Ofsted Annual Report

Kevin Courtney comments on the Ofsted Annual Report, presented today by its Chief Inspector Amanda Spielman.

“The Ofsted report by Amanda Spielman is one of the most balanced Ofsted reports we have seen. The Chief Inspector acknowledges the reality that schools in challenging circumstances have ‘unstable leadership teams, teacher turnover and difficulties recruiting’. She points to the fact that becoming an academy isn’t a silver bullet – many of the schools in those challenging circumstances have been academised and even changed academy provider without the school reaching the Ofsted ‘good’ category. Amanda Spielman acknowledges the hard work of the teachers in those schools and acknowledges that these schools need long term support, which she points out is not available

“Teachers however would like her to go further. Amanda Spielman says that ‘schools shouldn’t compete about how many pupil premium children they have, but just get on with school improvement’. Well that is what teachers are and have been doing; it is the central obsession in their professional lives. Ofsted should speak truth to power. The defining characteristics of the schools Ofsted is pointing to that haven’t improved is that they are drawing ‘high proportions of their children from deprived areas’ and have ‘higher than average proportions of children with SEND and white British pupils from low-income backgrounds’.

“Ofsted as the Chief Inspector of Education should take Government to task over this. Teachers can do what they can do within schools but it is Government that is missing child poverty reduction targets, presiding over increases in relative poverty and failing to produce a decent industrial strategy. It is the Government that is cutting funding to schools and missing teacher recruitment targets. An education inspectorate worth its salt, if it were truly independent, would be making these points to Government in their report.

“We are pleased to see Ofsted agreeing with us that there is too much focus on test results rather than learning. However, again, Ofsted is failing to speak truth to power. It is the Government accountability regime that is leading to those behaviours in schools – and Ofsted should call out the Government over that, acknowledging its own responsibility within the system too.”

ENDS

2017-056-NEU

Press release
13 December 2017