A school will only be coasting if performance data falls below the coasting bar in all three previous years.” DfE 2016. The new  progress-based accountability arrangements are coming into force in 2016, meaning that the first coasting judgements will be based on data from 2014 and 2015 under the old system and 2016 under the new system.

The document sets out how a school's performance is reported in 2016 and there is also a section that focuses on future developments. There is information about GCSE reform including the new grading system (Page 16). The new grading system will be introduced from 2017 with a scale from 9 - 1. Progress 8 guidance performance tables points scores will also be allocated to the new GCSEs on a 9 - 1 point scale corresponding to the new 1 - 9 grades, which means that a grade 9 will generate 9 points in the performance measures and a grade 5 will generate 5 points and so on.  The outcomes for pupils at the end of year 11 will be linked closely to their assessed level at the end of Key Stage 2.  This will create a flight path for progress that pupils will need to achieve as they move through their secondary school experience.  The new 'good pass' will be comparable to a high C or a low B. There is clearly an imperative to focus carefully on how to ensure high levels of progress from Year 7 to Year 11 create the right culture for learning that will ensure all pupils can achieve their full potential and be ready with the right skills to perform well in the new and more difficult GCSEs. The exact threshold for this is still to be announced. Annex B (page 29) of the Statement of Intent provides detailed information about the content of the secondary performance tables.

In relation to post 16 reform the government is changing the accountability system to set higher expectations for students and institutions. There are five headline measures:-

  • Progress - this will be the main focus of the new accountability system
  • Attainment - average point score per entry building on existing attainment measures
  • English and Maths progress - students who have not achieved a 'good pass' at the end of Key Stage 4 will have to continue to study English and or Maths
  • Retention - the proportion of students who are retained at the end of their main programme of study
  • Destinations - will be a headline measure from 2016

Detailed information about the new measures can be found in the 16 - 19 accountability technical guide published in 2014 with an update expected in the autumn 2016. Annex C of the Statement of Intent (page 32) sets out the full range of measures that will be published in 2016 16 - 18 performance tables.

Key stage 2 SATs results reveal that 53% of pupils reached the expected standard in reading writing and mathematics this summer.  The results are no longer published as levels but as a scaled score from 80 - 120 where pupils are expected to achieve above 100. 53% of pupils reached the expected standard in reading, writing and Mathematics as opposed to 80% in previous years. Iain Bell, Head of Profession for Statistics wrote in a draft National Curriculum fact sheet published by the DfE on 5th July,

"Children sitting key stage 2 tests this year were the first to be taught and assessed under the new national curriculum.  These changes mean that the expected standard this year is higher and not comparable with the expected standard used in previous year’s statistics. It would therefore be incorrect and misleading to make direct comparisons showing changes over time. In looking over time, all users of the statistics can say at this stage is that ‘53% of pupils achieved the new expected standard in 2016 when being taught and assessed against the higher standards expected under the new curriculum. Under the previous system, 80% of pupils achieved the standard that was expected under that system' ".

Annex A page 26) of the Statement of Intent provides detailed information as to what is published in the primary performance tables.

Building from here is essential for those leading and managing the process in primary, secondary and post 16 settings.  We continue to develop and build our training programmes to ensure that we can support those involved in creating the environment for learning that will deliver high levels of progression and allow pupils to achieve their full potential in tackling the demands of more rigorous curriculum content.  Below is a breakdown of the training courses that we offer directly linked to the need to focus on new accountability and performance measures. You may also like to have a look at our coaching events and other events linked to leadership and teaching and learning that will support you to develop a culture of sustainable, positive and powerful professional development.


  • The Language of assessment at Key Stage 1 and 2
  • Mastering the primary curriculum - progress, learning and achievement
  • Mastering and Embedding Numeracy across the curriculum
  • Mastering and Embedding Literacy across the curriculum
  • Formative Assessment - building a learning classroom


  • The Language of Assessment at Key Stage 3 and 4
  • Planning and Delivering the Secondary Curriculum
  • The Role of the Literacy Coordinator
  • The Role of the Numeracy Coordinator
  • The Importance of Key Stage 3

Post 16

  • Creating and sustaining an outstanding sixth form or post 16 setting
  • Delivering a Vocational Learning Pathway
  • Developing the Learner Voice in a post 16 setting
  • The Role of the Literacy Coordinator
  • The Role of the Numeracy Coordinator

Click on a title above to find out more. All of these events are for one day run in high quality venues in city centre locations. They can also be run as full INSET, half days or a series of twilight sessions.  We can support you to develop a whole school or trust CPD strategy and we do offer a one to one coaching service.

