National Middle Schools’ Forum Newsletter

May 2015

Newsletter – May 2015

National Middle Schools Forum

To keep you informed of latest developments:


1) The future for assessment and benchmarking


It is clear that we need to have in place a robust system that will enable school to benchmark the attainment of pupils on entry to middle school, and demonstrate the progress they make during their time in our schools now that levels are being phased out. Members of the NMSF steering committee are due to discuss the possibility of working in partnership with a national assessment provider at our meeting on 10th June.


Zoe Linington (Roysia Middle School) current Chair of the Forum, and Nigel Wyatt met with representatives of GL Assessment at the start of this term to explore whether there would be financial and other advantages in working in partnership with them. They appear to offer a package matching middle school needs -  tests spanning Year 4 to Year 8 (online or paper and pencil), with external marking, which are matched to the new curriculum requirements.


2) Plans for Conference 2015



              CONFERENCE 2015       

The Stratford Hotel, Stratford on Avon.


Monday 19th October to Tuesday 20th October, 2015  


We are delighted that Sean Harford, Ofsted National Director, Schools Policy, has agreed to speak at the conference this year. Conference will also provide an opportunity to consider the future for assessment and benchmarking in our schools.


Full details and booking forms will be sent out in June.



3) Change of Age Range Proposals


Following the concerns expressed about the impact of the School Organisation Regulations and Guidance on three tier systems at our last conference, Zoe Linington and Nigel Wyatt raised these issues at a meeting with DfE officials in January. At the meeting it was acknowledged that some of the existing guidance has led to anomalies and the Department has been working on a revision to the guidance which has been held up by the general election. We now need to press the new Schools’ Minister, Nick Gibb, to ensure this work is completed and the revised guidance adopted.



4) Recent Ofsted inspections – feedback request


Recently I have assisted two schools in making a complaint to Ofsted over inspections where the inspectors appear to have ignored the guidance on middle school inspections. In these cases inspectors appear to have been preoccupied by judgements based exclusively on KS2 data, and failed to include a judgement about progress shown across the school from Year 5 to Year 8.


In order to get a sense of whether these are isolated cases, or the start of a worrying change of emphasis from Ofsted, it would be helpful if other recently inspected middle schools would send me some brief feedback that I could then present to our Steering Committee meeting on 10th June. Thank you.



Nigel Wyatt

Executive Officer