The NAHT has criticised the move to no-notice school inspections as an empty gesture which will alienate schools while doing nothing to support rising standards.
Russell Hobby, general secretary of the NAHT, said: “It is disturbing to see Ofsted change its position in a matter of days and suggests the policy has been created with an eye more to the sound-bite than the evidence.
“If a school could conceal evidence of widespread failure in just two days then the whole concept of inspection is flawed and Ofsted's protestations that it examines progress and behaviour over the long-term ring hollow.”
He added: “There are valid reasons why shortening the notice for inspection will damage the system and weaken rates of improvement. Firstly, it will reduce the school's ability to engage with the inspection (through a pre-inspection briefing, for example, or setting up team meetings): it is supposed to be a joint process and a dialogue which changes the school's thinking rather than merely criticising it. And it is this engagement which translates inspection judgements into real improvements. Unless inspection leads to such improvements it is a waste of time.
“Secondly, it is often necessary for school leaders to be out of school - attending child protection hearings for example. A well run school functions normally in their absence but it is not appropriate that leaders should not be present at an event with such vital consequences for the school and their career. This further transforms inspection into an adversarial process and therefore further limits its ability to induce change or produce legitimate findings in the eyes of the profession.
“The Parent View questionnaire is a deeply flawed alternative. There is no way to verify that it is completed by parents or provides a representative view of opinions on the school. “
Page Published: 10/01/2012