The other document that we wanted to include in here is the Statistical working paper: Multi-academy trust performance measures: England 2014 to 2015 which will form the basis of accountability for Multi academy trusts going forward from here.

How is Pupil Premium funding used and how can we ensure that we can evidence the impact the fund has on closing the gap, high levels of achievement for all pupils and how we measure the success of our intervention strategies?

We are pleased to offer schools across England a new training event this term Managing Pupil Premium - creating successful-outcomes and having the evidence of impact for stakeholders. It will focus on how schools are using Pupil Premium funding to close the achievement gap between those pupils receiving it and their non-Pupil Premium peers.  This continues to be a key area of accountability in the August 2016 OFSTED handbook. This focus is intended to ensure that schools and academies succeed in their efforts to provide the best possible learning opportunities for their disadvantaged pupils. This event brings together best practice, a wealth of expertise and the latest advice and guidance in how to ensure that schools can show profound evidence that Pupil Premium funding has a lasting impact on ensuring all pupils achieve their full potential.  The content of the day will look at the latest information about current DfE and OFSTED requirements. There will be an opportunity to review the latest research findings into effective intervention strategies, look at tools and techniques to support strategic implementation and time to reflect on resources and support that will lead to the development of an effective action plan.  We also look closely at the recently published guide developed by the Teaching Schools Council Effective Pupil Premium Reviews.

This event is run by a national trainer, consultant and former head teacher Nigel Bishop who brings his wide experience of school-based learning and leadership to bear in how to use Pupil Premium funding to create maximum impact for learning and achievement. The content of the event will be highly beneficial to both primary and secondary leaders and managers who have responsibility for this important funding stream.

Lesson Study - A collaborative approach to lesson observation as an integral part of informal continuing professional development

Join us for our new Lesson Study event which we will be running for the first time this autumn. Lesson Study is one approach that can provide evidence that your school is creating meaningful forums for collaborative professional development that is linked closely to ensuring there is an impact on learning in the classroom. It is an approach that began in Japan and is rapidly gaining momentum in this country. Two or three teachers work together to plan a lesson that one of them will teach. Before the lesson is delivered those involved in the planning will decide on a target group of pupils to follow and monitor in terms of their learning and the progress they make.  The other teachers who have been involved in the planning observe the lesson together in order to focus on the pedagogy, the progress and the impact the strategies employed have on the specific group of pupils chosen. This is a collaborative process that does require a time commitment and it works best when it is planned as an integral part of the school's improvement strategy. Lesson study aligns so closely with the development of a coaching model and can really support the school's vision to embed a coaching culture where the sharing and cascading of good and best practice is a visible part of the performance management system. It also provides excellent opportunities for teachers to engage in professional conversations that focus on how pupils learn and how teachers develop and grow in their role.  This event looks in detail at the principles of lesson study and focuses on the practicalities of how to build it into a whole school CPD strategy. We look at how to ensure that the approach is seen as a priority where the time and the resources are allocated, where there is a commitment from the senior leadership team to develop teams in this way and where teachers can learn the coaching skills they need to collaborate effectively through reflection and the development of positive professional dialogue.  There is significant evidence emerging of the impact this approach has in supporting both improving the quality of teaching and outcomes for pupils.  Professor Peter Dudley has written an informative book Lesson Study: Professional learning for our time on this approach and is an advocate of its efficacy as a powerful CPD tool for schools to use in developing highly effective learning communities. 

How do we plan professional development aligned to a new standard published by the government?

