Today, Ofsted’s Sir Michael Wilshaw appears before the Education Select Committee, where he’ll be quizzed about the quality and purpose of school inspection. Russell Hobby, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT said: “School leaders welcome high quality inspection. Inspection is a crucial part of the education system; appropriate external challenge makes schools stronger.
“As the Education Committee looks at the purpose and quality of education in England, we should be aware of the radically different landscape in which inspection operates. We must meet the challenges of the next decade rather than fight the battles of the last. We have a more autonomous school system with generally higher quality. We have tight budgets, stringent accountability and new threats to young people. Inspection retains a place in this landscape. Without inspection schools would be held accountable via data and league tables, which is no way of understanding what is really happening inside a school or spotting emerging risks to young people.
"Ofsted will need to be more focused and consistent. It will need to focus on results and values rather than teaching methods. It will need to unleash the capacity of the system rather than constrain it.
“Our education system has transformed itself from the era when Ofsted was first designed, and the Committee should look at the need for Ofsted to change too. Inspections should not be adversarial; they should be a constructive dialogue between the inspectorate and professionals. 80 per cent on England’s schools are rated good or outstanding, so NAHT believes the time is right to see greater peer-review within the inspection framework. Our own Instead project offers one such model that would help do that; something we hope the Committee will consider in its inquiry.”
Page Published: 02/03/2016