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Adversarial Ofsted system does not help the most disadvantaged, says NAHT

Commenting on the EPI report on School Inspection in England, Russell Hobby, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, says: “this report clearly shows the limitations in the inspection regime, highlighting that the least disadvantaged schools are most likely to be judged ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’

“We know that the current inspection regime is adversarial, and has too great a focus on attainment rather than progress. Some great practice can be found by school leaders in deprived communities, but often their results do not reflect this.

“If a school serving a deprived community receives a poor Ofsted judgement, then it is likely that school leaders, however talented, will be replaced. Schools given a poor rating often find it harder to recruit teachers, meaning that at a time of a crisis in recruitment, the schools that would benefit the most from high quality teachers, are at the back of the queue when it comes to recruiting them.

“There is a different way. Our peer review programme, Instead, is proving that it is possible to evaluate the strengths and vulnerabilities of a school in a way that helps, not hinders, school improvement. We hope Amanda Spielman will look at this model when starting at Ofsted in the new year.”

James Bowen, director of middle leaders’ union NAHT Edge, says: “In an article for TES last month, I argued that overly simplistic gradings given to schools can be misleading and don't give the full picture of a school's performance or ethos. A more intelligent and fair system could evaluate a wide range of aspects of a school. 

“Rather than awarding schools a catch-all grade, it would be more helpful for schools to have conversations with the inspection team about the various areas of strength and weakness, with clear priorities for improvement ahead of the next inspection. It shouldn’t just be about a grade, but about continuous improvement, for all schools.” 
Page Published: 22/11/2016

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