The recently published Standard for teachers' professional development guidance should be read in conjunction with the Teachers' Standards and sets out five principles,

  1. Professional development should have a focus on improving and evaluating pupil outcomes
  2. Professional development should be underpinned by robust evidence and expertise
  3. Professional development should include collaboration and expert challenge
  4. Professional development programmes should be sustained over time
  5. Professional development must be prioritised by school leadership

We are delighted to say that everything that is included in the standard closely relates to the underpinning philosophy within the content of all our training courses and development opportunities.  We have always advocated that training must be closely aligned with the school vision and to positive learning outcomes for both pupils and staff alike. The imperative to ensure that individual training events are never stand alone but are the beginning of a journey that involves the sharing and cascading of the learning to others is integral to every event or INSET that we run.  We also provide resources and activities that can form the basis of further training, professional conversations and learning opportunities for others back in school.  Staff need to be a part of the vision, understand the part they play in achieving it and feel valued and trusted to learn and build their expertise throughout their career. They also need to be able to articulate their own goals, their strengths and gaps in learning and have a clear pathway towards their own continuing professional development that will help them to contribute to the school or college vision. 

Coaching provides a profound opportunity to develop a CPD offer that will ripple across the school; building a learning community that thrives on the opportunity to share and cascade good practice, learn from others and feel confident to take risks and innovate in the classroom. The Standard for Professional Development document states that:-

"Effective teaching cannot exist in isolation, it requires a pervasive culture of scholarship with a shared commitment for teachers to support one another to develop so that pupils benefit from the highest quality teaching."

Developing a culture that promotes this collaborative approach and having the evidence that there are ongoing opportunities for professional conversations, informal lesson observations and time for reflection are much more easily accomplished when those involved learn how to coach. 

How do we ensure our teachers and support staff have the skills and knowledge linked to a mastery approach to give pupils the basic skills they need to meet the new and more difficult challenges at the end of key stage 2, 4 and 5?

With accountability high on the agenda there is an imperative to find the most effective ways to ensure progression allows all learners to have the wings that will allow them to fly to the top of their defined flight path. Learning requires a basic toolkit of skills which we can then use to develop and acquire knowledge and understanding.  Developing a grasp of the basics is what all children need to do as part of their introduction to the learning process from the day they are born. Children are taught from an early age to develop a range of basic skills and as they progress they are expected to develop deeper and more profound strategies that stretch their use of their basic skills and allow them to reason, debate, moralise or problem solve.  There is no doubt that changes to the content of the curriculum especially at key stage 1 and 2 have focused all our minds.  In many cases it is not only the pupils but the teachers as well who need to learn a whole raft of new skills and understanding linked for example to grammar.  Many non specialist subject teachers in the secondary and upper primary phases are not equipped with a deep understanding of grammar skills and will struggle to help pupils to use them with unconscious competence. Comprehension is another vital tool for learning, without it learners cannot access the knowledge they need to make sense of their world.  It is however, a skill that teachers other than English teachers are not actively involved in teaching and are unlikely to have had any training in order to teach children how to understand and decipher what they are reading.  In the same way many non specialist teachers whatever their own level of skill in Mathematics are unlikely to have the expertise or experience to help pupils to fully understand a concept in the context of learning in lessons other than Maths lessons.  In previous newsletters we have explored the concept of mastery in relation to deepening understanding so that pupils readily master the concepts and can use them in many different contexts with confidence and accuracy.  Our deep and wide experience of supporting schools to find ways to ensure that all teachers and support staff are part of the drive to embed skills for learning across the whole curriculum continues to grow and we are delighted with the number of schools who have now adopted many of our approaches and ideas and have a much more seamless curriculum where pupils can make connections across their learning and have mastery as a result of seeing and using the skills they have learnt in Maths and English to great effect in learning elsewhere.

There is one thing for sure, once pupils see the reason for learning certain concepts and can put them into practice in learning across all aspects of the their curriculum the penny drops and their ability to progress towards being able to answer higher level questions through analysis, justification, comparison or evaluation is raised.  Focusing on embedding skills in both the primary and secondary phases will develop pupils ability and will create the right culture for high levels of progression, deeper understanding and more in-depth acquisition of knowledge and facts.

