Ofsted and value for money

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The new Ofsted framework includes a judgment based upon ‘The effectiveness with which the school deploys resources to achieve value for money’. What does this actually mean for schools? Here we outline the main evaluation schedule judgments and look in more detail at ‘value for money’.

Since September 2009 the new Ofsted framework has been in place. The evaluation schedule is divided into three sections and contains the same judgments as the SEF:

  • Pupil outcomes
  • Effectiveness of provision
  • Leadership and management

Judgments under each of these include:

Outcomes

1. Pupils’ achievement and the extent to which they enjoy their learning
Taking into account:

  • Pupils’ attainment
  • The quality of pupils’ learning and their progress
  • The quality of learning for pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities and their progress

2. The extent to which pupils feel safe
3. Pupils’ behaviour
4. The extent to which pupils adopt healthy lifestyles
5. The extent to which pupils contribute to the school and wider community
6. The extent to which pupils develop workplace and other skills that will contribute to their future economic well-being
Taking into account:

  • Pupils’ attendance

7. The extent of pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development

Effectiveness of provision

1. The quality of teaching
 Taking into account

  • The use of assessment to support learning

2. The extent to which the curriculum meets pupils’ needs, including, where relevant through partnerships
3. The effectiveness of care, guidance and support

Leadership and management

1. The effectiveness of leadership and management in embedding ambition and driving improvement
Taking into account:

  • The effectiveness of the leadership and management of teaching and learning

2. The effectiveness of the governing body in challenging and supporting the school so that weaknesses are tackled decisively and statutory responsibilities met
3. The effectiveness of the school’s engagement with parents
4. The effectiveness of partnerships in promoting learning and well-being
5. The effectiveness with which the school promotes equal opportunity and tackles discrimination
6. The effectiveness of safeguarding procedures
7. The effectiveness with which the school promotes community cohesion
8. The effectiveness with which the school deploys resources to achieve value for money

Early Years Foundation Stage

1. Overall effectiveness
Taking into account:

  • Outcomes for children in the Early Years Foundation Stage
  • The quality of provision in the Early Years Foundation Stage
  • The effectiveness of leadership and management of the Early Years Foundation Stage

Sixth form

1. Overall effectiveness
Taking into account:

  • Outcomes for students in the sixth form
  • The quality of provision in the sixth form
  • The effectiveness of leadership and management of the sixth form

Boarding provision

1. The effectiveness of the boarding provision

Final three judgments

  1. Outcomes for individuals and groups of pupils
  2. The school’s capacity for sustained improvement
  3. Overall effectiveness: how good is the school?

Value for money

The judgment ‘The effectiveness with which the school deploys resources to achieve value for money’ comes under the leadership and management heading. School business managers/ bursars should be involved in supporting the leadership team in completing this section of the SEF and preparing for Ofsted inspection.

In order to make their judgment inspectors are asked to evaluate:

‘how efficiently, effectively and economically the school uses and manages its available resources to meet the needs of its pupils and achieve high-quality outcomes’

In order to do this, inspectors will be looking for:

  • The outcomes for individuals and groups of pupils
  • Financial stability, planning and controls to ensure economy and accountability
  • Use of the site, care of the environment and sustainability
  • Use of resources
  • Staff deployment and training
  • How well material resources and equipment are used
  • How well specific funding is used especially funding for pupils with SEN

The evidence they will use includes:

  • Parent and pupil views in relation to the suitability and availability of resources
  • Training logs and records of INSET
  • Observations
  • Budget  information
  • Break down of information of how specific funds are used e.g. for SEN

Judgments are made according to the following grade descriptors. In order to self-evaluate schools should discuss where they currently ‘best fit’ and what they might do to achieve the next grade up.

Outstanding (1)
Outcomes for individuals and groups of pupils are outstanding. There are no major shortcomings evident in the use or management of resources.

Good (2) 
Outcomes for individuals and groups of pupils are good. There are no major shortcomings evident in the use or management of resources.

Satisfactory (3)
Outcomes for individuals and groups of pupils are satisfactory. There are no major shortcomings evident in the use or management of resources.

Inadequate (4)
Outcomes for individuals and groups of pupils are inadequate.
or
Outcomes may be satisfactory or better but there are major shortcomings in the management of resources, such as a significant deficit or surplus or a manifest lack of economy.

It is evident from this that the grade given for value for money is dependent upon pupil outcomes. The last grade descriptor under ‘inadequate’ is important to note. Although it would be hard, if not impossible, to show that there was good value for money with satisfactory outcomes it can work the other way round. That is, a school graded as good, for example, might have a judgment of inadequate against value for money if it could be shown that there was either ‘a significant deficit or surplus’. In particular, schools who have retained money for a future project will need to demonstrate very clearly why they are holding back reserves.

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