Dr Mary Bousted, Joint General Secretary of the NEU, said:

“Ofsted has been the thorn in the side of both teachers and education for decades. No school expects to not have an accountability system in place, but Ofsted represents all that is wrong about the tick-box approach to education that successive governments have pursued.

“For too long, this unfair and unreliable inspectorate has driven up unnecessary workload and stress for education professionals, significantly contributing to the alarming numbers leaving the profession every year. Research shows that Ofsted is unfairly biased against schools and colleges in poor areas and is far more likely to slap them with an unjust negative judgement – even if they are improving.

“This year marks the thirtieth anniversary of Ofsted’s establishment, but the National Audit Office (NAO) have recently concluded that even Ofsted itself doesn’t know if its measures are having the intended impact. School staff want to improve in their roles – they want to be accountable for the very important work they do in their school communities, but Ofsted’s judgements are driven by its own agenda and aren’t supporting the improvement of teaching practice nor children’s learning in the way an accountability system ought to.

“It’s not right that teachers and school leaders live in dread of the current toxic inspectorate. It needs to go, and we urge Government to work with us to create a new approach which is supportive, effective and fair.”


Note to editors

We are currently in Bournemouth for our Annual Conference (11-14 April), during which time you will receive a higher number of press releases than usual.  

The Conference Press Office can be reached on 07879 480 061. You can also email the press officer at caroline.cowie@neu.org.uk  

Our conference agenda is available here.

The hashtag for Annual Conference is #NEU2022 

  • The National Education Union stands up for the future of education. It brings together the voices of more than 450,000 teachers, lecturers, support staff and leaders working in maintained and independent schools and colleges across the UK, to form the largest education union in Europe. 
  • It is an independent, registered trade union and professional association, representing its members in England, Wales, Northern Ireland, Scotland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. 

The National Education Union is affiliated to the Trades Union Congress (TUC), European Trade Union Committee for Education (ETUCE) and Education International (EI). It is not affiliated to any political party and seeks to work constructively with all the main political parties.