The Replace Ofsted: Let Teachers Teach campaign was launched at the NEU’s annual conference this afternoon following the union’s dismissal of the current inspectorate as not fit for purpose. Delegates agreed that this ‘toxic’ brand is in urgent need of replacing with an accountability system which gives reliable assessments of education quality.

The petition calls for Government to: 

  1. Replace Ofsted with a school accountability system which is supportive, effective and fair; 
  2. Work with teachers, leaders and other stakeholders to establish a commission to learn how school accountability is done in other high performing education nations; 
  3. Develop an accountability system which commands the trust and confidence of education staff as well as parents and voters.

Speaking after the launch, Daniel Kebede, National President of the National Education Union, said:

“Teachers and leaders work under the shadow cast by Ofsted. 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 30th anniversary of Ofsted’s establishment, but it is no cause for celebration. The National Audit Office (NAO) has recently concluded that Ofsted itself doesn’t know if its measures are having the intended impact. In the minds of leaders, teachers and support staff, Ofsted’s credibility gap is no longer sustainable.

“School staff want to improve in their roles – they want to be accountable for the very important work they do in their school communities. However, Ofsted’s judgements are not 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, and we therefore urge Government to work with us to create a new approach which is supportive, effective and fair.”

The full text of the Replace Ofsted: Let Teachers Teach petition can be found here.

You can find out more about the Replace Ofsted: Let Teachers Teach campaign here.


Note to editors

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  • 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.