Ofsted response to Education Select Committee

"Disappointment and consternation" at response to Education Select Committee report into the inspectorate.


Commenting on Ofsted’s response to the Education Select Committee report calling for major changes to the inspectorate’s work, Daniel Kebede, General Secretary of the National Education Union, said:   

"There will be real disappointment and consternation that Ofsted hasn’t addressed single-word judgements, despite the cross-party Select Committee having asked Ofsted to develop an alternative to these blunt verdicts. The single word judgements have a deeply detrimental impact, including too much pressure on individual leaders.  They cause experienced and much needed staff to leave schools in deprived areas. It’s not going to be possible to keep, and attract, enough talented school leaders without change to this narrow aspect of the system. They actively undermine equity in our school system.   

"It is time to act on the recommendation from the Education Select Committee for the Department for Education to look again at their policy of threatening schools in receipt of two consecutive 'requires improvement’ judgements with forced academisation.   

"There should have been more response to the Select Committee recommendation that Ofsted must review the implementation of its current framework and its impact on workload. Workload in primary schools has risen directly from the current framework, at a time when pay for additional responsibilities in primary schools are less and less readily available. The culture created by the Ofsted framework is a key driver of the levels of unsustainable workload shown in the recent DfE survey on the working lives of teachers and leaders.   

"Less than half of teachers in a recent NEU survey agreed that the inspectors conducting their most recent Ofsted inspection were ‘reasonable, professional, and considerate.’ Only 3% of teachers thought that two weeks of mental health training were sufficient to ensure teacher and school leader safeguarding, and the majority thought it would make no meaningful difference.

"The case for root and branch reform has near universal agreement. Ofsted must be replaced with a new system of inspection that is supportive, effective and fair, such as the proposals by the recent independent Beyond Ofsted inquiry, sponsored by the NEU and chaired by Sir Jim Knight. Bringing expertise rather than judgement would help protect the wellbeing of teaching staff, which would in turn help ensure children and young people from all backgrounds thrive in school."  

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