“Amanda Spielman clearly identifies the problems faced by our schools but fails to identify the obvious solutions to these problems. Off-rolling, delayed identification and support for children with SEND, orphan schools left for over 18 months without a sponsor – all these are symptoms of an underlying problem which is that the school system in England is fragmented.
“Schools are being left to ‘go it alone’ without adequate oversight or support. Ofsted, quite rightly, abhors off-rolling, but refuses to admit its own role in creating an inspection system which has focused, above all, on data which has created the pressure on schools to off-role.
“Ofsted deplores the delay in the identification and support of children with SEND but refuses to identify the decimation of local-authority funding which has led to the crisis in special needs which is so catastrophic for children and their parents.
“Ofsted identifies a lack of sponsor capacity, which it concludes has resulted in schools being left in limbo for over 18 months. Amanda Spielman says that the current half-way approach for academisation is not working. She then proposes the wrong solution – that the Government looks again at incentives for good schools to convert to academy status – when there is no evidence that academy conversion improves school standards.
“Devoid of effective ideas to raise educational standards and complicit in enforcing the narrowing of the curriculum and teaching to the test practices it now deplores, Ofsted is now an agency which is distrusted by teachers and school leaders.
“It is time for a new approach to school accountability and inspection.”