OfSTED’s proposed new guidelines for inspection. A step in the right direction?

Thank you Dr Paula Stone for another timely post.
On Wednesday, I was heartened to hear the news about OfSTED’s plans to issue new guidelines for inspection that will shift the focus towards quality of education rather than purely educational ‘outcomes’ or attainment.  It is proposed that this will be the biggest overhaul of the inspection framework for nurseries, schools and colleges in England in over a decade.
OfSTED says that its own research suggests that currently some settings are narrowing their curriculum so much so that that they only focus on educational attainment with Early Years practitioners spending more time writing reports rather than playing with or reading to children; in primary schools the curriculum has become so focussed that teachers are merely teaching to the test.  Ofsted says the new framework will include a new “quality of education” judgement which assesses both results and the methods schools use to deliver them. This could see a change to the way children are taught and the curriculum is delivered.
It is argued by OfSTED that the new framework, with its increased focus on behaviour and attitudes, will look at how school and settings are deciding what to teach and why, and whether it is leading to strong outcomes for young people. This will hopefully mean that schools can decide what and how to teach based on the children in their school.
I am hoping that those schools in the most challenging circumstances will be recognised for their hard work in creating positive learning because in my opinion EYFS and primary school is so much more than about attainment, especially for those students who come from the most deprived households. In this way, a school in a tough area which has great teachers and a great curriculum could be rated outstanding. This is so rarely recognised under the current inspection framework.
The new framework has been supported by Damian Hinds, the Education Secretary for England but education unions say the plans do not go far enough. The National Association of Head Teachers argues that there is nothing in the framework that will help reduce the stress of an inspection or increase the reliability of judgements so that settings and schools will still feel the need to focus purely on education attainment rather than what is best for the children.
Do you think this change is a good thing? Would this make you as a parent or a teacher feel concerned that the curriculum is being dumbed down or relieved that the emphasis has shifted from outcomes to education in the truest sense of the word?

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