Commenting on Labour’s plan, if elected, to abolish Ofsted, Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said:
“The NEU welcomes Labour’s announcement that it will abolish Ofsted.
“Ofsted has been a force for lowering school standards by driving teachers from the profession. Tens of thousands of hard working, competent and professional school leaders and teachers have given up the profession, defeated and worn down by excessive workload and stress caused by trying to second guess what the latest Ofsted ‘fad’ is.
“The acute teacher supply crisis is the biggest threat to educational standards in England. Government efforts to reduce teacher workload have been doomed to failure because the consequences of Ofsted inspections have not been acknowledged.
“Teachers and school leaders know from bitter experience that too many Ofsted inspectors have neither the knowledge or professional experience to come to accurate judgements of schools. Schools in disadvantaged areas, doing the hardest work, are routinely downgraded by Ofsted, not for the quality of their teaching, but because of the deprivation of their pupils.
“Of course schools must be accountable - to their pupils, to parents, to employers and to the wider community. No one wants to return to an era of inadequate checks and balances on schools.
“But teachers deserve to be inspected by inspectors who are qualified in the subject and age phase they are inspecting. Teachers deserve informed, expert inspection judgements which they can trust and respect. Ofsted’s inspection judgements have none of these essential qualities. Labour’s proposals will give teachers and school leaders the assurance they need that inspection judgements will be informed and impartial.
“Labour’s proposal to abolish an overall school grade is long overdue. Schools are too complex to be reduced to a single grade. Under Labour’s proposals, inspections will focus on those areas of a school which clearly need to improve.
“Labours proposals clear the way for a strong, locally driven movement to improve educational standards. London Challenge showed just what can be achieved when schools work in collaboration, rather than competition, with each other. The recreation of a local advisory service which will broker school to school support is a great step forward. Schools will no longer be ‘orphaned’, abandoned and set adrift without the expert advice and guidance needed to make real improvements in the quality of education they provide.
“This announcement demonstrates Labour’s serious intent to break the mould of education policy which has been driving the teaching profession into a brick wall. We look forward to working with Labour to further develop these proposals and look forward to their implementation.”