Busting the myth about Ofsted draft report matters

When a school undergoes an Ofsted inspection, the findings of the inspection and the provisional grade are revealed at a feedback session at the end of the inspection. Ofsted then sends the draft report to the school. This allows the school to check if there are any factual errors in the report which can be corrected before the final report is issued. Many of us, especially Shena Lewington (see here) have been asking Ofsted to clarify that all governors can attend the feedback session and that all governors are allowed to know the provisional grade. There have been instances where the headteacher has restricted attendance at the feedback as well as instances where the provisional grade has been revealed only to those governors who were present at the feedback session under the mistaken impression that doing so would jeopardise the result or even lead to a re-inspection.

Shena asked a question on Twitter regarding this and received a reply from Sean Harford.

Ofsted have recently started publishing a blog and one of the recent posts concerned the various myths about inspection. I commented on the post asking about the sharing of the draft report with governors. This part of my comment is as below.

There is one more myth I’d really like you to bust! That’s the one about the draft report. Many heads are not letting governors see the draft report or reveal the judgement saying that if governors who couldn’t make the briefing see it the judgement will be withdrawn. I’ve even heard of it being kept from the Chair of Governors! Governors would really appreciate it if Ofsted could make it clear that the GB is entitled to know the judgement and read the draft report (obviously the need for confidentiality has to be made clear).

Sean, very kindly, replied and I am copying his reply below.

Sean Harford — 17/06/2015

Thanks for the comment Naureen. It’s a point I’ve been asked about before. Simply put, it is indeed a myth that members of the governing body can’t read the draft inspection report. We ask that the headteacher, the chair of governors and as many other governors as possible come to the final feedback meeting at the end of an inspection. While the draft report and inspection outcome are restricted until the school gets the final report, they should be shared with the relevant senior personnel and not just those who were able to attend the feedback meeting. So a rule of thumb would be that if you were eligible to attend the final feedback meeting, you should be able to see the draft report. However, governors need to be aware that we expect the report to be returned to us with any comments within 24 hours (or 5 days for a grade 4 OE) so this may constrain any input from the wider governor group.

Thank you, Sean, for responding to my comment.

So, there you have it! If someone says to you that the draft report cannot be shared with governors, tell them its a myth!

Shena tells me she tried to comment but the site wouldn’t let her. I’m posting her comment below. She makes some very important points.

Thanks for this, Naureen! As you say, this is an issue close to my heart ….
Sean notes that “Governors need to be aware that we expect the report to be returned to us with any comments within 24 hours (or 5 days for a grade 4 OE) so this may constrain any input from the wider governor group”. I can appreciate this, but the rationale for knowing the provisional outcome is not necessarily to comment on the report itself but to be prepared, as a governing body, for swift action in response to an inspection judgement that is less than Good. If an Inadequate grade is awarded, the wheels of action are likely to start turning considerably earlier than the day of publication of the official report ……
Shena
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5 thoughts on “Busting the myth about Ofsted draft report matters

  1. Medway Governors

    Thanks for continuing to publicise this. I took this up with Ofsted central in 2011 and received a very similar response to the one that Sean has made. In my experience it is not that head teachers are not willing to share with the wider GB, (although that may be the case for some) but that even when the e-mail response from Ofsted is waved in front of their faces the inspection teams continue to be categoric in their stance that the outcome is not to be shared outside the 4 walls of the feedback room. Maybe this is just rather Irritating when the school is deemed good, but wholly inappropriate when the school is judged RI or worse inadequate, the final report is some weeks off and the priority is to get ones skates on to tackle the issues raised. This stance actively inhibits rapid action. I hope that this will be addressed now that Ofsted have stopped contracting out.

    Reply
  2. Pingback: GB access to draft report; Ofsted clarifies what matters | Governing Matters

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