Commenting on Fight or Flight? How ‘stuck’ schools are overcoming isolation, a report published today by Ofsted, Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said:

"Ofsted identifies the problem of ‘stuck’ schools but persistently and resolutely fails to recognise its own role in creating the problem. 

"As recent EPI research shows, schools in deprived circumstances are much more likely to find it hard to get out of the Ofsted category than schools in leafy suburbs. Ofsted is not the independent and objective arbiter that it’s making itself out to be.

"Fear of Ofsted is a key factor in school leader and teacher flight from these schools. Ofsted judgements routinely fail to recognise the work of schools in challenging areas with deprived pupil intakes. Even when these schools are doing well in terms of pupil progress, Ofsted disproportionately and unfairly awards them negative grades which can end teacher and school leader careers.

"The new inspection framework is not fit for purpose. 54% of the ‘stuck’ schools are either primary or junior, and Ofsted will be aware of NEU's serious concerns about the ways in which the new framework is ill-suited to that sector. (1)

"Far from being a force for educational improvement in the areas that need it most, Ofsted is, unfortunately part of the problem, not the solution."

Editor’s Note

(1) Letter to Amanda Spielman, 25 November 2019