Department of Economics

Advising Ofsted on their inspection methodology

Dr Iftikhar Hussain, is one of very few economists to study the impact of Ofsted.

His research, involving applying econometric techniques to understand cause and effect within the education system, has provided some of the first hard empirical evidence on how Ofsted shapes behaviour and affects the education market.

In October 2015, Dr Hussain became a member of a new expert panel advising Ofsted on their inspection methodology. Ofsted had recently introduced a change to the way they inspect maintained schools, academies and further education and skills providers. Schools and providers that were judged good at their most recent inspection will now receive a short inspection approximately every three years instead of a full inspection approximately every five or six years.

The expert panel was established to help understand which elements of the new approach drive consistency and reliability, in order to improve their inspection practice and ensure the reliability of their assessments. 

In three separate studies Dr Hussain has documented how school performance responds to the punitive elements of the regime, as well as investigating the impact of disclosure of Ofsted inspection ratings on parents' school choice decisions as well as on house prices.

As a member of the panel, he will help to scrutinize and inform the choice of methodology to test the new short inspection approach, and analyse the findings of the tests as they take place. 

See also

Hussain, Iftikar (2015) Subjective performance evaluation in the public sector: evidence from school inspections. Journal of Human Resources, 50 (1). pp. 189-221. ISSN 0022-166X

The School Inspector Calls, Education Next, Summer 2013.