We have several training events linked to this important concept and its place in the wider focus on learning and achievement

  • The Role of the Literacy Co-ordinator - Putting literacy at the heart of learning across the curriculum
  • The Role of the Numeracy Co-ordinator - Making number count across the curriculum
  • Mastering and Embedding Literacy Specifics - Putting literacy at the heart of the primary curriculum
  • Mastering and Embedding Numeracy Specifics -Creating opportunities to deepen pupils' numeracy skills across the curriculum
  • Computing and ICT in the Primary Curriculum
  • Computing and ICT in the Secondary Curriculum

What is the most effective strategy for succession planning to meet the imperative to recruit, train and retain highly motivated and talented teachers, managers and leaders?

There are some that would say that the teaching profession is in crisis, recruitment is at an all time low, retention is also an area of deep concern and there has been some serious criticism of the quality of teacher training provision both prior to employment and during the NQT year.  For those of us that have made a career choice to remain in education it is the most rewarding and worthwhile profession. One of the ways to ensure that we retain outstanding teachers and develop those who show promise is to create a professional development strategy that motivates and empowers the workforce and influences positive change. The Teacher Development Trust has some powerful evidence of the value of effective continuing professional development strategies on raising the morale of teachers and ensuring that they remain in the profession.  It is only through a sustained and collective approach to continuing improvement that we can truly create outstanding learning and teaching and build the world class education system that will deliver the targets expected of us and see young people from all backgrounds and starting points be truly successful and achieve their potential.  

The starting point for successful CPD is undoubtedly the vision that the senior leadership team create and share, how this is communicated to every member of staff is critical. What is even more critical is that each individual within the organisation knows their own strengths and how they can use them to help to achieve the vision.  There is a large body of evidence to suggest that stand alone training that is not also linked closely to what the organisation is trying to achieve is not very effective. Training needs to be shared and revisited in order to cascade the learning, deepen the knowledge and practice the skills.  The most successful way to ensure that CPD has an impact and is disseminated across the school is to use a coaching model where the celebration of what works well, the time given to reflection, opportunities for self evaluation and a shared understanding of what constitutes outstanding learning create a powerful whole school culture of excellence and improvement.  All our coaching programmes are designed to be the start of a learning journey where the resources and activities are built in order that they can be used again as an integral part of the school's or college's mission or goal.

We have designed the coaching training we offer to embrace all staff within the organisation, we can support the development of a coaching strategy and we offer on-going support to those who are building their own coaching culture. See below the range of programmes we offer and click on a title to find out more.

  • Leading a Coaching School or College
  • Aspiring to Leadership - a coaching programme for middle leaders
  • Coaching Towards Outstanding Teaching and Learning
  • Coaching the NQT - Going Beyond Mentoring
  • Advance your Coaching - The next steps towards excellence and improvement in teaching and learning
  • Coaching for Cover Supervisors
  • Coaching for Teaching Assistants and Support Staff
  • Behaviour Management - A coaching solution
  • Coaching for Subject and Faculty Leaders
  • Coaching for Pastoral Leaders and Year Heads


Please see below the documents we have included as links within this newsletter

  • The OFSTED Inspection Handbook
  • 2016 School and College Performance Table - Statement of Intent
  • Standard for Teachers' Professional Development
  • Education and Adoption Act 2016
  • Schools Causing Concern Guidance
  • Progress 8 Guidance
  • 16 - 19 Accountability Technical Guide
  • Statistical working paper: Multi-academy trust performance measures: England 2014 to 2015
  • Statistics Office Fact Sheet - Key Stage 2 SATs results 2016
  • Effective Pupil Premium Reviews
  • Standard for teachers' professional development
  • Teachers' Standards

If the list above does not keep you occupied then the book The Coaching Habit Say Less, Ask More and Change the Way You Lead Forever has been recommended to me it is by Michael Bungay Stanier

I am reading Birds without Wings by Louis de Berniers his prose is exquisite


  • Changes to the OFSTED Handbook that now covers all education establishments from early years to post 16
  • A level and GCSE results safely revealed, not much to report, a small drop in entries for A levels
  • There is an increase in the number of students gaining entry to university with a BTEC
  • There is a momentum building behind apprentices as an alternative to A levels
  • There has been a number of calls for better careers advice and IAG for students in Key Stage 3,4 and 5
  • DfE have published their list of schools who have had letters warning them about poor performance
  • The grammar school debate rumbles on but little policy from DfE